In case you are not aware, the MML Board is currently Considering a Proposal to ban Farm-to-Farm transfers, starting with the next time the Transfer Market opens before Season 7. So far, I am the only Board Member who has voiced his opposition to this Proposal. I write this to make everyone aware of what I see its ramifications to be, as well as to encourage all of you who oppose this Proposal to make it known to the other members of the Board through our Discord chat, your own post on our website, or even down below in the comments.
Purpose of the Farm
In February 2016, the MML introduced “The Farm as a place to develop teams and players for upcoming Pro Seasonal play.” See https://www.mmlpro.com/news/buying-the-farm. In its purest sense, then, one would imagine that coaches would spend hours playing on the Farm to develop teams, or individual players from their teams, that they could later take into the Challenge or Pro League.
3 Major Types of Sellers
However, some coaches choose to sell the contracts of their Farm players to other coaches. Why would someone willingly give up a good player, the fruit of numerous hours of Farming, to another coach? Moreover, why would an MML coach assist another coach in obtaining a star player that will make them a bigger threat to everyone else, including the team coached by the same coach making the sale? 3 general camps of sellers come to mind: (1) Traders: “You sell me the player I want and I’ll sell you the player you want”; (2) Gold Diggers: these guys are strapped for cash or really want that stadium upgrade, and they are willing to part ways with a player for gold; and (3) Daddies: these guys just really enjoy the pleasure of spreading their seeds across the MML Pro & Challenge Leagues, rooting for those players, and proudly declaring to anyone that will listen that the League’s leading rusher used to be on their Farm team.
I have no problem with Traders or Gold Diggers. They are making another MML Pro or Challenge team stronger, but they are receiving something in return. They are tangibly benefiting from this exchange. But watching the Daddies sell off stat freaks at base price to whatever team wants to take them Pro or CL annoys me in the way that I get annoyed when someone on a losing team in fantasy football trades Antonio Brown to a playoff contender for a kicker. The team trading away the great player isn’t doing so to improve their position, yet it is impacting the rest of the league and giving the receiving player a star that they didn’t work for or have the fortune to develop. Ironically, though, the current Proposal, which will be Considered and voted upon in the next Board meeting, will not affect the Daddies’ ability to keep fattening up the Pros and CL with developed players, but instead it will significantly impact the ability of Traders to make trades.
The Importance of Farm-to-Farm Transfers in Trades Involving Farm-to-Pro Players
The smoothest way to execute trades, of course, is when both sides have desirable players of each other’s races in the Farm, and each player is sold to the other coach’s Pro team. Unfortunately, many occasions exist in which a coach wants to trade for a player on another coach’s Farm team, but the other coach doesn’t have the money in his Pro team to purchase a player in return, or the former coach doesn’t have a desirable player of the same race as the latter coach’s Pro team, etc. In those cases, Farm-to-Farm transfers become integral parts of the deal. Take, for instance, my deal with Gerdleah, in which I didn’t have any dark elves to sell him (his current Pro team is dark elf), but I was able to offer him Kevin HAART, a storm vermin for his skaven Farm team, which incentivized him to sell me Ham Shank for the Greendale Human Beings. Gerd expressed serious interest in potentially replacing his dark elves with his skaven team in the future, and the prospect of trading me a good player for my immediate Pro use in exchange for a better player that he might be able to use in the future was too much for him to turn down. If I just simply promised him that I would trade him Kevin in a future season, anything could happen to Kevin in that time (or I would be forced to shelf the entire team for one or more seasons without Farming with them), and the offer would be much less attractive.
Without these bargaining chips, trading in the Transfer Market would be substantially disincentivized. Yet, the Proposal to be voted on by the Board in its next meeting would still allow Daddys to give away players for base price.
The “Money Loop” Argument
The MML has a TV cap, as well as a rule restricting each Returning Team in the Pros or Challenge League to just 1 player contract purchase per season, so the danger of coaches “stockpiling” players on their Farm teams through Farm-to-Farm transfers is neutralized by their inability to get too many of these players to their Pro teams in an unbalanced manner. However, the most often-heard argument for banning Farm-to-Farm transfers is the hypothetical threat of a “money loop.”
Proponents of banning Farm-to-Farm transfers contend that, if left unchecked, 2 coaches could enter the Transfer Market with new teams and engage in shenanigans that would artificially give one of those teams a bunch of money, without that team ever having had to “work” for it. Here’s an example: Team A is the team that Coach A wants to take Pro. He brings that team into the Transfer Market as a new team, with barely any money. Coach B also enters the Market with a new team, but he has hired 0 players yet, so he has 1 million in gold (alternatively, Coach B enters Market with new team then fires all of his players, for which he gets 1 million because you get a full refund as long as you haven’t played a match yet). Then Coach B buys a Level 1 lineman from Coach A for 1 million in gold. All of a sudden, Team A has a fully upgraded stadium with inducements and a full bank.
I agree that the above situation is undesirable. In fact, one could reasonably argue that the current rules already prohibit such conduct. Section 8, “MARTKETPLACE” [sic], states, “Any coach caught circumventing or taking advantage of the marketplace for gain outside what the League and its collective coaches would consider fair market is prohibited.”
Killing an Ant with a Bazooka
The dispute lies in what measures are necessary to prohibit this conduct. The Board Members who favor the pending Proposal to ban Farm-to-Farm transfers are going with the “scorch the earth” technique. Banning Farm-to-Farm transfers eliminates the money loop, since the team buying the player would always be a Pro or CL team, so they wouldn’t have a bunch of money to overpay, nor would their coach be inclined to participate in shenanigans at great cost to that team. However, the Board Members in favor of this solution also have no interest in trading. In fact, they don’t believe that there is a significant amount of Traders out there. That’s why it is important, if you are a person that likes to use the Transfer Market to make trades, rather than just sell, you need to let the Board know that you prefer that Farm-to-Farm transfers continue to be permitted. If you don’t, the other Board Members will continue to claim that I am in a very small minority of the MML who trades, rather than just giving players away.
Alternatives to Banning Farm-to-Farm Transfers
Moreover, there are less intrusive ways to bolster prevention of the money loop. First, you could outright make a rule that prohibits that specific conduct; while our Transfer market czar may not be able to police every single Transfer Market transaction, he and/or other Board Members could spot check transactions, with harsh penalties for those who violate them. By and large, I don’t think MML members set out to cheat. At worst, I think MML members are more likely to skirt grey areas of undefined rules rather than purposefully cheat by violating a specifically prohibited transaction.
Also, we could just ban new teams from coming into the Transfer Market. Every team that enters the Market in the future would need to have played at least 1 match, so that they would have had to use their initial money to build at least an 11-man roster, and then they wouldn’t be able to sell players’ contracts back to get spending money. To me, this is the easiest and least intrusive way to accomplish the goal of preventing the money loop. Trading would not be impacted, and More_Shots would not need to concern himself with Farm-to-Farm transfers other than to issue the initial Transfer Market tickets and make sure that the teams requesting such tickets have played at least one match. In fact, a second Board Member could take on the responsibility of issuing Market tickets for Farm-to-Farm transactions, allowing Shots to concentrate on the Pro transfers.
The Bottom Line
In sum, please let everyone, especially Board Members, know that you support keeping Farm-to-Farm transfers alive in the MML. Either post your support below in the comments, or post in Discord, or even write your own article.