UPDATE - September 1, 2021: Big Chillin have been granted an emergency transfer by ESL as an exception. The tournament organiser noted that Big Chillin's circumstances would not meet their normal criteria for emergency transfers, regardless of having substitutes on their roster; however, due to a "lower standard" of the emergency transfer rules being applied to other teams this season, Big Chillin were in turn granted the same leniency.
The current standard will carry forth for the rest of the season, and be revisited ahead of the next. Alex "crtmn" Nehr, Tournament Director at ESL, also clarified that they "are generally looking into the updated rules that are being used this season and are open to talk to teams."
Big Chillin are on the verge of being forced to forfeit the ESEA Premier season after an emergency transfer order was rescinded by ESEA administrators, according to a document shared by the team's co-owner and coach William "Aphotic" DeVoe.
The @BigChillinInc ESEA roster has been revoked access to field a permanent 5th by Admins within 24 hours after being granted access.— Aphotic (@AphoticGG) August 28, 2021
Their authority over our roster is putting us in a situation where we are unable to continue playing out the season.https://t.co/ikaAgdMVR8
ESEA Premier moved under the ESL Pro Tour rulebook at the start of Season 38, following the circuit's general, transfer regulation, and game-specific rules. At the time, ESEA stated that the intention of the change was to "help continue [their] goal of elevating the Premier division." The handling of the Big Chillin situation goes counter to that goal as the team is now being punished for having a more professional approach towards the league.
In a lengthy post, Aphotic explained that a player on the Big Chillin roster "encountered unforeseen circumstances" that constituted an emergency, forcing the team to search for a new fifth player to take a permanent spot on the roster. Dust2.us can confirm that the player in question is in a situation where they would be unable to play for the foreseeable future, and would meet the requirements outlined in the ESL rulebook for emergency transfers.
Rule 1.2.3: Emergency transfers In case of a serious and short notice emergency (e.g. unforeseeable cancellation of all flights or a severe illness or injury of a player) that leaves a team without a full line-up to play with, the tournament direction can decide to allow an emergency transfer in disregard of most of the rules in these regulations. Rule 184.108.40.206 remains in place even for emergency transfers.
When the team initially learned of the possibility of needing a new member on August 24, they contacted ESEA, who informed them that as per the new ESL rulebook that is in effect for Premier this season, the team would require an emergency transfer to utilize any players that were not submitted via a form at the start of the season.
Big Chillin had submitted their five-man lineup alongside two substitutes prior to the deadline of August 2, with the two extra players on standby in case they needed to step in on short notice for situations such as a family emergency or power outage. Aphotic clarifies that the intention for these players was never for them to be permanent members of the lineup as neither are able to practice full-time, and they were purely added in the case of a need to fill-in last minute.
On August 26, Big Chillin received confirmation that their player would be unable to participate in the season, and once again contacted ESEA regarding an emergency transfer. After learning of the circumstances, the ESEA admin that was in communication with Aphotic stated that the situation would "certainly pass as an emergency", and that ESEA "can grant an emergency transfer for that." Aphotic then asks for confirmation on whether the team can begin searching for a new fifth, to which the admin replies, "yes if [player being benched] has to step down because of that situation."
The following day, Big Chillin contacted the ESEA admin again in order to use a wildcard to postpone a match as their tryouts conflicted with their available days. The ESEA admin then told Aphotic that they had been informed that "an emergency transfer cannot be granted as the team has two subs listed who can play," effectively rescinding the decision made less than 24 hours prior.
Aphotic also points out that RBG and Party Astronauts, who have both been granted emergency transfers to make changes this season, did not declare any substitutes in case of any unforeseen circumstances. As such, Big Chillin are effectively being penalized for being prepared in case of last-minute emergencies by submitting substitutes, whereas RBG and Party Astronauts were able to add new, permanent players just because they had no contingency plans in case of emergencies during the season.
When contacted by Dust2.us, Aphotic said that Big Chillin had reached out to an ESL email provided by the ESEA admin, but have yet to hear back and are now in a time crunch, with matches coming up this week. He also stated that the admin had re-confirmed the decision this morning.
Representatives from ESEA had yet to respond to a request for comment at the time of publication.