All of Riot’s professional and semi-professional leagues require players to pass a check of their accounts to ensure that they meet our standards for sportsmanship and don’t have a habit of disruptive in-game behavior. Since 2018, we’ve applied a similar process to the College LoL Season, where we look over the last year of account history for every single player that is added to a College Season roster. Over 97% of College Season players each year demonstrate good sportsmanship, and pass the check without any action taken.
We believe that our scholastic programs have an opportunity to reward sportsmanlike behavior and deter disruptive behavior across our player base, as well as help make the College LoL an inclusive, safe space for competitors. We want everybody to focus on competition and camaraderie without having to deal with people being jerks. Sportsmanship checks are one way that we enforce a higher standard on our College Season competitors.
What is a Sportsmanship Check?
Once season registration closes, we check every player account for any instance of disciplinary action since January 1st of the current calendar year. This includes temporary bans, chat restrictions, forced name changes, and everything in between. We build and review a giant spreadsheet of every account that’s run into issues during our review period and manually review each and every instance on every account. This includes chat logs, account history, and conversations with Player Support Agents.
Sportsmanship checks don’t consider any behavior that took place before January 1st to focus on current behavior, rather than punishing young (and hopefully, learning) students for past mistakes. We put additional weight on behavior that took place in August or later, since it’s a better picture of how players are currently behaving, and it’s likely that they had already planned on joining a College Season team – meaning they had the opportunity to know a sportsmanship check is coming.
Defining Inappropriate Behavior
At the end of the day, behavior evaluation will always be context-dependent and at the sole discretion of College Season officials. However, we provide the following definitions to help clarify what we look for.
To keep this page PG, we’re not going to give specific examples of this behavior, but College Season officials are always happy to provide additional clarity if needed:
- Tier 1 Violations
- Anything reasonably construed as a slur
- Explicit statements of hate speech or verbal abuse, especially if related to a protected category (as defined in the Code of Conduct)
- Hostile or overtly offensive comments or jokes, especially if related to a protected category
- Direct or explicit instructions to self-harm
- Direct or realistic threats of physical violence
- Tier 2 Violations
- Offensive jokes involving a protected category
- Exclusionary or insulting language involving a protected category
- Tier 3 Violations
- Direct personal attacks unrelated to gameplay
- Sustained, overt hostility to other players
When Violations Are Found
Confirmed violations can become either a warning or a ban. Both warnings and bans only apply for the upcoming College LoL Season, do not affect eligibility for future seasons, and do not result in additional action being taken against player accounts.
Warnings: Players that receive sportsmanship warnings are effectively on a one-strike policy for conduct violations during the upcoming College Season – if they run into any kind of behavior or conduct problems, they can be immediately banned for the remainder of the season with no other warning.
Bans: These players are not permitted to participate in the upcoming College Season as a player, receive a staff scholarship, or receive staff access to the College Championship. They may still support the team in other capacities as the team sees fit.
- Tier 1 Violations
- Any instance: ban
- Tier 2 Violations
- Multiple or severe instances: ban
- Single instance, during or after August: ban
- Single instance, before August: warning
- Tier 3 Violations
- Multiple or severe instances, during or after August: ban
- Multiple or severe instances, before August: warning
- Single instance: no action taken
If a warning or ban is issued, we email the player’s team manager with categorical information about the behavior, a quick refresher on our policy, and the final decision. We will announce specific timelines for notification in the College Season Discord, which will vary depending on the number of players checked and the depth of investigation required. While we wish to be as transparent as possible, chat logs are considered personally identifiable information by various privacy laws. As such, we cannot provide chat logs to anyone other than the player themselves.
Schools and teams do not face any additional action if any of their players receives a sportsmanship check warning or ban. So long as a team still has at least five eligible players on their roster after sportsmanship checks are completed, they will continue to participate in the season as normal. If a team falls below five eligible players due to sportsmanship check fails, they will be removed from the season for not having an eligible roster. Register substitutes in advance!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How often do players receive warnings or bans?
A: Not very often! Approximately 1% of players each year receive a ban due to sportsmanship checks results, and 1-2% of players receive a warning. As of the time of writing, less than five warned players have received a one-strike ban for an additional violation during the season.
Q: How can I tell if I / my player will pass a sportsmanship check?
A: All automated account bans generate an email sent to the banned player with a copy of some of their offending chat logs. For players: if you’ve been banned in the past, you have a list of some of the things that have been problematic. Look over those logs, compare the content and time period to the standards above, and you’ll have a good general idea. For faculty: require players to either affirm their accounts have been in good disciplinary standing since January, or ask them to disclose some information about their past bans.
Q: I’ve gotten a chat restriction in the past – am I going to fail a sportsmanship check?
A: It’s possible, but unlikely that a tier 1 violation resulted in a single chat restriction instead of a temporary account ban.
Q: How can I protect my team from surprise player bans?
A: Best practice is to have at least two substitutes on your roster before the end of registration. Teams can make unlimited roster changes all the way until the College Championship, so your only concern is ensuring your team will still have five players on the roster after a player is banned.
Q: What happens if a player’s account gets banned for something not covered by the Code of Conduct?
A: Players that receive an account ban for any reason are not eligible for the duration of the ban (Season Rule 1.2.6). For example, if a player receives a three-day account ban, they are not eligible during those three days at a minimum. College Season officials may take additional action at their sole discretion in response to disruptive in-game behavior of any kind.
Q: What do I do if I see or know of a violation of the Code of Conduct?
College Season Code Conduct – plain language statement of fundamental values and definition of protected categories
2021 College Season Rules – detailing formal definitions of prohibited behavior (Section 5) and citing sportsmanship checks as an eligibility requirement (Rule 1.2.5)
Sportsmanship check clause from the College Season rules:
1.2.5 Sportsmanship Checks. Upon registration, all players will have their LoL accounts reviewed to ensure that they uphold good conduct and sportsmanship in their games during the current school year. Players who do not do so may be subject to warnings or loss of eligibility at any point during the season.