Introduction and Purpose

These Official Rules (“Rules”) of the PlayVS High School Esports League apply to each of the teams who have registered and met the requirements for the 2018-2019 school year, as well as their head coach, assistant coaches, vice principals, athletic directors, Starters, Substitutes (collectively “Team Members”), and other members. The 2018-2019 school year will be divided into two halves (“seasons”). Each season will consist of two phases (a) a regular season, and (b) playoffs, which will be at the conclusion of the regular season. The top teams will advance to the Playoffs. These Rules apply only to official PlayVS sponsored events and not to other competitions, tournaments or organized high school esports.

Play Versus, Inc. has established these Rules for the competitive play of esports in order to unify and standardize the rules used in high school esports competitive play.

These Rules are designed solely to ensure the integrity of the system established by PlayVS for organized play of esports and a competitive balance among the teams that play at the high school level. Standardized rules benefit all parties who are involved in high school esports, including the teams, players and coaches.

These Rules do not restrict competition for players. The terms of engagement between players and teams are left to each of the teams and its players.

Table of Contents 

1. Team Member Eligibility 

1.1 Student Enrollment
1.2 Participation Eligibility 

2. Roster Rules

2.1 Roster Requirements
2.2 Head Coach
2.3 Roster Submission
2.4 Substitutions
2.5 Team Names and Player Names 

3. Player Equipment

3.1 Player-Owned or School-Owned Equipment
3.2 League Provided Equipment
3.3 Equipment Tampering 

4. League Structure 

4.1 Definition of Terms
4.2 Phase Details 

5. Match Process

5.1 Pre-Match Setup
5.2 Game Setup 

6. Game Rules 

6.1 Definition of Terms
6.2 Game of Record
6.3 Stoppage of Play
6.4  Game Restart
6.5 Post-Game Process
6.6 Post-Match Process 

7. Player Conduct

7.1 Competition Conduct
7.1.2 Profanity and Hate Speech
7.1.3 Disruptive Behavior / Insults
7.1.4 Abusive Behavior
7.1.5 Unauthorized Communications
7.1.6 Apparel
7.1.7 Identity
7.2 Unprofessional Behavior
7.2.1 Responsibility Under Code
7.2.2 Harassment
7.2.3 Sexual Harassment
7.2.4 Discrimination and Denigration
7.2.5 Tribunal Punishment
7.2.6 Player Behavior Investigation
7.2.7 Criminal Activity
7.2.8 Confidentiality
7.2.9 Bribery
7.2.10 Non-Compliance
7.2.11 Match-Fixing
7.2.12 Document or Miscellaneous Requests
7.3 Association with Gambling
7.4 Subjection to Penalty

8. Spirit of the Rules

8.1 Finality of Decisions
8.2 Rule Changes
8.3 Best Interests of the League 

1. Team Member Eligibility

1.1 Student Enrollment

No player shall be considered eligible to participate in any high school esports game before enrolling and attending the high school associated with their team. Exceptions will be determined by PlayVS and the state or club association. This shall not, however, prevent teams from allowing un-enrolled students to participate in practices.

To be eligible to compete for a high school esports team, each player must satisfy all of the following conditions:

1.2 Participation Eligibility

Each player must be 13 years of age or older and submit proof to the coach, prior to being added to an active roster, that he/she will meet the GPA (grade point average) required to participate in PlayVS sports as determined by their state association and/or school.

2. Roster Rules

2.1 Roster Requirements

Each team is required to maintain, at all times during season, one head coach, and at least five players in the starting lineup (“Starters”). It is recommended that a team also maintain two players as Substitutes or Alternates ("Substitutes"). To be eligible as a Starter or Substitute, players must have a Season Pass ("Season Pass"). For the avoidance of doubt, Starters and Substitutes are subject to the same roster eligibility requirements. No individual may simultaneously hold two or more of the roles listed above. Players that are not listed as Starters or Substitutes must be in the ‘unassigned players’ pool.

The Starters are considered collectively as the “Starting Roster.”   The Starting Roster, including any Substitutes that are competing, will be required to be on-site for every official game that the team participates in.

Substitutes are considered collectively as the “Substitute Pool.” Players in the Substitute Pool may be used for any team within an assigned esport. Players can only compete for one team per game week. The Substitute Pool will be displayed in the ‘Player Pool’ on www.playvs.com under the SMITE esport.

The Starting Roster will be displayed on www.playvs.com. The Starting Roster on our website will be considered the most up to date roster that could be applied within a reasonable time. Roster eligibility is still at the discretion of league officials.

All players associated with a school are considered collectively as the "Complete Roster." The Complete Roster, Starting Roster plus two Substitutes, must be locked in one week prior to playoffs.

A player is only allowed to compete for the one school that he or she is enrolled in. A player will not be allowed to compete for more than one school simultaneously and therefore cannot be listed on the roster of more than one school. To verify that these players are officially enrolled at their school, each player must be verified by the team's head coach or another member of faculty. For the avoidance of doubt, the verification of a player is an agreement to a summary of some key terms of the Rulebook needed by the league to verify eligibility and confirm agreement by player and team.

2.2 Head Coach

Each team will be required to have a designated head coach who will be considered the official coach for the team. The head coach will be listed on www.playvs.com. The head coach must be a faculty member unless otherwise determined by the individual state association and Athletic Director. Further, a head coach cannot be a starting player, substitute player, or active player. The coach will be required to be on-site for every official game that the team participates in.

The coach can only represent one school. The coach may be affiliated with another school, however, the eligibility of that coach will be at the discretion of league officials and state association rules and be determined on a case by case basis.

If a coach is relieved of his or her position, an interim coach can be designated until a full-time coach is found. If the head coach is unable to make a game, the athletic director must assign an interim coach to be on-site instead. The interim coach can be any other member of faculty. If a coach is not present on-site, then the team is subject to penalties, including, but not limited to, forfeiture.

2.3 Roster Submission

All starting players must be registered to a team before scheduled matches are to begin. Players can play for one team per game day, including Substitutes. Substitutes will be located in the Player Pool.

Coaches must verify enrollment and all other player requirements by this time. In the event that a coach elects to modify the Starting Roster, the coach must change their Starting Roster on www.playvs.com

2.4 Substitutions

Modifications to a starting lineup for the team’s first games on a regular season week may not be submitted any later than 15 minutes prior to the start of the game and the substituted player must be on the Starting Roster. A change to the starting roster for the second game of a regular season week must be made no later 15 minutes prior to the second game of the week. For example, if a team wishes to substitute a player in for game 2, then the coach must modify the Starting Roster on www.playvs.com no later than 15 minutes before game 2. A team will be allowed a roster of 7 eligible players, 5 Starters and 2 Substitutes, for the playoffs barring any extenuating circumstances. The 7 players will be locked at the beginning of the playoffs.

In the event of an emergency, a team will be given up to 1 hour to find an immediate substitute for a game. If a replacement cannot be found then the team will forfeit. League officials will determine if an event qualifies as an emergency.

2.5 Team Names and Player Names

Usernames (‘In game names”) may include upper-case letters, lower-case letters, numbers 0-9, underscores, or single spaces between words only. In game names must not exceed 12 characters including spaces. In game names and Team Names may not contain: vulgarities or obscenities. In game names must be unique regionally, so a player cannot share a in game names with another player from the same region. To avoid confusion, the region is defined by continent.

All Team Names and in game names must be approved by head coaches as well as league officials in advance of use in play. In game name changes are not allowed. Any cosmetic change to logos, team names, etc. must be made by a coach or faculty member.

3. Player Equipment

3.1 Player-Owned or School-Owned Equipment

Players are allowed to provide equipment in the following categories, which are owned by themselves or schools, and use such equipment during regular season games: 

3.1.1 PC & Monitor 

3.1.2 Headsets and/or Earbuds and/or Microphones 

3.1.3 Table and Chair 

3.1.4 PC Keyboards 

3.1.5 PC Mice and cord holders 

3.1.6 PC Mousepads

3.1.7 PC Controller

3.2 League Provided Equipment

League officials will provide, and players will exclusively use, equipment in the following categories to players for all official State Championship matches: 

3.2.1 PC & Monitor 

3.2.2 Headsets and/or Earbuds and/or Microphones 

3.2.3 Table and Chair 

At the request of a player, league officials will provide the following categories of equipment for use in all official State Championship matches: 

3.2.4 PC Keyboards 

3.2.5 PC Mice and cord holders 

3.2.6 PC Mousepads

3.2.7 PC Controller

3.3 Equipment Tampering

Players may not touch or handle another teammate’s owned or provided equipment after a game has started. Players who require assistance with their equipment should ask for assistance from their coach.

4. League Structure

4.1 Definition of Terms

4.1.1 Game. An instance of competition that is played until a winner is determined by one of the following methods, whichever occurs first: (a) completion of the final objective, (b) Team Surrender, or (c) Team Forfeit.

4.1.2 Match. A set of games that is played until one team wins a majority of the total games (e.g., winning two games out of three (“best of three”). The winning team will either receive a win tally in a league format or advance to the next round in a tournament format. 

4.1.3 Season. Scheduled league play that will occur over an approximately three-month period of time. Each season will consist of two phases: (a) Regular Season, and (b) Playoffs, which will occur at the conclusion of the Regular Season and will lead into a State Championship.

4.2 Phase Details

4.2.1 Regular Season. This phase consists of each team within a state, each playing a minimum of 12 games per season, in a league format against opponents within their region. Ranking in the league will be determined by each team's win-loss ratio.

4.3.2 Playoffs. This phase consists of the one-hundred twenty-eight (128) teams from each state. These teams will compete in a single-elimination tournament until only two (2) teams remain. Each match will be a Best-of-One (BO1). Same-school teams will all be seeded to the same side of the bracket, ensuring that no two teams from the same school will be in the finals of the State Championship. The top two teams will be invited to the State Championship.

5. Match Process

5.1 Pre-Match Setup

5.1.1 Technical Failure of Equipment. Restart all computers at least one hour before scheduled matches and test each game client by loading into a custom game. If a player encounters any equipment problems during any phase of the setup process, player must alert and notify a coach and a league official immediately.

5.1.2 Technical Support. Head coaches must be available to assist with the setup process and troubleshoot any problems encountered during the pre-match setup period.

5.1.3 Timeliness of Match Start. It is expected that players will resolve any issues with the setup process within the allotted time and that match will begin at the scheduled time. Delays due to setup problems may be permitted, at the sole discretion of league officials. Teams that are over thirty (30) minutes tardy to will forfeit their match; all five players must be in the SMITE match lobby.

5.1.4 Game Lobby Creation. Matches will be in Conquest Mode. In order to start the match correctly, all players (including any substitutes that are playing for the day) must be correctly presented on the starting roster at the scheduled time of match. Starters must have correct in game names connected to the PlayVS player account. Starters will immediately receive another invite for Game 2 in the SMITE client.

5.1.4.1 Game Invitation. Only the 5 players on the starting roster will receive the match invite in the game client. Players must have the SMITE client open 5 minutes before the scheduled match time to receive the invite in the game client. All players must immediately click the blue ‘Accept’ button to start the game. 

5.1.4.2 In Game Characters. Players will receive all the characters within the PlayVS custom game to compete on Game Days.

5.1.4.3 Match Creation Failure. If the match does not start correctly, players go back to their PlayVS connections panel to check they have linked the correct SMITE account, using their in game name. Players will automatically receive another invite for the game after they all exit the SMITE lobby.

5.2 Game Setup

5.2.1 Start of Pick / Ban Process. Once all ten players accepted the invitation to the official game lobby, the pick and ban phase starts.

5.2.2 Side Selection. Side selection will be assigned randomly.

5.2.3 Draft Mode. Draft mode format as follows: Blue Team= A; Red Team = B 

Bans: ABAB Picks: ABBAAB Bans: BABA Picks: BAAB

6. Game Rules

6.1 Definition of Terms

6.1.1 Unintentional Disconnection. A player losing connection to the game due to problems or issues with the game client, platform, network, or PC.

6.1.2 Intentional Disconnection. A player losing connection to the game due to player’s actions (i.e. quitting the game). Any actions of a player which lead to a disconnection shall be deemed intentional, regardless of the actual intent of the player.

6.1.3 Server Crash. All players losing connection to a game due to an issue with a game server, PlayVS platform, or venue internet instability.

6.2 Game of Record

A game of record (“GOR”) refers to a game where all six players have loaded and which has progressed to a point of meaningful interaction between opposing teams. Once a game attains GOR status, the period ends in which incidental restarts may be permitted and a game will be considered as “official” from that point onward. After the establishment of GOR, game restarts will be allowed only under limited conditions (see Section 9.4). Examples of conditions which establish GOR: 

6.2.1 Any attack or ability is landed on minions, jungle creeps, structures, or enemy characters. 

6.2.2 Line-of-sight is established between players on opposing teams. 

6.2.3 Setting foot, establishing vision or targeting skillshot ability in opponent’s jungle by either team, which includes either leaving the river or entering brush connected to enemy jungle. 

6.2.4 Game timer reaches two minutes (00:02:00).

6.3 Stoppage of Play

If a player intentionally disconnects without notifying a coach or league official or pausing, a league official is not required to enforce a stoppage. During any pause or stoppage, players may not leave the match area unless authorized by their head coach.

6.3.1 Directed Pause. League officials may order the pause of a match or execute a pause command on any player station at the sole discretion of the league officials, at any time.

6.3.2 Player Pause. Players may only pause a match immediately following any of the events described below, but must signal a head coach immediately after the pause and identify the reason. Acceptable reasons include: 

6.3.2.1 An Unintentional Disconnection 

6.3.2.2 A hardware or software malfunction (e.g. monitor power or peripheral disability or game glitch)

Player illness, injury, or disability is not an acceptable reason for a player pause. In such a situation, the team must alert a league official, who may in his/her sole discretion, grant a pause in order to evaluate the identified player to determine whether player is ready, willing, and able to continue playing within a reasonable period of time, as determined by the league official, but not to exceed a few minutes. If the league official determines that the identified player is not able to continue playing within such reasonable period of time, then the identified player’s team shall forfeit the game unless a league official, in his/her discretion, determines that the game is subject to an Awarded Game Victory.

6.3.3 Resuming the Game. Players are not permitted to resume the game after a pause. After clearance from the coaches is issued and all players are notified and ready at their stations, which will be contingent on each Solo Laner confirming through in-game chat that both teams are ready to resume play, the in-client spectators will unpause the game.

6.3.4 Unauthorized Pause. If a player pauses or unpauses a game without permission from the coaches, it will be considered unfair play and penalties will be applied at the discretion of league officials.

6.4 Game Restart

The decision of which condition(s) shall justify a game restart is solely at the discretion of league officials.

6.4.2 Restarts After GOR. The following are examples of situations in which a game may be restarted after GOR has been established.

6.4.2.1 If a game experiences a critical bug at any point during the match which significantly alters game stats or gameplay mechanics. 

6.4.2.2 If a league official determines that there are environmental conditions which are unfair (e.g. excessive noise, hostile weather, unacceptable safety risks).

6.4.4 Controlled Environment. Certain conditions may be preserved in the event of a restart of a game that has not reached GOR, including, without limitation, picks/bans or Summoner spells. If, however, a match has reached GOR then league officials shall not retain any settings.

6.4.5 Player Confirmation of Settings. Each team captain shall verify that every player on his/her team has finalized their intended game settings (including runes, masteries, controls, and GUI settings) before GOR is established. Any error in verification is not grounds for a game restart after GOR is established.

6.5 Post-Game Process

6.5.1 Results. League officials will confirm and record game result. 

6.5.2 Tech Notes. Players will identify any tech issues with their coach. 

6.5.4 Results of Forfeiture. Matches won by forfeit will be reported by the minimum score it would take for one team to win the match (e.g. 1-0 for best-of-1 matches, 2-0 for best-of-three matches, 3-0 for best-of-five matches). No other statistics will be recorded for forfeited matches.

6.6 Post-Match Process

6.6.1 Results. League officials will confirm and record the match result. 

6.6.2 Next Match. Players will be informed of their current standing in the competition, including their next scheduled game through the PlayVS client.

7. Player Conduct

7.1 Competition Conduct

7.1.1  Unfair Play. The following actions will be considered unfair play and will be subject to penalties at the discretion of league officials.

  • Collusion. Collusion is defined as any agreement among two (2) or more players and/or confederates to disadvantage opposing players. Collusion includes, but is not limited to, acts such as:
  • Soft play, which is defined as any agreement among two (2) or more players to not damage, impede or otherwise play to a reasonable standard of competition in a game.
  • Sending or receiving signals, electronic or otherwise, from a confederate to/from a player.
  • Deliberately losing a game for compensation, or for any other reason, or attempting to induce another player to do so.
  • Competitive Integrity. Teams are expected to play at their best at all times within any league game, and to avoid any behavior inconsistent with the principles of good sportsmanship, honesty, or fair play. For the purpose of clarification, team composition and the pick/ban phase will not be considered when determining whether this rule has been violated.
  • Hacking. Hacking is defined as any modification of the SMITE game client by any player, team or person acting on behalf of a player or a team.
  • Exploiting. Exploiting is defined as intentionally using any in-game bug to seek an advantage. Exploiting includes, but is not limited to, acts such as: glitches in buying items, glitches in neutral minion interactions, glitches in character ability performance, or any other game function that, in the sole determination of league officials, is not functioning as intended.
  • Spectator Monitors. Looking at or attempting to look at spectator monitors.
  • Ringing. Playing under another player’s account or soliciting, inducing, encouraging or directing someone else to play under another player’s account.
  • Cheating Methods. The use of any kind of cheating device and/or cheat program, or any similar cheating method such as signaling devices, hand signals, etc.
  • Intentional Disconnection. An intentional disconnection without a proper and explicitly-stated reason.
  • League Discretion. Any other further act, failure to act, or behavior which, in the sole judgment of league officials, violates these Rules and/or the standards of integrity established by the league for competitive game play.

7.1.2 Profanity and Hate Speech

A Team Member may not use language that is obscene, foul, vulgar, insulting, threatening, abusive, libelous, slanderous, defamatory or otherwise offensive or objectionable; or promote or incite hatred or discriminatory conduct, in or near the match area, at any time. A Team Member may not use any facilities, services or equipment provided or made available by the league or its contractors to post, transmit, disseminate or otherwise make available any such prohibited communications. A Team Member may not use this type of language on social media or during any public facing events such as streaming.

7.1.3 Disruptive Behavior / Insults

A Team Member may not take any action or perform any gesture directed at an opposing Team Member, fan, or official, or incite any other individual(s) to do the same, which is insulting, mocking, disruptive or antagonistic.

7.1.4 Abusive Behavior

Abuse of league officials, opposing Team Members, or audience members will not be tolerated. Repeated etiquette violations, including but not limited to touching another player’s computer, body or property will result in penalties. Team Members and their guests (if any) must treat all individuals attending a match with respect.

7.1.5 Unauthorized Communications

All mobile phones, tablets and other voice-enabled and/or “ringing” electronic devices must be removed from the play area before the game. Players may not text/email or use social media while in the match area. During the match, communication by a Starter shall be limited to the players on the Starter’s team.

7.1.6 Apparel

Team Members may wear apparel with multiple logos, patches or promotional language. PlayVS reserves the right at all times to impose a ban on objectionable or offensive apparel:

  • Advertising any non-"over the counter" drug, tobacco product, firearm, handgun or ammunition.
  • Containing any material that is defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, repulsive or offensive, or that describes or depicts any internal bodily functions or symptomatic results of internal conditions, or refers to matters which are not considered socially acceptable topics.
  • Advertising any pornographic website or pornographic products.
  • Disparaging or libeling any opposing team or player or any other person, entity or product.
  • The league reserves the right to refuse entry or continued participation in the match to any Team Member who does not comply with the aforementioned apparel rules.

7.1.7 Identity

A player may not cover his or her face or attempt to conceal his or her identity from league officials. League officials must be able to distinguish the identity of each player at all times and may instruct players to remove any material that inhibits the identification of players or is a distraction to other players or league officials. For this reason, as well as those listed in Section 5.7, hats are not allowed.

7.2 Unprofessional Behavior

7.2.1 Responsibility Under Code

Unless expressly stated otherwise, offenses and infringements of these Rules are punishable, whether or not they were committed intentionally. Attempts to commit such offenses or infringements are also punishable.

7.2.2 Harassment

Harassment is forbidden. Harassment is defined as systematic, hostile and repeated acts taking place over a considerable period of time, or a singular egregious instance, which is/are intended to isolate or ostracize a person and/or affect the dignity of the person.

7.2.3 Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is forbidden. Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances. The assessment is based on whether a reasonable person would regard the conduct as undesirable or offensive. There is zero tolerance for any sexual threats/coercion or the promise of advantages in exchange for sexual favors.

7.2.4 Discrimination and Denigration

Team Members may not offend the dignity or integrity of a country, private person or group of people through contemptuous, discriminatory or denigrating words or actions on account of race, skin color, ethnic, national or social origin, gender, language, religion, political opinion or any other opinion, financial status, birth or any other status, sexual orientation or any other reason.

7.2.5 Tribunal Punishment

If a Team Member is found guilty and punished by the Hi-Rez Tribunal, league officials may assign an additional competition penalty at their sole discretion.

7.2.6 Player Behavior Investigation

If PlayVS or Hi-Rez determines that a Team or Team Member has violated the SMITE Terms of Use, or other rules of SMITE, league officials may assign penalties at their sole discretion. If a league official contacts a Team Member to discuss the investigation, the Team Member is obligated to tell the truth. If a Team Member withholds information or misleads a league official creating an obstruction of the investigation then the Team and/or Team Member is subject to punishment.

7.2.7 Criminal Activity

A Team Member may not engage in any activity which is prohibited by common law, statute, or treaty and which leads to or may be reasonably deemed likely to lead to conviction in any court of competent jurisdiction.

7.2.8 Confidentiality

A Team Member may not disclose any confidential information provided by league or any affiliate of PlayVS, by any method of communication, including all social media channels.

7.2.9 Bribery.

No Team Member may offer any gift or reward to a player, coach, manager, league official, PlayVS employee, or person connected with or employed by another PlayVS team for services promised, rendered, or to be rendered in defeating or attempting to defeat a competing team.

7.2.10 Non-Compliance

No Team Member may refuse or fail to apply the reasonable instructions or decisions of league officials.

7.2.11 Match-Fixing

No Team Member may offer, agree, conspire, or attempt to influence the outcome of a game or match by any means that are prohibited by law or these Rules.

7.2.12 Document or Miscellaneous Requests

Documentation or other reasonable items may be required at various times throughout the league as requested by league officials. If the documentation is not completed to the standards set by PlayVS then a team may be subject to penalties. Penalties may be imposed if the items requested are not received and completed at the required time.

7.3 Association with Gambling

No Team Member or league official may take part, either directly or indirectly, in betting or gambling on any results of any SMITE tournament or match globally.

7.4 Subjection to Penalty

Any person found to have engaged in or attempted to engage in any act that PlayVS believes, in its sole and absolute discretion, constitutes unfair play, will be subject to penalty. The nature and extent of the penalties imposed due to such acts shall be in the sole and absolute discretion of league officials.

8. Spirit of the Rules

8.1 Finality of Decisions

All decisions regarding the interpretation of these rules, player eligibility, scheduling and staging of the league, and penalties for misconduct, lie solely with PlayVS, the decisions of which are final. PlayVS decisions with respect to these Rules cannot be appealed and shall not give rise to any claim for monetary damages or any other legal or equitable remedy.

8.2 Rule Changes

These Rules may be amended, modified or supplemented by PlayVS, from time to time, in order to ensure fair play and the integrity of the league.

8.3 Best Interests of the League

League officials at all times may act with the necessary authority to preserve the best interests of the league. This power is not constrained by the lack of any specific language in this document. League officials may use any form of punitive actions at their disposal against any entity whose conduct is not within the confines of the best interests of the league.

Did this answer your question?