LCS Players Association discusses strike following recent NACL changes
By Bob Garcia
A rift is forming in the North American Collegiate League
In a move to oppose the modifications that Riot Games is bringing to the North American Collegiate League (NACL), the LCS Players Association (LCSPA) has urged its members to vote on a walkout. This Sunday marks the day of the vote, as per journalist Mikhail Klimentov, and follows a questionable decision by Riot to remove academic teams from the academic eSports league.
Pro eSports teams, including some followed by fans on Americas Cardroom, are facing criticism due to Riot Games’ alterations to the NACL, which have eliminated the need for academic players in the division. League of Legends teams that participate in the NACL no longer have to have academic rosters, despite the league’s development specifically for the academic level.
Previously known as the Challenger Series and Academy League, the NACL has served as a talent pool for the LCS. The academics and groups of all LCS members are documented in an academic journal for the NACL. Many members have chosen to abandon their NACL rosters following policy changes; only Team Liquid, FlyQuest, and Evil Geniuses have kept the academic list out of the 10 LCS teams.
On May 12, the LCSPA was irked to find out that a considerable number of players were not included in a meeting. Consequently, the organization circulated a public letter expressing their disappointment. They emphasized that many of the current players in LCS had initially joined via educational institutions and that it would be detrimental to the future of eSports in North America if they were to abandon the system.
LCSPA proposes the integration of a system for upgrading and downgrading within the LCS to address issues concerning compatibility. Since LCS slots are restricted by franchise, unlike VALORANT’s model of utilizing an affiliate program, the owners of these slots may not be motivated to adopt such a model.
The League of Legends ecosystem has a history of rejecting academic rosters. Starting in 2022, LEC teams were no longer required to put academic players on their rosters for the European regional competition. Contrary to the scenario in North America, though, Europe’s second tier presents players with a wealth of possibilities thanks to its extensive presence across numerous countries.