Who watches the watchmen?On May 8, Riot Games permanently banned one of the top professional League of Legends teams in North America, Renegades, in one of the harshest punishments ever levied on an esports team. The move potentially cost the team and its two leaders, Christopher MonteCristo Mykles and Chris Badawi, millions of dollars of future revenue and sponsorship opportunities.Every major sports league in the world has rules, and most, such as the NFL, NBA and MLB, have an appeals process. But in the largest and most popular competitive esports league in the world, the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS), its organizer, Riot Games, sits as investigator, prosecutor, judge and jury.Riots rulings against Renegades, and specifically Badawi, who was already banned for a year for attempted poaching, are far more severe and come with more consequences than the rulings before it. Without third-party oversight or a transparent and consistent process, rulings such as this will be questioned in the future, especially with the ever-increasing influx of money into esports in general, and League of Legends in particular.Additionally, some traditional sports organizations have become timid about investing in the LCS because it appears that teams can be forced out without proper discourse.Lets take a look at how this investigation unfolded, as reported over the previous two months.Since the LCS was established in January 2013, the league has made inconsistent rulings against some of its participants with no independent oversight. Prior to Renegades, the rulings have been mild. In late 2014 and early 2015, Riot Games fined North American squad Counter Logic Gaming $14,500 cumulatively for poaching Darshan ZionSpartan Upadhyaya and William Scarra Li. ZionSpartan, a player, and Scarra, a coach, were both temporarily suspended. Months later, Riot Games fined the European team MeetYourMakers €5,000 after it was discovered that manager Sebastian Rotterdam had threatened one of the teams players, Marcin Kori Wolski, with legal action.Citing unnamed sources in the May 8 statement released on Lolesports (Riots official site), Riot alleged multiple cases of wrongdoing against Renegades players and owners, including claims that Renegades purposely misled Riot in player trades, did not properly disclose team ownership and mistreated their players. Team Impulse and Team Dragon Knights were also banned, but the cloudy circumstances surrounding Renegades have raised the most questions.The first allegation questioned the ownership of Renegades League of Legends team.In June 2015, Riot ruled that Badawi tried to poach Team Liquids Diego Quas Ruiz and Yuri KEITH Jew, banning Badawi from owning a team for a year. His punishment was Riots first extended ban for tampering.Upon qualifying for the LCS in August 2015, Renegades incorporated under a different organization than its original company, C.B. Gaming LLC, which was co-owned equally by Badawi and Mykles. The new company, Mykles Gaming LLC, lists Mykles as the sole owner, with Badawi serving as its CEO, according to its articles of incorporation. In December, Mykles submitted a team agreement with Riot, revealing his articles of incorporation, which included Badawis position as Mykles Gaming CEO. Each team must sign an agreement with Riot Games in order to compete in the LCS.In its ruling, Riot Games alleged that Badawi was promised a 50 percent ownership stake after his yearlong ban is lifted, and making such an agreement during Badawis ban was a violation of league rules. Badawi and Mykles, as well as their attorney, Bryce Blum (an ESPN contributor), claim no such agreement existed. Riot refuted that claim, saying it was not a long-form legal agreement in a statement to ESPN. Riot did not provide ESPN proof of the agreement.Upon being notified of the ongoing investigation, Mykles offered an affidavit to Riot Games director of esports Whalen Rozelle that stated that Mykles is the sole owner of Mykles Gaming LLC. Rozelle told Mykles in an electronic chat, obtained by ESPN, that Mykles did not need that affidavit. Instead, Mykles and Rozelle agreed to set a meeting with Riot and Renegades attorneys to discuss the investigation.Less than 24 hours after that conversation, before the meeting occurred, Riot Games banned Mykles and Renegades. Riot also alleged in a statement that the conduct of Renegades management, specifically Badawi, raised player welfare concerns, citing confrontations between management and players, refusal to honor payment and contract provisions, and failure to maintain a safe environment for all team members. Riot said this was corroborated by multiple sources to its investigative team.Sources say there was some unhappiness among players in the Renegades house, and confrontations did occur.One of those confrontations was an argument between Maria Remilia Creveling and Badawi after she notified the team of her intention to leave the week of Jan. 31, according to several team members who were present. According to Mykles, Badawi threatened to deduct money from Remilias salary to recoup money that Badawi had given her for medical procedures.Badawis threat upset Remilia, several members of the house told ESPN. During the argument, Badawi was removed from the room by Renegades coach David Hermes Tu, and then Badawi spoke with Mykles and the remainder of the staff that evening, Mykles said.I spoke with Chris Badawi that evening and we agreed that he had acted impulsively and emotionally in this situation, Mykles said. We also agreed that his previous financial support of Maria Creveling was borne solely out of his generosity and had no bearing on her player contract with Mykles Gaming LLC; therefore, all associated payments should be made to her, and they subsequently and immediately were. I was also informed that Christopher Badawi had apologized to Maria Creveling that same day.After the dispute, Remilia -- who could not be reached for comment -- requested to stay in the Renegades house until she found a new home, and Mykles said he approved. She stayed until Feb. 22, and then moved to the NRG Esports Counter-Strike: Global Offensive home in Las Vegas.The final allegation made by Riot Games claims that there was a corporate relationship between Renegades and Challenger squad Team Dragon Knights.Badawi was a former owner of Team Dragon Knights, prior to his initial ban. Team Dragon Knights co-CEOs Chris Shim and Sean Shim, and their attorney David Graham, have given ESPN a copy of their operating agreement, which shows that Sean is the 90 percent owner and the remaining 10 percent is owned by Arena Online, a third-party tournament organizer that isnt affiliated with Badawi or Renegades.Despite no corporate link of ownership, the teams did conduct in-house scrimmages between each other, mixing and matching players until both teams got the rosters they felt most comfortable with. The result was one trade between the two teams; Renegades acquired Shin Seraph Woo-yeong and Noh Ninja Geon-woo, while Team Dragon Knights acquired Cuong Flaresz Ta, Oleksii RF Legendary Kuziuta and Alexey Alex Ich Ichetovkin.In an April 21 email to Mykles obtained by ESPN, former Riot Games associate esports manager Hunter Leigh alleged that Renegades were misleading about their relationship with Team Dragon Knights, stating that players were continually traded back and forth. The alleged trades Leigh is referencing would be legal, but he claims Renegades were not up front about them; Renegades disagreed with this claim and state only one trade was made.Leigh also alleged that players were housed by their former teams after the trade, which is true in the case of RF Legendary, who served only as a substitute for the Dragon Knights. In Riots ruling, the company said: Both REN [Renegades] and TDK [Team Dragon Knights] were found to have provided incomplete and/or inaccurate answers and documents to deliberately hide a relationship and interactions which exceed acceptable bounds.Riot Games would not provide further evidence backing its allegations, citing the need to protect its sources. Jakub Vrana Jersey
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. After taking two big hits this week -- losing at home and dropping back-to-back games for the first time all season -- Indiana struck back by playing its most complete game of the year. Nebraska goes into its final game of the regular season on Friday at Iowa with several questions to be answered.The big one on every Nebraska fans mind is who will be healthy enough to start at quarterback.Senior Tommy Armstrong Jr. missed last Saturdays 28-7 win over Maryland with a hamstring injury. Backup Ryker Fyfe took Armstrongs place, but come to find out he broke a bone in his left wrist and had surgery on Sunday to repair it.Armstrong said Tuesday after practice that he will be able to play. Coach Mike Riley said Fyfe might be available. If neither can go, Nebraska is left with No. 3 quarterback Zack Darlington.We have a good feeling that Tommys going to be able to do something, Riley said. We have a good feeling that Ryker is going to be able to do something.Riley would feel even better if any of the quarterbacks could help the 16th-ranked Cornhuskers (9-2, 6-2 Big Ten) come away with a victory at Iowa (7-4, 5-3) in Kinnick Stadium (3:30 p.m., ABC). That would give Nebraska 10 wins -- a significant turnaround from a 5-7 record in Rileys first season in 2015.Nebraska is also playing for a chance at a Big Ten West Division co-championship and an outside shot at the conference championship game next week in Indianapolis. To get there, the Cornhuskers need to take care of business against Iowa and hope for a Minnesota upset of Wisconsin, leaving them alone atop the standings.If Nebraska and Wisconsin win this weekend, they tie for the division title. But the Badgers get to advance based on their 23-17 overtime win over the Cornhuskers on Oct. 29.I think it would be awesome to get the 10th win. Its not that common, Riley said. Theres not going to be that many people in the picture of double digit wins during the season.Theres lots of reasons to win this game. Its Iowa, its a rival game, its a chance to win the division to get to the Big Ten championship game. Its 10 wins. Its a better bowl game. Theres a bunch of reasons.Nebraskas record against Iowa since it joined the Big Ten in 2011 is 3-2. The road team has won the last four games, including the Cornhuskers epic rally to beat Iowa 37-34 in overtime two years ago in Kinnick Stadium.It seems like a really great natural rivalry that will just do nothing but grow and become bigger and bigger, Riley said. I mean, just the proximity, kind of the like-mindedness, I just think its a perfect fit that way.Last year, the Hawkeyes won 28-20 in Lincoln to cap a perfect 12-0 regular season. Iowa is nowhere near that level this year, but they still could tie for the Big Ten West title with a win and a Wisconsin loss, which would create a four-team logjam at the top.ddddddddddddAt the end of the day, its what happens at game time, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said of the rivalry game. Doesnt matter if youve been playing for the last hundred years or havent played. Its about what happens at game time and how that thing goes.Iowa seems to have found its identity the past two weeks by relying on an airtight defense and a run-heavy offense. The Hawkeyes claimed their first Big Ten shutout since 2009 with a 28-0 victory at Illinois last Saturday.Iowa followed a similar formula the week before against Michigan in the stunning 14-13 upset that handed the Wolverines their first and only loss of the season. A pride-bruising, humiliating 41-14 loss to Penn State three weeks ago seemed to jolt the Hawkeyes into suddenly playing their best football of the year at the tail end of the schedule.Weve got our work cut out, and well see what we can do this week, Ferentz said. Its going to be a big challenge for us.Nebraska can expect to see play of Iowas two running backs. Senior LeShun Daniels Jr. and junior Akrum Wadley are taking turns leading the Hawkeyes in rushing.Two weeks ago, Wadley carried Iowa against Michigan with 112 yards rushing. Last week against Illinois, Daniels ran for 159 yards and two touchdowns.Both backs are closing in on 1,000 yards for the season. Wadley has 861 yards and Daniels is right behind with 855. With Fridays game and a bowl game remaining, both could get there.Weve got two guys that we have confidence in, Ferentz said. The best thing is they complement each other. 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