The MSEL Rulebook was significantly refreshed over the summer. All coaches and participants are encouraged to reread the general and game-specific rulesets prior to registering.
1.1.1. School Team Players
Students currently enrolled in their school's team and on the roster to participate in a current Middle School Esports League.
1.2.1. Team Administrator
Team Administrators are teachers or other verified and current school faculty members who oversee the operations of the school’s team and act as a point of contact between the school and MSEL Administrators.
1.3. Teams and Rosters
1.3.1. Middle School Teams
Middle Schools that have had a verified staff member create a team that is approved in the MSEL community. These teams are composed of students attending the same school. All schools must provide a valid NCES ID number upon registration to participate in official tournaments. Schools without an NCES ID may apply for an exemption but need to demonstrate accreditation or that they are on a path to accreditation.
Students must be actively working towards graduation from the school in order to be added to the team's roster. Part-time students may participate as long as they exclusively attend the school. Students who attend a middle school without a team registered with MSEL may participate on a school's team within the same district.
18.104.22.168. Homeschooled Students and Virtual Schools
Homeschooled students may participate on a team of a registered middle school as long as they are within the same school district.
Virtual Schools will be allowed to participate as long as they have a valid NCES ID, and the students are full-time students working towards graduation from the Virtual School. Students currently attending other schools along with the virtual school will not be permitted to play on the virtual school’s team.
22.214.171.124. After-School Programs
After-school programs are permitted to form teams as long as the team represents exactly one school campus or district, and that organization does not already have a team (i.e. exactly one team per NCES ID). The after-school program must be hosted in the local region of the school district. Any after-school program must be able to provide a list of students, the school they represent, NCES ID, and proof of enrollment of all students upon request.
126.96.36.199. Lan Centers
LAN Centers may provide avenues for Middle School teams to compete in tournaments but are prohibited from organizing their own official MSEL teams.
A group of students from the same Middle School team, participating in a specific game during an MSEL tournament. The size of a roster will vary depending on the tournament entered.
1.4.1. Official Match
An official match is any match taking place during any MSEL Major or Open tournament. Regular Season, Playoff, and Final matches qualify as official matches.
1.5.1. Fall, Winter, Spring
Tournaments in which the players must form a roster with other players enrolled in their school team.
1.6. Tournament Stages
Tournaments may consist of multiple stages, each with specific rounds and varying rules, including match length. It's important to note that the regular season and playoffs are entirely separate stages.
Teams wanting to participate in tournaments or events will need their Team Admin to register through the Generation Esports Competition Platform.
1.6.2. Regular Season
The regular season stage of a tournament is the main stage of a tournament. During this stage, players/teams compete for the highest placements to move on to the postseason (playoffs/finals).
The playoff stage is a bracket competition among the highest-placed rosters/players from the regular season leaderboard. The size of the playoff pool varies depending on the game being played and the number of active participants.
The Finals stage of a tournament is the final match in the bracket that consists of two teams. A separate match will be held to determine the third and fourth-place teams, these matches will be scheduled at the same time as the finals.
1.7. Match Format
1.7.1 Best of X
In a “Best of” match, teams/players play a series of games until a winner is decided. The match winner will be the first team/player to reach the required amount of game wins. MSEL “Best of” Matches may consist of the following settings.
- Best of 1
- Best of 3
- Best of 5
- Best of 7
For the specific match format for your game, please consult the specific MSEL rules page for your game.
1.8 Time Zone
The official time zone of the Middle School Esports League is the Eastern Time Zone, designated (UTC -5), or 5 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time. All Middle School Esports League broadcasts, announcements, and web pages regarding Middle School Esports League competitions and schedules will always display time in the Eastern Time Zone unless otherwise stated.
2. General Tournament Rules
All participants are expected to know and uphold the rules while associated with the Middle School Esports League. Participants will not receive refunds or compensation for their inability to play as a result of incurring a penalty due to a violation of Middle School Esports League rules and regulations. Participation in official tournaments constitutes acceptance of these rules.
2.2 Administration List
- Beau Hughes - Director of Competitive Strategy
- Neal Doolin - Director of Platform Operations
- Jake Taylor - Client Support Manager
- David Stone - Tournament Coordinator
2.3 Rule Changes
The Middle School Esports League reserves the right to add, remove, or otherwise amend all rule sets without prior notice. However, the Middle School Esports League will use its best efforts to provide reasonable notice prior to any significant rule changes.
2.3.1. Admin Interpretation
The final interpretation of rules and regulations rests with the MSEL Administration. All administrative decisions are considered final.
The content of emails, support tickets, or any other correspondence with the Middle School Esports League administration is deemed strictly confidential information. The publication of such material is prohibited without express written consent from the Middle School Esports League.
2.5 Match Broadcasting
All broadcasting rights of the Middle School Esports League are owned by Middle School Esports League, LLC. This includes, but is not limited to: IRC Bots, audio streams, video streams, match recordings, or television broadcasts.
2.5.1. Award of Broadcast Rights
The Middle School Esports League has the right to award broadcasting rights to one or multiple matches to a third party or participants themselves. In these cases, broadcasts must be arranged with Middle School Esports League administration or broadcasters prior to the start of the match. The Middle School Esports League reserves the right to play, broadcast, and distribute all match recordings during a Middle School Esports League tournament.
2.5.2. No Right of Refusal
Players and participants cannot refuse to have their matches broadcasted by a Middle School Esports League authorized broadcast, nor can they choose what manner in which the match will be broadcasted.
2.6 Player Details and Eligibility
All students participating in a Middle School Esports League Tournament must be currently enrolled in Middle School. Homeschooled students are welcome to participate with a local school team in their district of residence, as long as they meet the grade and age requirements.
2.6.2. Grade Point Average
All participating students in a Middle School Esports League tournament must be on-pace to graduate and in good standing with the school. It’s suggested that schools use the same GPA and attendance requirements for participation as other extracurricular and athletic activities
2.6.3. Home Country
All players must reside in the United States of America or Canada.
2.6.4. Proof of Enrollment
When requested by Middle School Esports League administration, players are required to submit all requested information for verification, including, but not limited to: full name, contact details, date of birth, school address, proof of enrollment, and grade point average. Legal documentation of this information may be requested. When requested, players must provide proof of enrollment in the form of any of the following:
- A dated school report card
- A school ID from the current year that includes the player’s name
- An email from a teacher or school administrator using their school email
Players may be suspended from play and prizing may be withheld from the team until proof of enrollment is provided.
2.7. Participant Accounts
2.7.1. Clean Game Accounts
The Middle School Esports League defines a "clean game account" as an account that has not received any form of long/short-term game suspension or ban in the past 365 days and is clear of vulgar or inappropriate content.
Short Term suspensions or bans can include, but are not limited to:
- Suspensions lasting less than one month’s time
- Chat restrictions
- Gameplay lockouts lasting 2 weeks or more
- Ranked mode access restricted
Players serving short-term game account bans/suspensions are prohibited from participating in Middle School Esports League events –even on alternate game accounts– until the suspension/ban is over.
Long-term suspensions or bans can include, but are not limited to:
- Permanent game accounts bans or VAC bans for any reason
- Suspensions/bans lasting for longer than one month’s time (30 days or more)
Players serving long-term suspensions/bans are prohibited from participating in all Middle School Esports League events –even on alternate game accounts– for an entire calendar year.
Players are required to notify their team administrator if they receive any length of suspension or ban. Team Administrators are required to notify MSEL Administrators of their student’s suspension or ban. Failure to comply on either part may result in disciplinary action against the player or team.
188.8.131.52. Tainted Accounts
During an official match, if a player’s account receives any form of game ban, the match will immediately conclude, and the opposing player/roster will be awarded the win.
2.7.2. Game Connections
All players taking part in Middle School Esports League tournaments are required to have an active game account for the tournament they’re participating in connected to their Generation Esports account. All game connection information shown on a team’s roster must match the names used in-game. Mismatching display names (gamertags) that cannot be verified by MSEL staff will not be allowed to participate in an official match and must not be present in a game lobby.
If a player’s display name does not match what is shown on their roster, please reach out to an MSEL Administrator through the Support Live Chat service for assistance while the game is still being played. Name discrepancy reports will not be accepted after a match has been completed.
In certain cases, mismatching names will be permitted to play, granted they correct their Game Connection in real time if MSEL staff can verify the overall game account is correct using Steam ID, Epic ID, or other similar unique account identifiers. (Identifiers must be data directly accessible to MSEL staff; email screenshots are insufficient)
All game connections associated with a user at any point during a competition or event are subject to rule 2.7.1, the clean account rule.
184.108.40.206. Game Account Ownership
Game accounts used in official tournaments must belong to the student participating using that game connection. At no point in time may players share accounts with each other or use an account of another person, regardless of if they are in the tournament or not.
220.127.116.11 School-Purchased Game Accounts
Schools may create accounts or purchase game licenses for their students participating in a tournament if they do not already have an active one. These accounts will be considered the students’ personal account and may only be used by one student each. These accounts and licenses may not be transferred to another student upon the previous student’s graduation or leaving the team, as this would be against any publisher’s Terms of Service or End User License Agreement.
2.7.3. Participant Profiles
All player names or profiles are prohibited from including:
- Gang Affiliation
- Drugs (including alcohol and tobacco)
- Sexual Material
- Offensive Material
- Politically Charged Symbols/Images
- Slander of The Middle School Esports League, Generation Esports, their staff, or participating schools and students
2.8.1. Team Names and Roster Names
All team names and roster names must reflect the name of the Middle School participating in the tournament. No two teams participating in the same tournament may use the same team name. Team names cannot be changed after the season officially begins.
2.8.2. Player Counts
Rosters are required to have the minimum player count (as stated in each game’s rule set) present on the team at all times once a season begins. This does not include players that are pending to be placed on the team. Teams may not have more than double the minimum player count on the roster at any time. For example, Rocket League rosters may include up to 6 players (3 starters and 3 substitutes).
Players are prohibited from participating on more than one roster for the same game in a specific tournament, regardless if the game is offered on multiple consoles.
2.8.4 Roster Changes
Roster changes may be made at any point during or in between seasons except during the time a team has queued for their match, during live matches, or once the playoffs have begun.
All prizing will be distributed once all teams that have earned it submit the necessary information needed to verify the eligibility of the players on the team and all pending payments are completed. If a team or player is missing any required criteria for verification or payment, the prizing will be held for 30 days after the conclusion of the applicable MSEL tournament. If a team or player fails to provide the required information or payments within those 30 days, they may forfeit all prizes from the tournament. Prizing will take between 3-6 weeks from the completion of the tournament to be fulfilled.
The Middle School Esports League reserves the right to withhold or revoke prizing from any School, Student, Team, or User who violates the official tournament rules or for any reason determined by the Middle School Esports League. This includes situations where a playoff match is forfeited. If a team chooses to forfeit a playoff match, the Middle School Esports League may decide to withhold or revoke any prizes that would have been awarded to that team or user. This action is taken at the discretion of the Middle School Esports League.
The Middle School Esports League reserves the right to revoke or change prizing if the minimum number of 32 tournament registrants is not reached. For prizing questions or concerns, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teams may choose to withdraw from a tournament up until their first official match during the regular season. Once a team chooses to withdraw from a tournament, they will not qualify for refunds or receive compensation for their withdrawal. Only Team Administrators may submit a request to withdraw a player or team from a tournament.
After the first game of the regular season has been played, teams will not be permitted to withdraw from a tournament. Teams wishing to no longer participate after the first official match, may stop queuing or playing matches for the remainder of the tournament.
2.10.1. Refund Policy
No refunds will be offered, all services are sold as is. The Middle School Esports League assumes no responsibility for purchases. A grace period of 48 hours after purchase will be offered for disputed circumstances. The Middle School Esports League reserves the right to refuse or deny registration and to cancel registration under certain circumstances.
2.11.1. Match Times
Each week, teams will choose one day and time from the available queue schedule to participate in their match. Team members will log on to Generation Esports and queue for the match once all participating members are present. The system will match their team against another team based on tournament leaderboard standing and available teams in the queue. Both teams will play their game immediately and in accordance with the game’s rules. The winning team must immediately report the outcome of the match.
The queue lobby will open at the designated time and will close ten minutes later. In the instance of a match not being found, teams will be awarded a bye win and will be moved into a priority queue for the remainder of the tournament.
18.104.22.168. Playoffs and Final Matches
- Playoffs/finals are manually seeded; players will not use the queue system*.
- *Minecraft will still use the queue system.
- You may only reschedule a playoff match if you meet all of the following criteria:
- Your competitor agrees to the new time in the match chat on the Generation Esports platform.
- You notify and receive approval from MSEL admins for the new time here.
- The match score is reported before midnight Pacific Standard Time the day prior to the next round (i.e. reschedules must not impede the bracket from advancing).
- Finals matches cannot be rescheduled.
- Your opponent must agree to the rescheduled time in match chat on the Generation Esports platform or the default time will remain.
2.11.2. Contacting Opponents
Communication will begin once teams have been matched together through the queue system. Teams must use Match Chat on the Match Page to communicate and share information regarding the setup of their match.
2.11.3. Match Results
Matches must be reported by the winning team immediately after their game's completion. Players/teams are encouraged to document proof of match results in the event that they are needed to verify the legitimacy of a match score report. Match reports must include the best-of-series score, and all results must be reported by 11:59 PM on the match day. After this, matches will be locked, and their scores will be uneditable.
22.214.171.124. Match Forfeits
All match forfeit reports need to be approved by an MSEL Administrator. Forfeit wins reported without prior approval are subject to dismissal and possible disciplinary action being taken. Teams looking to report a forfeit win for whatever reason must first contact an MSEL Administrator.
2.11.4. Match Interruptions and Live Issues
Teams are required to contact an MSEL Administrator if they experience issues delaying or interfering with their match as they are happening. Examples of Match interruptions or Lives Issues are
- Technical Difficulties
- Opponents not responding in Match Chat
- Incorrect Players or Game Connections
- Use of Incorrect Game Settings
2.11.5. Match Disputes
Match disputes must be submitted within 24 hours of a match’s conclusion during the Regular Season. Scoring disputes must be submitted within 1 week of a match’s conclusion. During the Season Playoffs and Finals, all disputes must be submitted on the day of the match. Sufficient and undoctored evidence, including, but not limited to, screenshots, match recordings, match replays/demos, or stream VODs must be submitted per the request of the Middle School Esports League official handling the match dispute before any decision regarding the dispute will be made. All match disputes should be submitted at the following link: https://help.generationesports.com/hc/en-us/requests/new.
2.11.6. Make Up Matches
Rosters who have missed matches during the regular season may make use of make-up queue windows, typically offered during weeks 7 and 8 of Major Tournaments. Makeup windows are only for rosters who have missed regular season matches. Teams who have played all of their regular season matches are prohibited from participating in makeup rounds.
2.11.7. Playoff Qualification
Teams must compete in and complete 75% of their Regular Season matches (if that number is a decimal, it will be rounded up) in order to be considered for playoff qualification. Teams who do not meet this requirement will be removed from qualification consideration regardless of their final record.
126.96.36.199. Unplayed Matches
Any match that a team misses or does not complete will result in the match being counted as a loss against the team's record at the end of the regular season. For example: going 4-1 in a regular season where 6 matches are offered will result in a final record of 4-2.
2.11.8. Playoff Seeding
For all tournaments, postseason matches will be seeded depending on the tournament size and number of players/rosters actively participating in the regular stage at the discretion of Middle School Esports League administration. Teams will be seeded into the playoffs based off their overall match record during the regular season. If a tie occurs between multiple teams, a tiebreaker system will be run in order to determine the placement of the tied teams.
The tiebreaker system will be run as a tiered protocol that will be used if multiple teams finish the regular season with the same overall record.
- Wins. (Forfeit wins and bye wins are scored as a 0-0 win)
- Head-to-head record. (If the two tied teams have played each other, their match record against each other is compared)
- Overall game win percentage. (e.g. winning a match 3-0 is better than 3-2)
- Higher opponents’ game win percentage. (e.g. it is better to beat an opponent who consistently won 3-0 than 3-2)
- Fewer forfeit losses.
- Fewer bye wins.
- The team which had a higher number of wins before their first loss.
- If the first loss is received after the same number of wins, then the team which lost to the stronger opponent (as defined by game win percentage) will be ranked higher.
2.11.9. Multiple Game Series
188.8.131.52. Breaks Between Games
Teams may have up to a 10-minute break between each game in a multiple-game series if they wish to do so.
In between matches in a multiple-game series, teams may substitute a player on their roster for a player currently in the match. Substitutions may only be made in team games; they are prohibited in solo games. In games with a drafting period before a game, substitutions can not be made after the draft has begun.
Substitutions may only be made in team games; they are prohibited in solo and duo (partner) games. Teams may substitute a player on their roster for a player currently in the match between games in a multiple-game series. For games with a drafting period before the game begins, substitutions can not be made after the draft has begun.
2.12.1. Team Communication
Players/rosters must communicate with their opponents through the match chat on Generation Esports. Third-party tools such as Discord and social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, etc) are prohibited from being used when attempting to communicate with opponents.
2.12.2. Outside Communication
Players/teams may not have any communication with any outside sources, with the exception of MSEL Administration while their match is in progress, including, but not limited to: coaches, teachers, match spectators, and substitutes. Players/teams may only have communication with outside sources during the grace period between games in a series or unless otherwise outlined in game-specific rules.
Controllers used in official matches must not be modified in any way, including but not limited to trigger mods, sensitive buttons, custom thumbsticks, and thumbstick tension modes. SCUF Controllers and Xbox Elite controllers are permitted as long as none of the attachments are used during gameplay. For fighting games, all standard fight sticks and controllers are permitted. Any hardware with macro functions or on-the-fly profile switching are strictly prohibited.
Controllers may be used for PC games provided that they meet the requirements above, are an officially supported controller, and the game has native support for the controller in question; i.e. the player should not need to install additional software/drivers for the controller other than those from the manufacturer or included with the game.
2.13.2. Keyboard and Mouse
Participants may use a keyboard and mouse on console as long as the tournament supports crossplay between console and PC players. The use of a keyboard and mouse for a console-specific tournament is prohibited.
2.14. Cross-Platform Play
Players may only play on the platform(s) specified for a specific tournament. Doing otherwise may result in disqualification from that tournament. Refer to Section 2 of the tournament-specific rule page for information on its supported platforms.
2.15. Software Agreements
3. Online Tournament Additional Rules
The Middle School Esports League will not provide any equipment, license, or online access during an online tournament. The Middle School Esports League is not responsible for any internet or power issues affecting players/teams.
3.2 Online Connection
The Middle School Esports League recommends all participants play over an Ethernet connection to reduce the amount of lag they may experience in online matches.
4. Rule Violations
The use of the following programs is considered cheating:
- Colored Models
- Sound changes
This list is not comprehensive; other programs may be deemed cheating if they are found to be giving a player or team an unfair advantage. Players who are found to be cheating will be immediately disqualified from all tournaments they currently compete in until their conclusion and beyond at the discretion of Middle School Esports League administration.
The exploitation of any bugs/glitches that give a player or team an unfair advantage and are unallowed by the game’s developer are prohibited from use in official matches. The following are some examples of prohibited exploits:
- Pixel Walking in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
- See Through Smokes in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
- Coastline Roof Vault Glitch in Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege
- Outback Top of Red Tent Plant in Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege
- Champion/Hero Swap Glitches
- Ability Timer Glitches
- Illegal/Out-Of-Bounds Spots
The above list of bugs/glitches/exploits is not comprehensive. The use of any bug/glitch/exploit that is deemed illegal by Middle School Esports League administration will result in punishment for the player/team that used the exploit.
4.1.3. Acts of Disruption
Players acting on and/or conspiring to cause any disruption to the match will also be treated as cheating. Acts of disruption include, but are not limited to:
- DDoS Attacks
- Disconnecting with the Intent of Resetting a Game
- Mic Spam
- Sabotaging Equipment
- Intentionally Delaying the Start of a Game
4.1.4. Third-Party Tools
The use of any third-party tools is prohibited in official tournaments. The list of third-party tools includes, but is not limited to:
- VR Audio Programs
- Third-Party Graphic Drivers
- Overlay Modifications
- Custom Skins
- Custom Overlays
- UI Modifications
The use of performance-enhancing drugs is prohibited.
4.2.1. Prohibited Substances
The List of Prohibited Substances and Methods created by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) applies to all Middle School Esports League events. The full list can be found at http://list.wada-ama.org/. Any unprescribed use of these substances is considered doping.
4.2.2. Prescribed Medication
If a player has an active prescription for a substance included in the WADA list, they must notify and provide proof to the tournament administration prior to the start of the tournament.
4.3. Using Alcohol or Drugs
The use of alcohol or illegal drugs, including tobacco and cannabis, during an official match is prohibited and will be punished.
No participants may be involved in any form of betting or gambling, associate with betters or gamblers, or provide anyone information that may assist betting or gambling, either directly or indirectly, for any Middle School Esports League matches or tournaments in general.
4.5. Match Fixing
Match fixing is defined as the act of arranging the outcome of a match prior to it being played or during its play. Examples of match-fixing include, but are not limited to:
- Intentionally Losing Matches
- Offering/Accepting Any Form of Payment to Influence the Outcome of a Match
- Negotiating or Deciding the Results of a Match Before, During, or After Completion
4.6. Unsportsmanlike Conduct
All insults occurring in connection with the Middle School Esports League will not be tolerated. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Profane Insults
- Slurs relating to Race, Ethnicity, Culture, Gender Identification, Game Presence, Religion, Political Affiliation, Military Service, Age, Sexual Orientation, Physical Disability, Mental Disability or Any Other Protected Category
- Offensive Behavior
- Targeted Attacks
- Sharing/Revealing Personal Information
- Directed Abuse/Harassment Against a Specific Person
The Middle School Esports League aims to provide a respectable environment for Esports while facilitating competition.
4.6.2. Inappropriate Language
All participants in Middle School Esports League or Generation Esports-sanctioned events are prohibited from using inappropriate language in all text and voice channels, regardless of context. Inappropriate language includes, but is not limited to:
- Excessive Profanity
- Pseudo-Profanity (i.e. replacing letters in profane words or phrases)
- Racial/Ethnic/Cultural Slurs
- Sexual Innuendos
- Drug/Alcohol References
Harassment of players, teams, team administrators, and MSEL staff is prohibited, both in-game and on official and unofficial channels/social media sites.
4.6.4 Public Accusations
Publicly accusing a player or team of violating the rules will not be tolerated. If you suspect another player, or team has committed a rule violation, please file a match dispute as soon as possible so MSEL staff can open an investigation.
4.6.5 Incorrect Match Results
Intentionally reporting incorrect match results will result in removal from MSEL Tournaments.
Any attempt to mislead or deceive other participants or members of Middle School Esports League administration will be penalized.
Any attempt to manipulate a match or outcome through threats or intimidation of other participants or members of Middle School Esports League administration will result in removal from MSEL Tournaments.
4.7. Knowledge of Rule Breaking
Disciplinary action will be taken against players who have knowledge of teammates or other participants violating the official tournament rules and do not report the violations to Middle School Esports League Administrators.
This includes but is not limited to having knowledge of:
- Abusing Exploits
- Using Prohibited Peripherals
- Using Prohibited Scripts/Binds
- Depiction/Coercion of another team or player
- Match Fixing
If you have knowledge of a teammate or other player violating the rules please submit a report here.
4.8. Tainted Accounts
During an official match, if a player’s account receives any form of game ban, the match will immediately conclude, and the player’s opponent will be awarded the win.
5. Participating Regions
The following regions are permitted to participate in all Middle School Esports League online events.
5.1. United States of America
All states and provinces of the United States of America are permitted to participate in Middle School Esports League online events.
All provinces of Canada are permitted to participate in Middle School Esports League online events.