Just wanted your thoughts on something. I was out with some friends the other night and we were talking about the whole CRUSH thing with them buying a spot. One of them made a point, we rag on them for buying a spot, but didn't HEAT do that?
The short answer is well yeah, kinda. (But you know I don't do short answers.) I doubt any cash changed hands in either situation but then we aren't necessarily talking about actually buying a spot. While it is literally possible, I suppose, to "buy a spot" in the NPPL and of course all (theoretically) of the original NPPL 3.0 teams bought their way in it's more than that. As I understand "buying a spot" it's become more like shorthand for didn't earn it or don't deserve it. In both examples given in the question teams were (are being) formed for the express purpose of competing at the pro level--and that's where the similarities end. The PSP took the Heat on because they were deemed to be a competitive prospect given they had established pro players, supporting organization and the independent resources capable of maintaining a team. And there was an opening. [Those aren't the only criteria the PSP consider but were the relevant ones in Heat's case.] The NPPL is operating from a different perspective and different priorities. Clearly they want to maintain a 16 team pro bracket. They also, unlike the PSP, need to establish some local, grassroots support for the NPPL and it appears they have begun using their prospective new pro teams (and Avalanche) to help do that. [Frank "moved" 'Lanche to the east coast and tied the team into an established local scene and began developing divisional teams.] In my estimation the new NPPL pro teams are expected to serve a similar function. And if the teams and league last another ten years it won't matter because established teams will eventually begin to draw in the talent. At least that's one way to look at it.
As a sidebar it is, I think, interesting to note the nearly universal pejorative connotation of "buying a spot." Despite the fact the NPPL 3.0 has always allowed for that possibility and there have been a few cases like Heat in the PSP. I say nearly universal because there are some, mostly Pre-Skoolers, who don't seem bothered at all. To many working your way up through the divisions is the way to earn a spot and buying a spot intentionally skips all that leaving the perception those teams are illegitimate. So it's little wonder that most competitive ballers object without even thinking about it--or how often it happens. It also speaks to the need for a consistent, regulated mechanism for advancing teams to the pro level that legitimizes the new guy and protects the competitive integrity of the pro division. (You knew I was gonna take at least a short turn on the old soapbox, didn't you? Well, you do now.)