TSL Player Eligibility and Nongminzerg
Everyone recognizes the disadvantage of living in a location that does not have a professional StarCraft scene. There is a lack of support for the progamer career -- financially, socially, and competitively. The TSL helps, even if just a little, to bridge that inequality. One of the TSL's major goals has been to promote and enhance the non-professional or "foreigner" scene. That is why we did not allow any professional players to play in the first TSL. Additional lag problems and identity enforcement issues made it much easier for us to simply ban certain countries' IP address from participating. We granted a special exception for several players who currently resided in a location with a proscene or had received professional training in the past -- IdrA, Legionnaire, Nazgul, and Rekrul.
The reasoning behind allowing these players to play was not based on their level of training, or the color of their skin. We simply did not want to stop someone from moving to Korea to pursue his dream of becoming a professional StarCraft player. A rule that banned any of these players from the TSL would undoubtedly harm him and all amateur StarCraft players greatly, and they already faced enough challenges on their road to becoming a professional gamer. Excluding these players would hurt the foreign scene and is the opposite of what we want to accomplish with the TSL.
Thus, we have created this rule for TSL Player Eligibility:
- A player is eligible to play in the TSL if:
- He does not have connection lag that would significantly impact quality of play; AND EITHER:
- He grew up in a location without a professional StarCraft scene; OR
- He currently resides in a location without a professional StarCraft scene AND is not affiliated with a professional StarCraft team
We do not want to exclude a Korean player who grew up outside their respective countries, as they faced the same disadvantages as anyone else outside Korea. We also do not want to allow a professional or semi-professional player from simply moving outside their country of origin for the duration of the TSL.
This brings us to the very difficult issue of Nongminzerg. Nongmin was born in Korea and moved to the United States for high school. While Nongmin was offered KTF training matches, he was never officially affiliated with any professional team. When Nongmin first asked us if he could play in the TSL, we replied that he would be allowed to play, provided he resided inside the United States. Nongmin informed us that he would be moving back to Korea for the duration of the TSL, possibly until the summer of 2010 -- which would make him ineligible to play, unless we grant him a special exception.
When determining whether to grant an exception, we not only look at whether the player benefitted from growing up in a location without a professional StarCraft scene, but also whether the player has a long history of being a part of and contributing to the "foreigner" community. This is the case with every player who was granted an exception.
Nongmin has only joined the foreigner community very recently. He has not participated in any foreigner tournaments, leagues, or showmatches. While his livestream is a valuable and appreciated resource, one cannot reasonably argue that Nongmin is as much a part of the foreigner community as the other players who were granted an exception previously. Ideally, Nongmin does not move to Korea and he can play in the TSL. But as long as he is in Korea, he cannot participate for the reasons outlined above.
A word from Nongmin himself:
I really thank you to those who wished me to play. It is just unlucky and bad timing that I go to Korea during TSL. I am sad I cannot play but I understand and will follow the decision.
Nongmin has tentatively agreed to play in a Liquibition match against a top TSL player after the PokerStrategy.com TSL concludes.
This was one of the hardest decisions we have ever had to make. We genuinely like Nongmin -- he is a great guy and many of our staff happily watch his stream. We wish he could play, and it is very unfortunate that his trip back to Korea coincided with the TSL. We hope he continues to be a part of our community, and hopefully he will be able to play in TSL3.