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This tutorial includes all the information you need to start running a college program in one of DEL's college leagues. You will be led through each stage of the season, and told what you need to be doing at each time. The mindset of running a college team must be one of constantly considering both the present and the future. Obviously we all like to win championships now. But you can't bring in veteran free agents in college the way you can in the pros, so you must always be developing your younger players - your starters in seasons to come. There is another key different between college and pro leagues - in the pros, a superstar can keep your team good for 8 or more seasons; in college a single player's career lasts 4 seasons at most, and they probably won't be huge impact players until their sophomore or junior seasons.|
Before going down to the details, it is important to remember two hard rules. First is that your team's roster size may never exceed 35 in baseball and hockey, 65 in football, or 18 in basketball. This means that if you are at the limit during recruiting and want some more players, then you will have to first make cuts. The second rule is that once walk-ons have been run, you will not be allowed to make any cuts or position changes that would give you an illegal roster.
Following is a step-through a sample season for a college league. All college leagues follow similar schedules, with exceptions noted below.
Each team has a roster page that shows various information about the team: roster size, number of available recruiting points and scholarships, NCAA standing, ranking, and whether or not autocoach and autogm have been set. All player stats and abilities are shown (explanations may be found for the information contained here: baseball, basketball, and football), and the team's schedule is shown. As noted below, a list of players demanding scholarships or visiting the school will be listed at various times of the season.
The off-week comes in the week between the end of one season and the beginning of the next. There are three important things that you have to take care of during this time:
Initialization occurs on the first Monday of the season. At this time, schedules are generated for the teams, old players graduate, some underclassmen leave early for the pros, and new recruits are generated. At this time, walk-ons are added to each team. This will generally leave your roster at maximum capacity, so you will need to cut players if you wish to recruit. Your first set of invitations must be submitted before Friday's invitation processing.
Recruiting is where you either make or break your future, as this is the only time of the season in which you can lure players to your college. Most DEL coaches feel that the first round of recruiting (invites run Friday, signings run Monday) is the most important part of the season for this reason, so the importance of submitting orders on time cannot be overemphasized. Although a bad year of recruiting may not have immediate impact, consistently missing out on the first recruiting round will decimate your team down the line. If you are new, you may want to read the recruiting tips page to help develop a strategy. You may also change player positions without penalty during the recruiting period, although you are required to carry a legal roster at all times, such that you could field a team with no more recruiting.
At the end of recruiting comes training camps. At this time, some of your players will improve in ability (although usually not tremendously as they also improve when they age and throughout the season). You may also find abilities of your recruits and walk-ons to improve or diminish significantly when training camps are run - an effect of the uncertainty of guessing how good a college player that a high school player will be.
Training camps signal the start of the season - after training camps, the next thing that comes is your first game. Another key change happens after training camps, in that position changes carry a penalty. It takes a player a few games to learn a new position if moved after training, so if you know that you want to make certain changes, you are best advised to make them prior to training camps.
Before the first game (and before other important games or whenever you want to try something new), you should send in your coaching settings for your team. This selects a number of things, from which players start to what strategies your teams will use. A very important part of coaching orders is the assignment of redshirt status to eligible underclassmen. This must be done before your first regular-season game, and prevents the player from being used. You will also want to check on players' demands for playing time; some players will transfer if they are not played enough.
Coaching orders can be quite complex, so a new coach may want to spend some time reviewing the options. Information for each sport can be found: baseball, basketball, and football). There is also an autotemplate command that you can use to have the computer generate coaching orders for you.
You can also run scrimmages in any college sport, which gives you the opportunity to experiment with various combinations of players and different coaching strategies. As opposed to pro leagues, college leagues may begin scrimmaging immediately after the season initialization. Note that players are not developed as a result of offseason scrimmages (those coming before training camps); these scrimmages are only useful for evaluating players and game plans.
After the season is well underway, a weekly coaches poll will be taken in which you can vote for the top 10 or 15 teams in your league. Ballots are e-mailed on Fridays and the votes tallied Mondays.
Each sport has the appropriate postseason. Basketball, baseball, and hockey have conference tournaments, followed by the league tournament. Football has conference championship games for the split conferences (Big 12, SEC, and MAC), followed by bowl games.
The all-American team is announced at the end of the season. Shortly before that time, you will be sent a ballot and votes will be tallied and results mailed out. In order to make the vote as fair as possible, a coach's vote for his own players does not count. All-American votes are sent with the "All-American Votes" button in your team control menu.
End of Season
The end of the season is not much of a deadline, although you should be thinking about your schedule for next season at this time. Players get a year older at this time, and may demand scholarships to remain in school. Players making demands will be shown on your roster.