My Experience Working with EUCS Team Nerv
As some of you may know, I spent the last several weeks helping Team Nerv, a startup team in the EU Challenger Series. I was glad to be working remotely and decompressing from quite the hectic first half of 2016. During my month-long time with the team however, I noticed some familiar negative trends with Ownership.
Initially I was introduced to the Team Nerv owner Scott on June 8th, 2016. I had a call with him that evening and explained my situation to him. To summarize the events of this call:
1) I explained that this was not my long-term goal to stick around, however if things went well I would definitely consider doing so.
2) If I received any LCS related offers or trials, I would want to consider them and pursue them if possible
3) I requested two payments: A signing bonus of 2500 Euro, and 2500 Euro upon the completion of the 2016 EUCS Summer Split on July 5th. Additionally, I requested an additional 2500 Euro if the team managed to qualify for playoffs.
Scott agreed to my terms and begun to have his lawyers draw up a contract. Due to the time it was taking to get a contract done, Scott paid me my 1st bonus in two separate payments on June 18th and 19th. At this point, we MUTUALLY agreed to not have a contract drawn since there were only 2 weeks left in the split. I was thrilled to be paid on-time and very grateful for this. However things took a turn for the odd several days ago.
On Sunday June 26th, I received a trial from an LCS team and informed Scott I would be leaving immediately. I told him that due to the sudden news, I would not request my 2nd payment of 2500 Euro on July 5th and thanked him for being a great owner. I also had spoken to him and said we could leave the door open for me to return in the future, even this upcoming off-season.
I finished up my trial and returned home yesterday, July 1st. I got into a call with Scott and it appeared we were willing to pick things back up for this upcoming off-season. During my time with Nerv, Scott had said he wanted to avoid bottom 2 and build a strong team for next split. I first helped him replace 3 players and had given him 3 proposals on off-season moves that could be made that were fiscally responsible. We re-discussed these plans and all seemed well. We had a solid plan in place and were going to begin after the finish of EUCS this upcoming week. However, less than an hour ago everything changed dramatically.
I was taken into a call with Scott and one of the current Nerv coaches, where I was informed that our previous plans were to be scrapped and that there was a "high possibility" that I would not be needed as the Head Coach. He voiced concerns over me being gone for 3 days to my LCS tryout, and stated that he felt the replacement coaches were capable of doing a fine job and if that was the case, he would rather have two of them since they cost less. The players I had suggested to import were ready to sign, some needing to know quickly so they were having this call to "inform me of this potential scenario so we do not just take one of these players."
Let me be clear. It is within their right to do this. I was a little frustrated that they had decided to use my roster plans and then use the call to try and lay the groundwork to tell me "sorry" after the finish of the EUCS split. As any human, I got a little heated and left the call shortly after to avoid any further verbal jousting. I felt that once both parties had the chance to calm down, we would be able to get into a new call where I could apologize for getting worked up, and we could end the relationship on good terms.
Immediately after the call ended, Scott sent me this message:
First and foremost, the initial 2500 euro was a bonus given to me 2 weeks ago. I had already said that I would not want my 2nd payment on July 5th after leaving for my LCS trial, so this rubbed me the wrong way. He then went to paypal and made a dispute on the payment as you can see here:
The reason it is only 1680 Euro is that was the 2nd payment of my initial bonus that was sent on June 19th
At this point I was extremely heated and got slightly aggressive, advising against a "pissing contest" of sorts, where he then responded with:
Just more fuel onto the fire. I took a deep breath, did my best to write a final educated response and then the conversation ended. I admit there is fault on both ends, as I perhaps could have handled the call better instead of getting upset and saying rude things. However I did my best to walk away and was brought back into the fire two times by Scott. In the future I'll do my best to continue to improve at handling these sorts of conflict.
The players were awesome. Although the roster went through some significant changes, every player was a blast to work with. They all worked hard, participated in VOD reviews and made great strides as players and as a team. I wish them all nothing but future success.
I'm sure I missed minor details. For example, I was late for scrims 3-4 times due to personal reasons / scheduling miscommunication. Another detail could be that I offered to come back to finish out the EUCS Summer Split for $500 less euro on my 2nd payment. I'm sure I am missing a few.
As the years have gone by, I have done my best to try and avoid drama but recently I find myself popping up more often than I would like. I want nothing more than to coach a team that I truly believe in for a good organization. Clearly, that is harder than I expected.
I will commend Team Nerv and Scott for giving me my first payment on time as promised. That was something I do value.
To conclude. Things I have learned from 2016 so far:
- Don't sign a contract to a startup org so that in case they do things like this, you can show people their true character
- Don't join startup orgs in EU
Hopefully this is the last time I need to make this type of post. I seem to be joining or helping a lot of sketchy organizations lately. Hopefully this is the end. I do not want drama. I just want people to know the truth. I'm sure that Team Nerv will have their own post with their own side of the story and their own accusations, however the fact of the matter will remain: I was paid one time for 2500 euro and they are trying to scam me out of that bonus.
Thank you all and see you in the Late Game.
- Kublai "Kubz" Barlas