SCHEDULES CUSTOMIZED (to when, where, how many) and COMPETITELY BALANCED (to who)!
To make League participation attractive to a wide range of teams, the League has since its inception, provided member teams with schedules customized to their availability and preferences as well as the availability of their home field(s). In addition to customizing schedules to when, where and how many, since the introduction of competition levels in 2002, ENYTB also has customized schedules by who i.e., the competition level of its opponents. ENYTB continues to improve and refine its methodology for competitively balancing team schedules. Today, each team is scheduled according to its competitive preferences. When specifying its team availability and other playing preferences, teams now indicate their competitive preferences as well. Each team determines how many games it plays outside its own level e.g., a Hi Silver team has the option of playing high silver opponents only or mixing in games with either Gold or LoSilver teams, or both. Similarly, Gold teams can play Gold teams only or mix in as many HiSilver opponents as it wishes. Gold teams and LoSilver teams are not scheduled to play each other except by special request by both teams.
Collecting Scheduling Inputs From Clubs/Teams
During the latter half of the registration period, usually February thru March, the League collects the scheduling inputs from each club and team, necessary to providing each team with a customized schedule.
Team Availability.....Each team has its own online calendar (Registration > Team Availability) to specify not only its play dates but the time intervals it is available to play on each of its play dates.
NOTE:The team availability calendar includes a special scheduling function for specifying additional team availability factors on Opening Weekend to help ensure your team plays as many games as it wishes that weekend.
The league also attempts to accommodate team preferences for other factors throughout the season such as: doubleheaders, travel distances, either/or limits on weekday play, consecutive day limits and total games per week.
Field Availability.....To schedule home games, the team availability schedules just described are used in conjunction with field availability schedules. Field availability is represented by date and time interval on a separate website calendar, similar to team availability (Registration > Field Availability).
Each club can be attached to any number of home fields;
Each of its home fields can have any number of mutually exclusive (no overlapping times) field schedules;
Teams can be attached to any number of field schedules and, hence, home fields.
This is an extremely robust field availability model i.e., it is capable of representing virtually any home field situation, including: two clubs sharing a common field, each with their own times (common situation of 3rd party rentals); multiple teams sharing commonly from pooled time on one or more home fields (common for clubs with more than one team); one club's team or team's sharing time on another club's home field(s); a single club with multiple teams reserving a subset of time on one or more fields for one or more of its teams (manager may have a job requiring his team to play at home on Wednesday nights), etc. RML (the website developer) is working on extending this capability to including linking teams to field schedules on different priority levels. This would allow field time scheduled to priority one users to be scheduled to teams with lower priority. In the example above, once the team with exclusive use (only priority one user) of Wednesday night field time has been fully scheduled, unused field time could be scheduled to the club's other teams (priority two).
RML Scheduling Software
RML has developed proprietary scheduling software that can be used in conjunction with the scheduling inputs and calendars defined above to develop team schedules customized to all of the constraints identified above.
NOTE: Members have a similar capability for finding competitively matched opponents for additional play throughout the season (TOOLS > PICK-UP GAMES). PICK-UP GAMES can be used in different modes as well. For example, it can be used to find all possible make-up dates with any other team, based on both teams' availabilities, their field availabilities and their current game schedules. This is useful when attempting to reschedule postponed games. For more info on Pick-Up Games, go HERE.
Once all data have been collected and entered to the website, the League Scheduler uses RML's proprietary scheduling software to custom schedule all league teams. This is not a push a button and your done type task. Teams are scheduled one at a time, layer by layer. The schedule is created in "layers" e.g., all teams, regardless of age, with "use or lose" home field dates/times may be given highest priority = Layer 1. Then, maybe weekend games for 14U Gold teams located 90 miles or more away from Albany would be next highest priority = Layer 2. A few layers later, weekend games for all teams with non-FLEX games might be scheduled. Great care must be taken in defining the layer and selecting the order that each layer will be solved. When done appropriately, layering finds suitable match-ups for those teams with the fewest scheduling alternatives first. Layering also allows you to exhaust all weekday match-ups with nearby opponents and weekend match-ups with far away opponents before scheduling weekday games with far away opponents (something to be avoided as much as possible).
As each layer is exhausted, the process moves to the next defined layer and begins anew. Once a team is fully scheduled, it is removed from further analysis. In this manner, the League Scheduler drafts a tentative schedule for the entire league while satisfying all of the scheduling constraints enumerated herein. This process could take several weeks to complete for a league of 200 teams with lots of constraints e.g., ENYTB. And that is AFTER all scheduling inputs have been collected. The ENYTB draft schedule should be completed no later than May 15th each year. When available, each team's schedule is posted online in its home area of the website (Main > Team Home > Schedule].