TLDR: The place of Team Rival (runnerup in the SWC) in the SPL was in dispute. They are confirmed to be back again.

Feel free to take whatever you hear beyond that, including community rumors or even the statement below, with a healthy dose of skepticism.

Quote Originally Posted by SMITE Esports
In light of some recent online posts about the organizations we’ve announced as participants in Season 5 of the SMITE Pro League, we here at the Hi-Rez Studios Esports department wanted to provide an update with respect to a couple of the prospective teams for SPL Season 5.

Before getting to that, we want to thank Team Rival for their understanding during this entire process and their ability to be professional and timely in working with us on all matters. While Team Rival was not originally part of our Season 5 lineup, this was in no way a negative reflection on their many contributions to the SMITE community and its pro scene.

While we can’t detail the exact processes and details for how we selected our partner organizations, we can say that a number of factors were at play in our decisions. In making these choices, we weren’t aiming for organizations that were bigger or better, but rather trying to find partners who fit overall with our newfound direction for the league.

We are still committed to that direction, and we feel all of our partners will help us meet the goals we are trying to accomplish.

With that said, we want to address the statements online regarding Mythic Gaming’s correspondence with players from Team Rival. First, there was plenty of written and verbal communication between Hi-Rez and our prospective organizations regarding how new partners should proceed in finding rosters for the upcoming season. No negotiations were to be made prior to the opening of the free agency period of January 8, 2018.

However, it has come to our attention that discussions did take place between Mythic and a few of the players on Team Rival’s roster. Reaching out to players outside of the designated free agency period is a serious matter in the SPL (and, for that matter, in other esports or traditional sport leagues). We have investigated the matter in order to ensure that any needed action was taken accordingly in a way that is fair and agreeable to all.

After further discussions with those involved, it’s been decided that Mythic will no longer be a part of Season 5.

Because this decision leaves an open slot in the European SMITE Pro League for Season 5, Hi-Rez Studios will be inviting Team Rival to partner with us in the upcoming season.

As always, our first duty is to those partners, players, and fans who are the lifeblood of SMITE esports — and we believed this was the best course of action to take for both Team Rival and Mythic Gaming, as well as the players who will be looking for spots in Season 5 of the SMITE Pro League.

Stay tuned here and on Twitter (@SmitePro) for more information regarding the organizations who will be participating in Season 5, and other news regarding the next season of the SMITE Pro League.