To give a little backstory, i'm a few years into my FM 2016 save with Deportivo La Coruna and really enjoying it, however one of my only complaints so far is that my B Team (Deportivo B) is languishing in the fourth tier of Spanish football (Spanish Third Division Group 1 as the game calls it) which happens to be the highest of the non-playable Spanish leagues in FM 2016. As a non-playable league, it does not generate any fixtures, which means any young players i assign to this team end up stagnating as they gain essentially no experience outside of the friendly matches i schedule for them throughout the season, a task i find quite tedious.
For those of you who are unfamiliar, Spain does not have a separate Reserves league and instead utilizes a system of B Teams that actually play within the same football pyramid as their parent clubs. The only rule i am aware of is that a B team and their parent club cannot play in the same division, which means the B teams of Real Madrid/Barcelona for example are limited to playing in Liga Adelante (the second tier) at best, they can still win Liga Adelante but promotion will be granted to the next highest finishing non B team instead.
Now, going back to Deportivo B, i feel it is worth mentioning that the fourth tier in Spain is quite expansive, there are 18 divisions containing ~360 teams (Spanish Third Division Groups 1-18) that vie for promotion to Segunda B (the third tier, which is the currently the lowest playable tier in the game without using an expanded database, which i am not). In other words, if the game just arbitrarily picks which teams get promoted from these non-playable divisions each season, i would expect to wait quite a while to see Deportivo B get promoted, in fact it would be fairly unlikely to happen at all without me influencing the outcome in some way, which is exactly what i set out to do.
To my knowledge promotion of teams from non-playable leagues is determined primarily by their reputation, as the game does not actually simulate fixtures for these hidden leagues. Therefore the quality of players on the team for example should not make a difference in determining whether or not they get promoted (even though my Deportivo B squad is significantly stronger than any of these Tercera division teams).
The B teams of the big Spanish clubs that play in these lower tiers already have comparatively high reputations, which means they should be one of the favourites for promotion by default, however after saving and re-loading at the season reset date a great deal of times, i was unable to get Deportivo B promoted into Seguna B.
No big deal i thought, i went into the in-game editor and changed the reputation of Deportivo B to 10000, figuring that would ensure promotion and that i could just restore it to the default value of 3000 afterwards. Another hour of re-loading at the season reset date later and still no dice, however this time i was keeping track of which teams actually were getting promoted each time i reset it. I noticed a trend, it was indeed the higher reputation teams that were getting promoted each time, the teams in this tier have reputations ranging from 1-3000 (with the B teams at the higher end of that) and the promoted teams almost always had 2000+ reputation, but it was NEVER any of the B teams that got promoted. It would seemingly only promote independent teams, even if their reputation was lower than that of the B teams they were theoretically competing against.
I figured perhaps the game weights the independent teams more favourably than the B teams when determining who gets promoted, so what did i do? I painstakingly went through all of the independent teams in this tier with over 1000 reputation and manually set their reputation to 1, leaving the B teams with their usual 2000-3000 reputation and setting Deportivo B at 10000 once again. What happened? None of these teams with 1 reputation got promoted, but instead of promoting any of the B teams (which at this point were by far the highest reputation teams in this tier) it just promoted the highest reputation teams remaining from the pool of teams i hadn't altered, as long as they were independent football clubs.
At this point i was convinced this next attempt wouldn't work, but i did it anyway. I altered every single non-B team in this tier to have 1 reputation (which took ages) and once again did a bunch of re-loading at the season reset date. At this point it just became totally random, it would still never promote B teams, but it seemed to weight all of the other teams completely equally. Reputation clearly does play a part in this process, as before i started tampering with the reputations of the teams, it would only ever choose to promote the two/three teams with the highest reputations in each division, providing they were independent teams. But there is clearly something else at work inhibiting the B teams from being promoted, and i have no idea what it is or how to get around it.
I apologize for the wall of text, but i was wondering if anyone knows of a work around for this problem. Is it simply a case of them hard coding this teams to never get promoted regardless of reputation? There's definitely no rule preventing it from happening, as many of the bigger clubs have B teams in the playable leagues all the way up to Liga Adelante. It's evident from my testing that you can manipulate which teams get promoted via altering reputations, but it seemingly only works on independent clubs, not those that are a B/reserve team of a bigger club, i figure there must be something causing it to behave that way.