Correct, the starting point for any new league would be the initial player auction in the spring. It usually takes about 8 hours, often spread over two nights, and is a blast, especially your first one.
This 101 thread is setup for anyone in the @community getting ready to play their very first Ottoneu season (2017), and I have a feeling there will be a lot of interest in beginner leagues, so we've set this up to help you guys network to form your own leagues and ask any questions you have about the game as you learn your way through it.
Next step for you would be to get to know some other beginners and start planning to create a league. Someone will need to be a commissioner but we can walk anyone through that (pretty easy).