Appointing a Fantasy Football Commissioner

by Brad Perniciaro
Fantasy Football Commissioner
Image courtesy of Vicious Bits on Flickr

Introduction

In Part 3 of this article series on how to start a fantasy football league we discussed how to recruit responsible fantasy football owners for your fantasy football league. In this article we'll provide guidelines for choosing a fantasy football commissioner. All owners in a fantasy football league should have a say in how the league operates, but one individual needs the authorization to rule at the highest-level throughout the fantasy season.

Responsibilities

Every fantasy football league needs a commissioner to handle the day-to-day operation of the league. Specific responsibilities vary from league to league, but the commissioner is generally responsible for these tasks:

  1. League promotion and event organization
  2. Administer the league website
  3. Rule on league disputes that may arise, using the league constitution as a guide
    • Oversee league votes for rule changes
    • Oversee trade vetoes
    • Act as the swing vote during league rule enactments (if constitution permits)
  4. Collect league dues

Depending on how eager your owners are to contribute, you may choose to divide the preceding responsibilities among several owners.  For instance, it is sometimes advantageous to assign fee-collecting duties to a league treasurer so the commissioner can focus on other league affairs.

Election vs Appointment

The role of the commissioner is critical to the success of your league, so the person filling this role should be responsible and well-versed in the specifics of fantasy football. The following sections delve into options for filling the commissioner role in your league.

Election

If more than one league member are vying for the commissioner post, the best resolution is to hold an election.  Be sure to spell out the election guidelines in your fantasy league constitution so that everyone understands the process.  If your commissioners sometimes turn into dictators, you may also want to set term limits as well.

Self-Imposed Rule

If you start your own fantasy football league, then it may make sense for you to act as your own commissioner each and every year. I have run a league since 2002 and no one knows the league better than me. Hence, it is much easier for me to run the league myself than it is for someone else to take the reigns. If you have the time, it could be advantageous to simply be the all-time commissioner. Assuming you run a fair and even-handed league, no one should object.

Rotation of Duties

If your league was started as a group with some other owners, it may be a good idea to rotate commissioner duties. By rotating commissioners, each owner gets a taste of the responsibility and will subsequently become more familiar with league operation. This system also allows each owner some time off after they have served their time as commissioner. Some owners have no interest in being a commissioner (or aren’t qualified for the position) and that is to be expected, but if you can get a rotation of 4 to 5 owners then that should be sufficient.

Assistant Commissioners

Even the most responsible commissioner in the world has a life outside of fantasy football. Because of this, it’s advantageous to appoint one league member as the assistant commissioner each year. The assistant commissioner would take over commissioner duties should the primary commissioner be unavailable for any reason. For instance, on game day an owner may not have access to a computer and need the commissioner to make a roster change for him before the noon games begin. If the primary commissioner is not available, the assistant commissioner could be contacted to make the necessary change.  The creation of an assistant commissioner post is a simple way to make your league more sound and enjoyable for everyone.

Conclusion

In this article we discussed methods for choosing a commissioner for your fantasy football league.  In the next installment of this article series, we discuss the various ways to establish fantasy football league fees. You'll probably have to generate some cash to pay for things such as league hosting and awarding yearly and weekly prizes.  We'll cover popular fee structures you can use to create league revenue.

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