The purpose of this article is to provide a sample fantasy football constitution which addresses common issues your league may face throughout a typical fantasy season. For those of you starting a fantasy football league, you can use this constitution as a template to start creating a new constitution. For those of you in existing leagues, you may find that some of the examples could improve your existing constitution. A fantasy constitution is a document which details the sanctioned guidelines and rules by which your fantasy league operates. Whenever there is a question regarding how the league should operate, or a dispute arises which needs to be settled, the constitution should be referenced. In most cases, a fantasy constitution starts out very simple and evolves over time as disputes arise and are resolved. Our sample constitution presents 9 Articles (i.e. rules) that should be relevant to all fantasy football leagues. The examples addressed were chosen because they are common issues that every league faces. You can read the entire constitution or jump to a specific article by clicking on the links below. In future installments we will analyze each sample article to discuss how you might alter it to suit the personality of your league. You can also download this sample constitution and use it as a template to build your own. It is available in both Word and Plain Text formats. Sample Fantasy Constitution.docx Sample Fantasy Constitution.txt Here we go... League Officers League Entry & Other Fees Prize Payout Structure Late Payments Playoff Configuration Draft Order Determination Trades Creating New Rules Roster Oversights Article I - League Officers Your league officers are available if you have any questions or are in need of assistance. If your question pertains to a feature provided by our hosting provider, please utilize their support resources before contacting a league officer. For league-specific issues, please contact the league commissioner first. If the league commissioner is unavailable, contact one of the co-commissioners. If you cannot contact a commissioner or co-commissioner, and your issue is time-sensitive (for instance, if you are requesting a roster modification because you don't have access to the Internet), please use the league message board to make your request. In this way, we can verify the time of your request and make your roster change retroactively if necessary. League Commissioner Frank Smith (111) 111-1111 email@example.com Co-commissioners If you are unable to reach the league commissioner, please contact one of the two league co-commissioners. John Davis (222) 222-2222 firstname.lastname@example.org Fred Johnson (333) 333-3333 email@example.com League Treasurer Please remit your league entry fees to the league treasurer. In the event that you are awarded a cash prize, it is your responsibility to provide the league treasurer with your address or details of an alternate method of payment. Alex Brown 1234 5th Street Somewhere, TX 12345 (333) 333-3333 firstname.lastname@example.org Further Analysis For further discussion, check out our follow-up article on these fantasy football league officers. Article II - League Entry & Other Fees The following fees will be collected yearly to finance league operations and prizes. Entry Fee: $150 Total Per Team. The league entry fee is comprised of a base $137.50 fee and a $12.50 league hosting fee. The league hosting fee is the $150 hosting charge divided by the 12 teams. Trophy Engraving & Shipping Fee: $25 It will be the responsibility of the last-placed team in the Loser playoff bracket to pay the engraving fee for the fantasy league championship trophy. If this owner won a weekly prize award during the said year, the engraving fee will be deducted from that amount and paid to the previous year’s champion to cover the fees. The previous year champion is then responsible for engraving the trophy and shipping it to the new league champion. Further Analysis Read further information regarding this topic, check out our article on creating and collecting fantasy league fees. Article III - Prize Payout Structure Our league awards cash prizes to the top 4 teams which reach the Championship playoff bracket. We also award a weekly cash prize to the team with the highest score during each week of the fantasy football regular season. Payout Structure 1st Place: $460.00 with 12 teams (27.88%) 2nd Place: $300.00 with 12 teams (18.18%) 3rd Place: $200.00 with 12 teams (12.12%) 4th Place: $130.00 with 12 teams (7.88%) Weekly Prizes $40.00 per week, 14 weeks (33.94%) The dollar amounts above shall be considered the actual payout amounts pending verification of payment from all owners. In addition to the total cash payout for each prize, the exact percentage of the total prize pot is indicated and will be considered if all entry fees are not collected. Further Analysis To learn more about this topic, read our article on ideas for awarding fantasy prizes. Article IV - Late Payments Any weekly prize winnings accrued by a team who hasn't paid their league entry fee (by the time the weekly prize is won) will be forfeited and added to the Champion's prize payout. If a team has not paid their entry fee by the time the first playoff game is played, they will be expelled immediately. The commissioner has no discretion for providing a grace period and neither does the league. The commissioner will take over managing the delinquent team for the purposes of the championship/loser brackets. Article V - Playoff Configuration The league will implement a 4-team Championship playoff system. The top 4 teams will be determined first by win/loss record and total points will be used as a tie-breaker if necessary. The Championship playoffs start on week 15 of the NFL regular season and last 2 weeks. This league will also implement an 8-team Loser playoff bracket. Unlike the Championship bracket, the Loser bracket will conclude the last week of the NFL season, week 17. The final standings of the Loser bracket will determine the top 8 draft positions in the following year’s fantasy draft. Article VI - Draft Order Determination Each year, the draft position for each fantasy team will be determined based on Championship/Loser playoff results from the previous year: Loser Bracket 1st Place Finish: 1st Draft Position 2nd Place Finish: 2nd Draft Position 3rd Place Finish: 3rd Draft Position 4th Place Finish: 4th Draft Position 5th Place Finish: 5th Draft Position 6th Place Finish: 6th Draft Position 7th Place Finish: 7th Draft Position 8th Place Finish: 8th Draft Position Championship Bracket 1st Place Finish (Champion): 9th Draft Position 2nd Place Finish: 10th Draft Position 3rd Place Finish: 11th Draft Position 4th Place Finish: 12th Draft Position Any new teams which join the league will be slotted in the last (12th) draft position and existing owner positions will be adjusted accordingly. Article VII - Trades For a trade to be granted in a given week, it must be accepted THROUGH OUR HOSTING SERVICE no later than 24 hours before gametime. This gives all teams 24 hours to review the trade before the games begin (whether on Thursday, Saturday on Sunday). Any trades that are submitted through the website within 24 hours of gametime will be voided and will have to be re-submitted and accepted after the MNF game to be reconsidered. Players who have already played on a given week cannot be traded until the following week. Once accepted through the hosting service, a trade cannot be withdrawn by one party due to player injury, suspension, or any other unforeseen circumstance. The only way a trade can be voided is if it is withdrawn by both parties before the trade is granted. During the 24 hour trade acceptance period, all owners (except those involved in the trade) will be given the opportunity to veto the trade. However, those owners who choose to veto the trade must make a valid case to the commissioner for why the trade should not be granted. There are only 2 valid reasons which a trade can be vetoed: If the players involved in the trade are not of comparable value. Value must take into consideration the positions involved (QB, RB, WR, etc) and the specific needs of each team. If both teams aren't improved by the trade. If a plurality of the valid votes cast are against the trade (see our discussion on majority vs plurality), the trade will not be granted. A tie will result in the trade being granted. Article VIII - New Rule Creation When a league dispute arises which has not been addressed in the league constitution, a discussion will ensue on possible resolutions. Following the discussion period, the commissioner will create an online poll so that owners can vote on an appropriate course of action. The result of the poll will apply immediately and the resulting ruling will be appended to the existing constitution for future reference. All poll outcomes will be determined based on a plurality and in the case of a tie the commissioner will use his infinite wisdom to cast the deciding vote. When possible polls will run for 3 days unless it is closer to game day, in which case the voting time will be shortened accordingly. Article IX- Roster Oversights If an owner has a roster slot open (either due to bye week or simple oversight), but has a backup player (not on bye, or OUT) available on their bench, then the Commissioner must insert the available player in the open roster slot. If two eligible bench players exist then the player with the highest average projected point output for that week should be inserted The commissioner will not make a substitution for a player who is OUT, regardless of when they were declared out, UNLESS the roster is illegal, in which case substitutions must be made. Team owners are allowed to have one open roster slot on their team during any given week, assuming that they make it known to the league that they are purposefully leaving that roster spot open. If one roster slot is open then the team owner will receive 0 points for that single position. No team owner may have more than one open slot on their roster during a given week. If more than one position is left open on a roster, and there are no viable substitutes to fill in for those players, then the owners team will receive 0 pts. for the entire week and a loss. Conclusion This concludes our sample fantasy football constitution. Please feel free to use this constitution as the basis for your own league. If your league constitution differs from ours, or you have ideas on how to improve it, tell us about it in the comments below.