Having a written constitution is a critical piece to running a successful fantasy football league, especially any league where owners are putting up their own money. While this probably seems like overkill to some people, you can be assured that if you play in a league long enough, something always comes up that tests the rules of the league as a whole. A well written constitution can save you life in combat, or at least provide objective guidance toward an overall resolution. This article will go over much of the process, and provide suggestions on how to build your league constitution as painlessly as possible.
Some folks will cringe at having to write up the league rules, while others might view it as an opportunity to create a 42-page treatise detailing out every possible situation. While detail is important, it's also important to focus more on the overall intent and less on the specific language. Try not to spend too much time finding the exact wording for every paragraph. Think hard about what you are trying to say and then just say it. This document won't be passed out in a court of law, and it won't be proof-read by your eighth-grade English teacher.
Circulation is important. While you don't need to have people sign a waiver, it's important that everyone reads the constitution and has easy access to it. If you can, circulate a copy of it before draft night and encourage people to have read it before things start. If there are any changes from year to year, create a quick summary sheet and reference the appropriate articles that have changed. This way guys can read the summary, and if they want the full details, they can open up the constitution. If your league software has a section for you to cut and past information, consider posting this information there as well. Anything that makes it easy for folks to read and see the rules is a good thing.
Numbered sections and sub-sections are a good idea and will make it easy to find information if there is a question. There is no magic formula to doing this, but more sections are usually better. In the sample below, we'll highlight some key main sections and add in a basic numbering structure to make finding things easy. Avoid page or year references if possible as those can change as rules are added or dropped from year to year. A table of contents can also help if your constitution is long.
Below you will find a sample constitution with comments on every section. The numbering and sections are only a suggestion. Feel free to change or modify any of this to fit your own league.
[1.0 LEAGUE OVERVIEW]
Welcome to GFFL, the Generic Fantasy Football League. This is a 12-team league that was formed in 2013 by a group of owners who all live in South Park, Colorado. This league is considered a money league, and all owners are expected to pay their league fee before the draft begins. This league is designed to be a competition between owners, but it not a cut-throat league where anything goes. The rules described below are designed to act a a guideline for overall league play, and any disputes will be handled by the executive committee of the league. Please remember that the overall goal of this league is to have fun and enjoy the game of football. If you have any question or concerns, please do not hesitate to ask.
Comments: Simple and to the point. It lets folks know what the league is all about, and where you got your start. If you have a unique name to your league or your divisions, you should detail that out here as well. New owners coming into the league may not understand all of the references and comments that people make and a good league overview is a nice 'welcome to the league'.
[1.1 Executive Committee]