Forming a junior roller derby league can be a daunting task. There are several things to consider when forming a new league. From what type of business structure you will have to what venue locations are appropriate for sanctioned game play. All of these things must be considered to find success moving forward. The following are a set of resources designed to assist you in achieving your goal of starting and continuing a successful league business in your area.
You will need to form your league as a business or organization, unless your league is organized within the incorporation status of an adult league or another "parent" organization. Each state has its own incorporation offerings. The JRDA does not require your league to be organized in any specific way. Your league may be organized as a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a corporation, a LLC, or a not-for-profit corporation/LLC. Whether or not your league will need bylaws and other organizational documents will depend the type of organization you choose to incorporate as.
Please note that if you choose to organize as a nonprofit LLC or nonprofit corporation with your state and do not intend on applying for your own federal charitable designation (with the IRS) and instead intend on joining the JRDA’s umbrella charitable status, you must set your fiscal year to the same as the JRDA’s (September 1, 20xx to August 31, 20xx).
Below are the different business types and how they operate:
Sole Proprietorship: a type of enterprise owned and run by a single person. There is no legal distinction between the person and the business entity.
Partnership: an agreement where business partners cooperate to advance mutual interests. Like a sole proprietorship, there is no legal distinction between the partners and the partnership.
Limited Liability Company (LLC): a business structure that combines the pass through taxation of a sole proprietorship or partnership with the limited liability of a corporation.
Corporation: an organization (a group of people or a company) authorized by the state to act as a single entity. Corporations offer personal liability protection.
Nonprofit (Not-for-profit) Corporation: a legal entity formed and operating for a collective, public, or social benefit. As a corporation it offers personal liability protection. All income collected (minus expenses) must be turned over to organizations (including itself) lawfully recognized as legitimate charities.
Nonprofit LLC : Allows for an LLC to operate as a nonprofit. This option is not available in all 50 states. Your Secretary of State will be the best source of information in your state.
All of the entities above must have an EIN (Tax-ID). To obtain an EIN, you must request one from the IRS. For more information, and to apply for an EIN please visit the IRS website page "Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) Online"
All of the entities mentioned above are required to file taxes with the IRS annually. Sole proprietors, LLC’s, and for profit corporations are not exempt from paying taxes annually to the government. Partnerships are required to file an information return. Nonprofits must file a 990 (full form, EZ, or N e-postcard) annually with the IRS.
You may obtain your own designation from the IRS or become a subordinate league of the JRDA and use our designation through our group exemption process.
Please note that federal tax exempt designations do not exempt the organization from state and local taxes nor exempt them from following state and local rulings concerning lotteries, raffles, and other games of chance.
For more information on Charities and Nonprofits from the IRS, please visit the ISR website page "Charities and Nonprofits"
To be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3), and none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual. In addition, it may not be an action organization, i.e., it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.
If an organization wishes to become a federal subordinate non-profit entity under the JRDA’s group tax exemption, the league must certify that their organization:
a.) Is affiliated with the JUNIOR ROLLER DERBY ASSOCIATION, (Corp.);
b.) Is subject to the general supervision and control of the JUNIOR ROLLER DERBY ASSOCIATION, (Corp.); c.) Is eligible to qualify for exemption under the same paragraph of section 501(c), though not necessarily the same paragraph under which the JUNIOR ROLLER DERBY ASSOCIATION, (Corp.), is exempt;
d.) Is not a private foundation;
e.) Is on the same accounting period as the JUNIOR ROLLER DERBY ASSOCIATION, (Corp.), September 1-August 31, 2XXX.
f.) Does not have a 501(c)(3) determination letter from the IRS.
All Affiliated Organizations must file a Form 990-N or 990EZ or any other required form, each year with the IRS and provide a copy of the annual filing to JRDA by January 15th of each year using their own leagues EIN.
The league will still use its own EIN for all transactions / shares / tax reporting, even if registered for the JRDA group exemption.
Every entity must follow local and state laws regarding annual filing of state tax returns.
There may be additional and separate rules for annual state filings for organizations that incorporated themselves as nonprofits at the state level. Some benefits for incorporating at the state level of a nonprofit may include sales tax exemption and the ability to engage in games of chance for fundraising purposes without tax penalties.
Nothing prevents sole proprietors, partnerships, LLC’s, or for profit corporations from receiving donations. They are however required to inform the donor that the donation is not tax deductible . They must also be careful that if they are soliciting donations, that they are following all state laws regarding soliciting the public for donations.
Only federally designated nonprofits allow donors to make charitable contributions that are tax deductible with proper documentation. Nonprofits soliciting charitable contributions must follow the state laws regarding solicitation of donations in ALL STATES that they solicit donations from. 41 jurisdictions (states / districts) currently require registration to solicit donations from their residents.
For additional information on charitable solicitation by state, you may use the following resources:
Each league has the ability to create a dues structure to address their needs in the best way. Below are some suggestions on ways your league can structure their player member fees and dues.
Separation of yearly and monthly fees and dues:
Yearly Registration Fee - Contributes to yearly expenses such as league insurance, JRDA league membership, +/- player jersey. To be paid at the time of player registration.
Monthly Player Dues - Contributes to practice space, storage space, bout materials, etc.
Yearly / quarterly fee only:
All costs for the year / quarter are paid upfront to the league to cover all expenses through that time frame.
The JRDA does not require you to obtain insurance from any specific provider.
Proof of accident insurance for all players, coaches, and officials must be provided at the time of membership registration and maintained through the membership season to be considered compliant with member requirements and to participate in sanctioned events.
JRDA Insurance Partner--Athos provides blanket accident and group liability coverage to all league skaters and the league entity for the policy year. Coverage is based on the listed activities and number of league members added to the policy. These policies can allow for age groups to blend together during practice with less restrictions. For more information on our partnership with Athos and to apply for a quote, got to https://www.juniorrollerderby.org/insurance.
NOTE: A league cannot receive a JRDA discount on insurance (from Athos) UNLESS the league, at the time of their insurance purchase (new or renewal), is a current JRDA member league and coverage is only honored if league is an active JRDA member during the entire policy term.
WFTDA/USARS individual accident and league liability insurance coverage--pricing varies by activity, age, and league affiliation. Group coverage has limitations to which age groups may participate in activities together. Individual skaters all have to purchase their own accidental insurance coverage (in addition to the league's purchase of liability coverage).
Other Insurance Carriers--other carriers also provide accidental and liability coverage for skaters and leagues.
Certain practice spaces and bout venues require certain types of coverage from league policies. You may want to confirm with your space before applying for a quote.
Junior roller derby has 3 levels of skill with 3 levels of play. A skater must pass the skill level written and physical assessments before participating in that level of game play. A general breakdown of the type of contact allowed at each level is as follows:
Skills Level One - No contact between skaters
Skills Level Two - Light contact made without acceleration
Skills Level Three - Full contact, contact can be made when accelerating
The JRDA uses The Rules of Flat Track Roller Derby, JRDA Edition rules set with an addenda made to address each skill level. To view the addenda, please visit the RULES page of the JRDA site.
Skills assessment sheets and accompanying written skills test will be provided to current member leagues upon request .
Official outside dimensions of a JRDA track, including the full recommended 10' clearance around outside, would be 108' x 75', which translates to 8,100 square feet. Using the minimum of 5' clearance on outside, it would be a 98' x 65' space or 6,370 square feet. When looking for bout venues for sanctioned events, it is more important to look at the floor dimensions than it is for the square footage.
Allow for extra room for player benches, penalty boxes, spectators, changing areas, refreshment areas etc.
A practice space does not have to allow for a full track, though it is useful to be able to practice in a regulation sized space.
For more information on track setup, please read rule 2.1 The Track on page 6 of "The Rules of Flat Track Roller Derby JRDA Edition" as well as the Track section of the JRDA Sanctioning Guidelines located on the RULES page of the JRDA site.
You may also use this link to the WFTDA - Regulation Roller Derby Track Layout Guide to assist with successful track layout.
The use of a space will usually require contracts and insurance coverage.
Type of Venue: the type of venue that a league should secure will depend on the type of event it is holding. The floor space must be an appropriate surface, and if the game/s are to be sanctioned, the space must fit a track that meets the minimum layout requirements (see section regarding space selection above). If multiple games are to be played at the same time, the space must be able to accommodate those games separately and safely.
Required Officials: To sanction a game, you must provide the minimum amount of skating and non-skating officials. For information on those requirements, please see the "JRDA Sanctioning Guidelines" located on the RULES page of the JRDA site.
Contacting other leagues: If you need to contact other JRDA leagues to schedule scrimmages or events, you may go to their league page on the JRDA site and use the "Contact Us" link. You may also contact your leagues Regional Coordinator to ask for introductions or additional contact information.
Game Scheduling and Sanctioning: To schedule a sanctioned game with the JRDA you must be a JRDA member, have an approved charter with at least 6 players in the division you intend to play, and submit a completed Game Scheduling Request with more than 30 days before the game date. For more information on game sanctioning, visit the RULES page and the GAME SCHEDULING page located under the GAMES tab on our site.
Every state in the US has legislation designed to address Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI). A majority of this legislation is targeted to youth sports. Please visit this link to search for an view the concussion laws in each state: https://www.ncsl.org/research/health/traumatic-brain-injury-legislation.aspx
Concussions should be taken seriously and as adults we must advocate for the health of our players. That is why all JRDA registered league volunteers are required to take the CDC Heads Up Concussion training course and renew certification every 2 years. This course is free and was designed to train parents, coaches, officials, and athletic trainers how to keep athletes safe from concussions.