This is not always the fault of the commish. Sometimes, simply, the correct tools are not being used to assist the duties.
Using a few simple tools, the job of commissioner can become easier to manage and actually improve the communication and participation of your league.
All tools listed are free to use.
1 – Create a rules/by-laws document separate of your league website settings
To me, this is the absolute most important aspect of any successful fantasy league. Each year and each league I operate has a rules document that supersedes the settings entered into the league website. This document needs to take precedent over league settings just in case you enter a setting incorrectly. With a rules document, you can correct settings without league protest. As well, this document needs to consider every possible situation that may affect the league and a short resolution needs to be written in.
For this rules document, I use Google Documents to create and share it with the league. The best part of Google Docs is that you can allow league owners to highlight part of the rules, then leave a comment. Comments are shown in the margin and other owners can also comment on these comments. It is a great way to stay organized and remember potential modifications for the future.
If you have problems writing the rules, or need a last look-over, I offer a Fantasy Rules Writing Service on my website Commish Advisor.
2 – A safe place to keep league entry fees
This sounds pretty basic, right? Well, it may not be for your league. Give League Safe a try. At League Safe, your league members pay online with their checking account or credit card, then League Safe keeps the money safe all year. At the end of the season, you tell League Safe who gets paid and how much. The winners then go to League Safe to get their money.
League Safe offers 100% free options and owners can get their money the day after the end of the MLB season. Also, if an owner make a payment in person to the Commish, the Commish can pay League Safe on their behalf.
3 – Make it easy for owners to pay the entry fee
This section will actually include a few options:
- League Safe – has the option to allow payment via credit card or checking account. Checking account is free, but if you choose the credit card option, all league payments will be charged a service charge.
- PayPal – Most people probably already know about PayPal as an option to accept payments. Allow owners to pay the league fee with PayPal for added convenience. Make sure to add the service charge to the payment… It’s not fair to take the service fees out of the league prize pool. Here is a PayPal fees calculator, so you can charge leaguemates the proper amount.
- Google Checkout – Similar to PayPal, but I like/trust Google more than PayPal (eBay). Google Checkout fees calculator.
- Square – Here’s the situation. An owner tells you he will pay at the draft, but arrives and says, “I don’t have cash, I don’t have a check.” Square is a small device that plugs into your Android or iOS device and allows you to take swiped credit card payments. Again there is a small fee, so use the Square fee calculator.
Like any business, make it as easy as possible for your customers to pay you… Or league members, in this case.
4 – Extensive owner contact list
Find out exactly how each one of your owners like to communicate: Phone call, text message, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Skype, Voxer, hell, even MySpace, if that is what they use. Take all the information and post it on the message board, or using the suggestion above, create a Google Docs spreadsheet, share it with the league and allow owners to change their own information and add additional methods of contact, if needed.
5 – Schedule automatic reminders for important league events and dates
I believe one of the responsibilities of the commissioner of a fantasy league is to remind owners of the draft date, cut- down dates in keeper leagues, trade deadlines, etc.
Sometimes this can become a task in itself. Not only must the commish remind others, but must remember these dates for himself.
I use a couple of tools to take care of this for me. First, however, I must mention, I use Google for as many things as possible.
- First, set up Gmail as your email client (meaning you can send/ receive email from any email address and even multiple email accounts using Gmail). If you’re unfamiliar, Gmail can act as a web version of Outlook, if that is a more familiar comparison.
- Next, use Google Chrome as your internet browser. Trust me, it is the best, no matter if you’re on a Mac, Windows or Linux based computer. This exact method will work for Chrome, Firefox or Safari… Seriously, ditch Internet Explorer right now!
- Now, create a contact group in your Google Contacts including the names, email addresses and phone numbers of all members in your league.
- Install Boomerang for your browser. This plugin allows you to schedule an email to be sent at a later date.
- Simply write your email, select your fantasy league contact group, the click “Send Later” and choose the date/time for the email to be sent. You can even set up recurring emails!
Text Message Reminders
From the email reminders above, you may have been thinking, “I don’t need to create a group. I only need a list of the email addresses.” This is true, but if you created a group above, the text message reminders will be much easier to set up.
- I have an Android phone, which is also Google. With and Android phone, all contacts on the phone are synced with Gmail contacts and have phone numbers and email addresses for all owners. If you have an iPhone, you can also sync your Google Contacts.
- Now go get Handcent SMS app. Handcent can be used as a replacement for your default SMS app on your phone or in addition to.
- Open Handcent and go into the menu and select “Schedule Tasks.” Now, write your text message and select a time for it to be sent later.
As a commish, the league looks to you for guidance and expects leadership and activity. With a few tools you can keep organized and remove some of the mundane tasks and requirements of leading the league.