Article 4: SOI’s Governance of Special Olympics
June 01, 2012
Article 4 describes SOI’s rights and responsibilities to ensure that all activities offered to persons with intellectual disabilities under the name of Special Olympics are organized, financed and conducted in accordance with international standards and in a manner that preserves the quality and reputation of Special Olympics and serves the best interests of persons with intellectual disabilities worldwide.
The Article sets out lines of communication within SOI and its decision-making reach and authority, including General Rules and other standards, such as the Sports Rules. It describes the role of the following Committees and Councils:
• International Advisory Committee
• Regional Leadership Councils
• Sports Rules Advisory Committee
• General Rules Advisory Committee
• Medical Advisory Committee
• Torch Run Executive Council
The Article describes SOI’s exclusive responsibility and authority over the conduct of Regional and World Games and Tournaments and Demonstrations, its approval of Accredited Program activities, and its authority over broadcasting and recording matters and trademarks.
It also sets English as the ‘official business language’ to be used throughout the Special Olympics Movement.
SOI's Governance Authority and Responsibility
SOI has the right and the responsibility to ensure that all sports training and competition offered to persons with intellectual disabilities under the name or auspices of "Special Olympics" are organized, financed and conducted in accordance with uniform international standards, and in a manner that preserves the quality and reputation of Special Olympics and best serves the interests of persons with intellectual disabilities worldwide. To that end, SOI has the authority to interpret, issue and periodically amend or update these General Rules and the other Uniform Standards as well as other written policies on matters covering the entire scope of the Special Olympics Movement, including, to the extent necessary in SOI's judgment, matters pertaining to the proper management and operation of Accredited Programs. Final authority on all matters affecting the organization, accreditation, financing and conduct of Accredited Programs and other Special Olympics programs rests with SOI as the creator, developer and world governing body for Special Olympics.
Lines of Communication within Special Olympics
Unless otherwise provided in these General Rules or in any other Uniform Standards, communications and reporting within the Special Olympics Movement will be conducted vertically as between SOI and all Accredited Programs, between SOI and the GOCs, and between SOI and any Advisory Committee which reports to SOI. These vertical communications will be supplemented by lateral communications between Accredited Programs, such as in connection with their service on Advisory Committees.
Notice to Accredited Programs of Policy-Making
SOI will provide all Accredited Programs (and, where applicable, GOCs) with written notice of all changes or supplements to the Uniform Standards. If practicable in SOI's judgment, SOI will provide Accredited Programs with at least thirty (30) days' prior written notice of any new or amended Uniform Standard which requires Accredited Programs to take new actions or to implement changes in their existing procedures.
Communications at the Accredited Program Levels
Accredited Programs are responsible for informing all of their Sub-Programs of the content of and obligations imposed by the General Rules and the Uniform Standards, and for communicating to them any changes or supplements made therein.
Authority of SOI's Board
SOI is governed by its Board of Directors ("SOI's Board"). SOI's Board is ultimately responsible for establishing all policies which govern SOI and the Special Olympics Movement. SOI's Board discharges this responsibility by approving the General Rules and all major policies embodied in the other Uniform Standards.
Authority of SOI Executives
The Board of Directors may delegate authority to manage the day-to-day affairs of SOI and to discharge SOI's policy-making responsibilities over the Special Olympics Movement to a President and Chief Executive Officer (or other official designated in SOI's corporate by-laws), except, however, that these General Rules and any subsequent changes to them shall be approved by SOI's Board. Subject to the ultimate authority of SOI's Board and to the extent permitted by SOI's corporate by-laws, SOI's Chief Executive Officer may, in turn, delegate SOI's decision-making authority concerning Special Olympics to one or more senior SOI executives. All such delegations of authority within SOI shall be made in accordance with SOI's by-laws.
Notice to Accredited Programs of Identity of SOI Decision-Makers
SOI shall keep all Accredited Programs and GOCs regularly informed of the identity of the specific SOI executives or staff members to whom SOI has granted authority to decide specific matters (subject, where applicable, to the oversight and ultimate power of approval of SOI's Board). In addition, SOI shall keep all Accredited Programs and GOCs regularly informed of the procedures to be followed when submitting requests for approval to SOI of matters which require SOI's approval under these General Rules or other Uniform Standards.
Amendments to General Rules
SOI reserves the right to amend the General Rules whenever SOI determines that the amendment is in the best interests of Special Olympics, subject to the authority of SOI's Board to approve any such amendment. In addition, amendments to the General Rules may also be proposed by (i) the chairperson of the Board of Directors/Program Committee of any Accredited Program, (ii) the Executive/Program Director of any Accredited Program, (iii) any Leadership Council, (iv) the Medical Advisory Committee, (v) the Sports Rules Advisory Committee, or (vi) the General Rules Advisory Committee.
Format for Proposed Amendments
All proposed amendments to the General Rules shall be submitted to SOI in writing, and shall identify clearly the specific nature and purpose of the proposed amendment. If possible, the proposed amendment shall be submitted in a form which shows what, if any, existing language from the affected section or subsection of the General Rules would be deleted (using brackets or "overstrike" marks to ensure that the stricken language is still readable), and what language would be adopted in its place if the proposed amendment were approved (using underlining or italics to identify the new language). If a party proposing an amendment does not wish to propose specific new language to be added to the General Rules as part of the proposed amendment, that party may describe in detail the substance and intended effect of the amendment, in lieu of drafting proposed new language for insertion in the General Rules. (In this latter case, however, the proposal shall nevertheless clearly identify any language which would be deleted from the General Rules if the proposed amendment were adopted.) SOI reserves the right to decline to consider any proposed amendment which SOI determines is unclear or too lacking in detail to enable SOI to evaluate its purpose or impact.
Initial Screening of Proposed Amendments
All proposed amendments to the General Rules shall be reviewed by SOI. SOI may seek the views of Accredited Programs and Regional Leadership Councils concerning the substance or implementation of any proposed amendment, if SOI determines that such input would assist SOI in evaluating the proposal. In that case, SOI shall provide affected Accredited Programs with a reasonable period within which to review and comment on the proposed amendment. Any comments submitted by Accredited Programs shall be advisory only and shall not be binding on SOI's Board.
Approval of Proposed Amendments
SOI's Chief Executive Officer shall have the power to approve any amendment to the General Rules, provided that the Chief Executive Officer's approval of all such amendments is ratified and adopted by SOI's Board at its next regularly scheduled meeting. If SOI's Chief Executive Officer determines that a particular amendment needs to become effective before the next regularly scheduled meeting of SOI's Board, then any such amendment to the General Rules shall, following its approval by SOI's Chief Executive Officer, be submitted promptly for ratification and adoption by the Executive Committee of SOI's Board (which discharges the powers of SOI's Board in between scheduled meetings of SOI's Board). All meetings and votes of SOI's Board and/or of the Executive Committee of SOI's Board concerning proposed amendments to the General Rules shall be held and taken in accordance with SOI's corporate by-laws.
Effective Date of Approved Amendments
(1) Non-Emergency Amendments. Except as otherwise provided in subsection (2) below, an approved amendment to the General Rules shall take effect ninety (90) days after the date on which the amendment is ratified and adopted by SOI's Board in accordance with this Section 4.04, unless SOI's Board specifies a later effective date.
(2) Emergency Amendments. An amendment to the General Rules may be approved by SOI's Chief Executive Officer to take effect in less than ninety (90) days after adoption if SOI's Chief Executive Officer determines that earlier implementation of the amendment is required in order to: (i) protect the health and safety of individuals involved in Special Olympics programs, (ii) protect the public image, reputation, or financial integrity of SOI or Special Olympics, or (iii) prevent immediate and substantial harm to SOI or to any of its Accredited Programs.
(3) Exceptions to Implementation Requirements. SOI's Chief Executive Officer may extend, in writing, the deadline by which a particular Accredited Program will be required to comply with an amendment to the General Rules if SOI's Chief Executive Officer determines that specific circumstances confronting the affected Accredited Program would make it impossible for the Accredited Program to comply with the effective date specified for the amendment. In the absence of such a written waiver, however, all Accredited Programs shall be required to comply with the approved amendment to the General Rules by the effective date specified for that amendment.
Notice to Accredited Programs
SOI shall provide prompt notice to all Accredited Programs and Advisory Committees of all approved amendments to the General Rules. SOI shall specify in this written notice the effective date for each approved amendment.
Amendment of Other Uniform Standards
SOI Sports Rules
Amendments to the Official SOI Sports Rules shall be considered and approved by SOI in accordance with the specific amendment provisions contained in the Official SOI Sports Rules.
Other Uniform Standards
The procedures for amending any Uniform Standards other than these General Rules or the Official SOI Sports Rules shall be governed in the first instance by whatever provisions concerning amendments are found in the specific Uniform Standard being amended. If that document does not contain its own procedure for amendments, SOI may adopt amendments to those Uniform Standards by following the procedures specified in Section 4.04 for amending these General Rules.
International Advisory Committee
One of the committees of SOI's Board shall be an "International Advisory Committee." This International Advisory Committee (the "IAC") shall be responsible for advising SOI's Board on matters related to the Special Olympics Movement which affect all Accredited Programs. The IAC will also be responsible for reviewing recommendations proposed by the Regional Leadership Councils (defined in Section 4.07) or by individual Accredited Programs concerning matters affecting the Special Olympics Movement. At each meeting of SOI's Board, the IAC will report to SOI's Board concerning all recommendations being made by the IAC, either on the IAC's own initiative or as the result of the IAC's review of proposals received from Regional Leadership Councils or individual Accredited Programs.
Size and Composition
The members of the IAC shall be ex oficio voting members of SOI's Board. Each of the seven Regional Leadership Councils shall elect its own representative to serve on the IAC (consistent with the membership qualifications listed in subsection (c) below), so that the IAC comprises seven members, each of whom represents one Region through a Regional Leadership Council.
Criteria for Membership
Persons elected to membership on the IAC shall meet the following criteria:
(1) Be an Executive/Program Director, or member of a Board of Directors/Program Committee, of an Accredited Program;
(2) Have extensive knowledge of, and significant prior experience with, the Special Olympics Movement;
(3) Understand the role and responsibilities of the IAC and Regional Leadership Councils;
(4) Be an effective advocate for the mission and Founding Principles of the Special Olympics Movement; and
(5) Regularly attend or participate in meetings or conference calls convened by the IAC.
Regional Leadership Councils
Regional Leadership Councils each referred to herein as "RLC's" may be established for one or more Regions or Sub-Regions with the approval of SOI's Board. At the time of such approval, SOI will specify in writing, in the form of a resolution adopted by SOI's Board, the geographic area represented by each RLC. RLC's shall not be separate legal or juridical entities.
Operating Procedures and Standards
Each RLC will conduct its affairs in accordance with written operating procedures and standards, which must be consistent with these General Rules, and which must be approved in advance by SOI at the time that SOI's Board approves the formation of that RLC (the "RLC Operating Procedures"). These RLC Operating Procedures shall set forth the procedures and standards for, among other matters, size of membership, selecting members, and for scheduling and holding meetings of that RLC.
Each approved RLC will represent all Accredited Programs within its respective Region or Sub-Region in advising SOI on all policy-related issues affecting those Accredited Programs, including matters related to sports, technical assistance, fund-raising, public relations, and program management, and the other matters listed in subsection (e) below. If an RLC is approved for a Sub-Region, that Sub-Regional RLC will coordinate its communications to SOI with the RLC for the Region in which that Sub-Region is located.
The members of an RLC will be elected by the Accredited Programs located within the RLC's Region or Sub-Region, in accordance with the Operating Procedures for that RLC, and consistent with the criteria for membership outlined in subsection (f) below. Any RLC may designate, through its Operating Procedures, the Managing Director of that region as an ex oficio member or co-chair of its RLC and may include, pursuant to its Operating Procedures, ex oficio non-voting members. Each RLC shall include at least one member who is an Athlete.
Areas of Responsibility
Unless otherwise provided in the Operating Procedures of an RLC, each RLC shall be responsible for:
(1) Establishing long-range plans for Region-based events, such as Regional Games, Regional conferences, meetings of Executive/Program Directors of Accredited Programs in the Region, Strategic Growth plans for its region, and training seminars;
(2) Reviewing and making recommendations to SOI concerning proposed dates and venues for Regional Games, and proposals from Accredited Programs within the Region to host Regional Games;
(3) Reviewing and making recommendations to SOI concerning proposed dates and venues for Region-based Tournaments, and proposals from Accredited Programs within the Region for hosting such Tournaments;
(4) Planning and conducting Regional conferences in collaboration with SOI; and
(5) Advising SOI's Regional offices on program priorities and methods for expanding the Special Olympics Movement within specific Regions, including recommendations concerning the development of Official Sports, fund-raising initiatives, public relations and communications initiatives, and Regional training needs.
Criteria for Membership
Persons elected to membership on an RLC shall meet the following criteria:
(1) Be an Executive/Program Director, or member of a Board of Directors/ Program Committee, of an Accredited Program, or in the case of the membership on the North American Leadership Council, a member of a Board of Directors/Program Committee of a Canadian provincial Program;
(2) Have extensive knowledge of, and significant prior experience with, the Special Olympics Movement;
(3) Understand the role and responsibilities of the RLC's;
(4) Be an effective advocate for the mission and Founding Principles of the Special Olympics Movement; and
(5) Regularly attend or participate in meetings or conference calls convened by the RLC to which that person is elected to membership.
Sub-Regional Leadership Councils
SOI, in consultation with the RLC, may periodically authorize the formation of one or more Sub-Regional Leadership Councils ("SRLC's") to operate within a Sub-Region, on the same conditions as are identified in Section 4.07 concerning the formation, membership and operation of RLC's.
Sports Rules Advisory Committee
The purpose of the Sports Rules Advisory Committee is to conduct an on-going review of the SOI Sports Rules and make recommendations to SOI concerning amendments to the SOI Sports Rules proposed by the Committee and/or by Accredited Programs.
The Sports Rules Advisory Committee shall consist of members who are sports experts, coaches, parents, athletes, officials, Executive/Program Directors of Accredited Programs or members of SOI's Board. Committee members shall be drawn from Accredited Programs throughout the world and shall be as geographically diverse and international in scope as is reasonably practicable. SOI's Board shall determine the size of the Sports Rules Advisory Committee.
Selection and Terms of Members
SOI’s Chief Executive Officer, or his/her designee, shall appoint and may remove all members of the Sports Rules Advisory Committee. In making these appointments, SOI may consider recommendations from Accredited Programs or from other persons who participate in or are affiliated with Special Olympics. Each member of the Sports Rules Advisory Committee shall serve for a term of four (4) years. SOI's Chief Executive Officer will appoint a replacement for any Committee member who is unable or unwilling to complete his/her four-year term.
The Sports Rules Advisory Committee shall form and maintain standing subcommittees for reviewing the rules concerning specific Official Sports and Recognized Sports. Unless otherwise determined by SOI, there shall be one subcommittee for each Official Sport and one subcommittee for each Recognized Sport. The members of each sports subcommittee shall serve for terms of four years, unless otherwise determined by SOI's Chief Executive Officer. Accredited Programs and other participants in Special Olympics, including members of Advisory Committees, may nominate proposed members of the sports subcommittees at any time, in order to ensure that all subcommittee positions are filled to the greatest extent possible with qualified members.
Requirements of SOI Sports Rules
The SOI Sports Rules contain additional provisions concerning the Sports Rules Advisory Committee and its subcommittees, which address, among other things, the Committee's functional responsibilities, the responsibilities of sports subcommittees, the procedures for adopting and modifying the SOI Sports Rules, and the timetable for reviewing and adopting proposed amendments to the SOI Sports Rules. The Sports Rules Advisory Committee shall comply with these additional procedural provisions in the SOI Sports Rules in conducting its affairs.
General Rules Advisory Committee
The purpose of the General Rules Advisory Committee (the "GRAC") is to review these General Rules and to make recommendations to SOI concerning General Rules amendments, all as may be requested by SOI’s Chief Executive Officer from time to time.
Composition; Selection of Members
The GRAC shall consist of members who are currently active in the Special Olympics Movement, such as Executive/Program Directors, members of Boards of Directors/Program Committees, athletes, family members, or coaches. The GRAC's membership shall include balanced representation from various Regions throughout the world. Members of the GRAC shall be appointed, and may be removed, by SOI's Chief Executive Officer. SOI's Chief Executive Officer shall determine each member’s membership terms at the time of each appointment.
The GRAC shall conduct its operations on an informal basis. All procedures used by the GRAC for scheduling and conducting its meetings, for reviewing proposed General Rules amendments with Accredited Programs and other participants in Special Olympics, and for formulating recommendations to SOI concerning matters within the GRAC's jurisdiction, shall be subject to SOI's ongoing approval.
Medical Advisory Committee
The purpose of the Medical Advisory Committee (the "MAC") is to address, whether on its own initiative, at the request of SOI's Chief Executive Officer or SOI's Board, or at the request of any other Advisory Committee, all matters which affect the health and safety of athletes, coaches, volunteers, officials and other participants in Special Olympics.
The MAC shall be composed of members of the medical profession (including sports medicine), persons involved in the field of intellectual disability, and other appropriate health professionals, as determined by SOI. The MAC shall include a balanced representation of various Regions throughout the world, to the greatest extent practicable, and should include the SOI staff member responsible for Health Programs.
Members of the MAC shall be appointed by SOI's Chief Executive Officer, and shall serve for a term of four (4) years. SOI's Chief Executive Officer shall appoint a replacement to serve on the MAC for the unexpired term of any previously appointed member who is unable or unwilling to continue to serve for his/her full four-year term.
The MAC shall conduct its affairs in an informal manner, but shall meet in person at least once every two (2) years. All procedures used by the MAC for scheduling and conducting these meetings, and for formulating recommendations to SOI concerning matters within the MAC's jurisdiction, shall be subject to SOI's ongoing approval.
Torch Run Executive Council
Purpose and Composition
The Torch Run Executive Council is authorized by SOI and supported by the International Association of Chiefs of Police for the purpose of encouraging, promoting, supporting, and providing technical guidance to Accredited Program Torch Run volunteers in planning and coordinating Torch Run events and activities on a worldwide basis, facilitating the expansion of existing Torch Run activities, and planning for the development of new Torch Run activities and events. The size and composition of the Torch Run Executive Council shall be approved by SOI's Chief Executive Officer in consultation with the Torch Run Executive Council. The Torch Run Executive Council shall include representatives of Accredited Programs as well as representatives of law enforcement agencies or associations, including the International Association of Chiefs of Police (the founding law enforcement organization of the Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics), which support or participate in Torch Run events and activities, who shall be selected in accordance with the operating procedures described in subsection (b) below.
Operating Procedures and Standards
The Torch Run Executive Council shall conduct its affairs in accordance with written operating procedures and standards which must be consistent with these General Rules, and approved in advance by SOI. Such operating procedures shall address, among other things, the procedures for selecting the representatives of Accredited Programs and law enforcement organizations, the creation and operation of sub-committees, and the procedures for formulating recommendations and proposals to SOI concerning Torch Run programs and events.
Other Advisory Committees
SOI may periodically authorize the creation of other Advisory Committees (including, but not limited to, other Leadership Councils) in addition to or in lieu of those expressly provided for in these General Rules, if SOI determines that their formation would be in the best interests of Special Olympics. If SOI chooses to authorize the formation of any additional Advisory Committees (which may be organized according to functional responsibilities or other non-geographic lines), then at that time, SOI will determine how that new Advisory Committee will be required to handle the procedural and operational matters addressed in Section 4.07.
Regional and World Games
SOI shall be exclusively responsible for authorizing the conduct of Regional Games and World Games. In making decisions concerning Regional Games, SOI shall consider the recommendations of any Regional Leadership Council for the Region in which the Regional Games would be held. SOI shall be solely responsible for reviewing and approving proposals from prospective GOC's for hosting World Games. SOI shall also determine all conditions under which Regional Games and World Games will be planned, financed and conducted.
Tournaments and Demonstrations
SOI shall be exclusively responsible for organizing and conducting, or for authorizing GOC's or Accredited Programs to organize and conduct, Tournaments and demonstrations involving Special Olympics athletes, held on a multi-jurisdictional, regional, or international basis. If SOI authorizes any GOC or Accredited Program (or group of Accredited Programs) to conduct any such Tournaments or demonstrations, SOI will, at that time, specify in writing all terms and conditions for conducting that Tournament or demonstration.
Approvals of Accredited Program Activities
The structure and operations of all Accredited Programs, and all activities conducted by or under the authority of Accredited Programs in the name of or for the benefit of Special Olympics, shall be subject to SOI's ongoing approval. SOI shall normally exercise this ongoing right of approval through the accreditation processes and policies provided for in Article 6. However, SOI reserves the right to exercise its approval powers in specific cases at any time, and outside of the routine schedule and system for granting or renewing accreditation, in order to process the various requests for SOI's approval which Accredited Programs must obtain under these General Rules, and in order to respond to situations which are not addressed specifically in these General Rules, but which fall under SOI's overall authority over Special Olympics, as provided in Sections 9.02 and 9.03.
Broadcasting and Recording Matters
SOI shall be the sole and exclusive owner of all copyright and other intellectual property rights in all World and Regional Games, and as such, SOI has the sole and exclusive right to license others to film, record and broadcast, whether on a live or pre-recorded basis, any audio, or visual, or digital signals of the Games or of any Special Olympics events associated with the Games, such as official opening or closing ceremonies (collectively, "Games Recordings"). SOI also owns all copyrights in various musical compositions composed for the benefit of Special Olympics by artists or performers who have transferred all copyrights in their compositions to SOI (collectively, "SOI Music").
Effect on Accredited Programs and GOC's
No Accredited Program or GOC may grant, or purport to grant to any party (including without limit, any producer, director, radio broadcaster, over-the-air or cable television broadcaster, radio or television network, or any Internet provider) any right of any kind to film, record, broadcast or otherwise disseminate any World and Regional Games Recordings or SOI Music without SOI's prior written consent, or to otherwise publish, display, or transmit Games Recordings or SOI Music on or through computers, digital or analog modem signals or fiber optic signals, Internet sites, World Wide Web communications, networks or any other form of on-line or off-line communications or downloads without SOI's prior written consent.
No Accredited Program or GOC shall, without SOI’s prior written permission, either itself or by license to any other party, produce, promote, and/or sell any musical or vocal recording of any kind, including without limit any CD, record, tape, Internet broadcast, digital video disk, or any other electronic media, whether now in existence or created in the future, for the benefit of the Special Olympics Movement, any Accredited Program, or any GOC.
Registration and Protection of SO Marks
As the owner of the SO Marks, SOI is responsible for registering, protecting and enforcing all of SOI's ownership and related rights to the use of the SO Marks and the goodwill and value associated with them. SOI is therefore exclusively responsible for registering or recording all trademarks, service marks, copyrights, and all other recordable interests in any intellectual property comprising the SO Marks with the appropriate legal or governmental entities throughout the world, and for filing and prosecuting all actions against third parties for misappropriation, infringement or other misuse of the SO Marks or other intellectual property associated with Special Olympics.
Effect on Programs
No Program, Sub-Program accredited by a Program, Region or Sub-Region Regional Leadership Council, International Advisory Committee or any other committee established by Accredited Programs, Regions or SOI or by authority of these General Rules may register any SO Mark or any copyright which is owned by SOI or which is related to or to be used in connection with Special Olympics with any non-government entity, with any national or local governmental authority or with any multi-national or international tribunal responsible for the recordation, cataloging or enforcement of trademarks or copyrights without SOI's prior written consent. In addition, no Program, Sub-Program accredited by a Program, Region or Sub-Region, nor any of the other councils or committees described in the preceding sentence may file or prosecute any claim for misappropriation, infringement or other misuse of the SO Marks or other intellectual property associated with Special Olympics or the Special Olympics Movement without SOI's prior written consent. SOI will, however, consider requests from specific Programs for authorization to proceed with such registration or enforcement activities in the name of and on behalf of SOI, if SOI determines that granting such authorization is a more efficient and expedient method, in a particular instance, of protecting the SO Marks and other intellectual property associated with Special Olympics in areas outside of the United States.
The official language to be used in all communications between and among SOI and all GOC's and all Accredited Programs shall be English (the "Official Business Language"). Accredited Programs shall be responsible for translating and distributing printed materials concerning that Accredited Program's conduct of Special Olympics programs (collectively, "Program Materials") into the most predominant language(s) spoken in that Accredited Program's country, in order to facilitate efforts at public education and at increasing the number of athletes who participate in Special Olympics. SOI reserves the right, however, to inspect such translations and/or to require an Accredited Program to provide SOI with an English version of some or all of that Accredited Program's Program Materials, in order to enable SOI to confirm that such Program Materials conform to the English version issued by SOI. If there is any conflict between the non-English translation of any Uniform Standards or Program Materials and the English version, the English version shall control and take precedence.