Article 6 describes SOI’s authority to grant Accreditation, which is a way of assuring that core quality and growth requirements of the Special Olympics mission, and also minimum management and financial standards, are met by Accredited Programs. It describes the rights afforded Accredited Programs and their obligations, the period of duration of Accreditation, and SOI’s power to impose sanctions for violation of obligations, including revoking or denying Accreditation.
The procedures, timing and effect of revocation or denial are all outlined as are the procedures relating to waivers for non-compliance with Accreditation standards, which may be permitted in certain circumstances.
Purpose of Accreditation
SOI accredits Special Olympics Programs to ensure worldwide quality, and ultimately the growth, of the Special Olympics movement. Accreditation is a method that assures that every Accredited Program has met the essential core requirements of the Special Olympics mission and also certain minimum management and financial requirements.
Only those organizations and entities that have been granted the status of Accredited Programs or recognized as Founding Committees as provided in this Article 6 may: (a) hold themselves out to the public as Special Olympics organizations or programs or Founding Committees; (b) raise, receive or spend funds in the name of Special Olympics; or (c) use, or authorize others to use in conducting their programs or activities, the name "Special Olympics" as part of the Program’s name or any other SO Marks that SOI licenses Accredited Programs to use in conducting their programs or activities.
Authority to Grant Accreditation
Only SOI may grant or withhold accreditation to a Founding Committee or other program. SOI has sole authority to suspend or revoke the accreditation of an Accredited Program. SOI may also suspend or revoke the accreditation of a Sub-Program under Sections 6.15 and 6.21(d). Subject to SOI's right to suspend or revoke a Sub-Program's accreditation as provided in Section 6.22(d), Accredited Programs are responsible for deciding, consistent with the requirements of this Article 6, whether to grant initial or renewal accreditation to their Sub-Programs.
Documentation of Accreditation
Whenever SOI grants accreditation, SOI shall issue a certificate of accreditation to the Accredited Program. Accreditation by SOI shall be in writing, and shall be made in accordance with the requirements of these General Rules.
SOI shall establish, and may amend, from time to time Accreditation Standards, which shall be simple in order to make it easy for a Program to demonstrate compliance and objective so as to be easily verifiable by SOI. SOI may, from time to time, amend the Accreditation Standards to reflect the growth and development of the Special Olympics Movement.
Changes to the Accreditation Standards
SOI may revise the Accreditation Standards from time to time. Such revisions shall not be considered amendments to the General Rules. Except in unusual cases, SOI will provide Accredited Programs with at least six (6) months' advance written notice of any revisions to the Accreditation Standards, in order to give Accredited Programs affected by the changes a reasonable opportunity to take any action necessary to satisfy the revised Accreditation Standards. In exceptional cases, however, when SOI determines that it is in Special Olympics’ best interest to rapidly implement the revised Accreditation Standard(s), SOI will notify all Accredited Programs, specifying in that notice the date by which Accredited Programs will be required to satisfy the revised Accreditation Standard(s). The specified date may, if deemed appropriate by SOI, and specified in that notice, apply to all Accredited Programs regardless of the length of their accreditation period.
Period or Duration of Accreditation
Calendar Year Basis
SOI shall normally grant accreditation to an Accredited Program on a calendar year basis. An Accredited Program, subject to Section 6.07(d), may grant accreditation to a Sub-Program only on a calendar year basis. Accreditation may take effect at any time during a calendar year, but will expire at the end of a calendar year.
Duration of Accreditation
SOI may grant or renew accreditation (subject to SOI's right to suspend or revoke accreditation) for periods ranging from one year, or a portion thereof, to two years. Duration of accreditation (the "Accreditation Period") shall be specified by SOI in writing at the time of new or renewed accreditation.
SOI may grant accreditation on a conditional basis (“Conditional Accreditation”), which shall include a specific date by which the conditions must be satisfied. If an Accredited Program fails to fulfill a required condition by the specified date that Program’s accreditation shall automatically terminate as of that date, with no right of appeal, unless otherwise agreed by SOI.
Duration of Accreditation for Sub-Programs
If a Program loses its Accreditation, the accreditation of any Sub-Program accredited by the Program, will revert to the authority of SOI or its designated body. SOI will have the authority to cancel, renew, or extend the accreditation of any Sub-Program until such time as a new Program is accredited and the authority to accredit Sub-Programs is reinstated to the accredited Program.
Application for Initial or Renewed Accreditation
Requirements for Written Application
A Founding Committee or an Accredited Program seeking accreditation shall file a written application using standardized application materials provided by SOI (the "Accreditation Application"), which must include a completed Accreditation License. Every Accreditation Application must be signed on behalf of the Founding Committee or the Accredited Program’s Board of Directors/Program Committee. Accreditation Applications from Founding Committees shall include the Organizational Documents that the Founding Committee has adopted or proposes to adopt if accreditation is granted by SOI. Accreditation Applications from Accredited Programs shall include written confirmation on behalf of the Board of Directors/Program Committee that no material changes have been made to that Accredited Program's Organizational Documents since they were last reviewed and approved by SOI.
Unless otherwise permitted by SOI, each Accredited Program that seeks to renew its accreditation shall submit its completed Accreditation Application to SOI no later than the date established from time to time by SOI during the calendar year in which that Accredited Program's existing accreditation expires, in order to gain accreditation effective January 1 of the following calendar year. Any Accredited Program unable to comply with this deadline must submit a written extension request to SOI at least thirty (30) days prior to the date that Program’s accreditation expires. Upon good cause, SOI may then establish an alternative deadline.
Failure to Submit Application
If an Accredited Program fails to submit a complete Accreditation Application in accordance with this Section 6.08, such Accredited Program’s accreditation shall automatically expire at the end of the later of that Program’s current Accreditation Period or any extension granted by SOI in accordance with Section 6.08(b), without the right to appeal, unless otherwise authorized by SOI. An Accredited Program shall not have the right to appeal a notice from SOI stating that the Accredited Program’s accreditation has expired.
Requirement of Completion
Each Accreditation Application, whether for initial or renewed accreditation, shall be accompanied by an Accreditation License by which the applicant certifies the applicant's acceptance of and compliance with the General Rules. Each applicant's Accreditation License shall be signed by the chairperson of its Board of Directors/Program Committee. SOI will not grant or renew accreditation to any applicant that has not properly completed and signed an Accreditation License.
Changes to Accreditation License
SOI may revise the Accreditation License at any time and shall provide Accredited Programs with prompt written notice of all such changes. Except for exceptional cases, SOI will not require an Accredited Program which is otherwise in compliance with its Accreditation License to make changes to its structure, operations or programs during its then-current Accreditation Period in order to meet the requirements of a revised Accreditation License. Rather, SOI will normally require Accredited Programs to sign and submit the revised Accreditation License as part of their next Accreditation Application following SOI's adoption of the revised Accreditation License.
Review by SOI of Accreditation Applications
Review of Applications for Accreditation by a Founding Committee
SOI will promptly review all Accreditation Applications from Founding Committees and either grant or deny such applications by written notice to the applicant. SOI's decisions on all requests for such accreditation shall be final and non-appealable, and will be made prior to or during the next accreditation cycle scheduled by SOI. A Founding Committee that has been denied accreditation may, with SOI's prior written authorization, resubmit a revised Accreditation Application at a later date to provide SOI with new or additional information.
SOI may, at its sole discretion, grant conditional accreditation in accordance with Section 6.07(c). SOI shall grant accreditation for a specified period in accordance with Section 6.07(b), or waivers in accordance with Section 6.23.
SOI shall determine the territorial jurisdiction of each Accredited Program. In most cases, the jurisdictional boundaries of an Accredited Program will be geographic and political, and will mirror existing geopolitical boundaries, such as the boundaries defining a nation or province, or a state or city. SOI will identify the jurisdiction of each Accredited Program in writing at the time that SOI grants or renews its accreditation. In appropriate cases, SOI reserves the right to designate more than one Accredited Program within a particular geographic or political territory, such as more than one Accredited Program for a single nation or for a single state. In making such decisions, SOI shall consider the views of any existing Accredited Program operating within those jurisdictions, and shall provide any such existing Accredited Program with a reasonable period of time within which to restructure its operations in order to implement any decision by SOI to add a new Accredited Program to that jurisdiction, to combine one or more Programs, to divide the operation of a single existing Accredited Program into one or more new Accredited Programs or to combine one or more existing Programs.
Obligations of an Accredited Program
By applying for and accepting accreditation, and by signing the Accreditation License, an Accredited Program and its Board of Directors/Program Committee agree to recognize SOI as the final legal and binding authority on all Special Olympics matters and accept full responsibility for conducting the operations of the Accredited Program in accordance with, its Accreditation License, these General Rules and the other Uniform Standards.
Rights of an Accredited Program
An Accredited Program has the following rights and privileges during its Accreditation Period, subject to these General Rules:
License to Use SO Marks
Each Accredited Program is granted a license to use the name "Special Olympics" in conjunction with the Accredited Program’s name and the SO Logo, and other SO Marks as specified from time to time by SOI, in organizing, financing and conducting Special Olympics sports training and competitions within its jurisdiction; and
Authority to Operate Special Olympics Programs
SOI authorizes each Accredited Program to hold itself out as the authorized Special Olympics Program within its jurisdiction (subject to any jurisdictional rights that the Accredited Program may have granted to a Sub-Program.) This authority grants each Accredited Program the following rights and authority within its jurisdiction, to be exercised in accordance with the General Rules:
- A license to use the Accredited Program’s name and SO Marks, and to authorize others to use or reproduce the Accredited Program’s name and SO Marks;
- To organize, conduct and promote Special Olympics sports training and competition;
- To carry out related program activities authorized by SOI, including athlete leadership initiatives and leadership training programs;
- To raise funds for these purposes in the name of the Accredited Program;
- To organize and accredit Sub-Programs located entirely within its jurisdiction;
- To permit licensed local radio and television broadcasters and other third parties to film and otherwise record the Games held by the Accredited Program within its jurisdiction, and to broadcast such Games Recordings (as defined in Section 4.17(a)) on local radio and television stations within the Accredited Program's jurisdiction;
- To select an Executive/Program Director, to hire employees and to establish a personnel system for Special Olympics programs within its jurisdiction; and
- To receive assistance from SOI in the form of advice and training regarding the development and conduct of Special Olympics programs, access to official SOI publications and materials, opportunities to attend Special Olympics conferences, and eligibility for financial assistance from SOI;
Programs rights outside of its jurisdiction
An Accredited Program is granted the following rights and authority outside of its jurisdiction, to be exercised in accordance with the General Rules:
(1) To receive a quota to send a delegation (official or observer) to World Games and to its Regional Games;
(2) To comment on and participate in the development of the Uniform Standards through representational participation on Leadership Councils and other Advisory Committees established through these General Rules.
SOI's Power to Impose Sanctions for Violations of an Accredited Program's Obligations
SOI has the right and the authority to impose sanctions or other corrective measures deemed appropriate by SOI on any Accredited Program, or against any other party to the extent permitted by law, for violations of the General Rules or the other Uniform Standards. SOI's authority to enforce the General Rules and other Uniform Standards includes, without limitation, the authority to suspend, revoke or deny the accreditation of any Accredited Program and to impose any of the other sanctions provided in Article 6 (or elsewhere in these General Rules).
Grounds for Imposing Sanctions or Revoking/Denying Accreditation
Grounds for Sanction
Except as otherwise provided in subsection (b) SOI may impose any or all of the sanctions identified in Section 6.20 if SOI determines that an Accredited Program is not in compliance with the requirements of these General Rules or other Uniform Standards ("Ground(s) for Sanction"). Any accreditation that lapses or expires automatically under this Article 6 is not a sanction and shall not be subject to appeal under Section 6.15 through 6.18.
Grounds for Revocation or Denial of an Accredited Program's Accreditation
Notwithstanding SOI’s general power to sanction an Accredited Program as provided in this Article 6, SOI shall not revoke or decline to renew an Accredited Program's accreditation unless SOI makes one or more of the following determinations (the "Ground(s) for Revocation"):
- That the Accredited Program has failed to comply with its material obligations as an Accredited Program, which are set forth in these General Rules, the Accreditation Standards and Accreditation License of the affected Accredited Program, or the other Uniform Standards;
- That circumstances exist wherein (1) the health or safety of individuals involved in a Special Olympics program is jeopardized; (2) there are indications that the Accredited Program has engaged in any illegal activity; or (3) the Accredited Program has acted in a matter that may jeopardize the financial integrity or reputation of the Accredited Program, of the Special Olympics Movement or SOI, and that these circumstances may lead to substantial harm to SOI, to Special Olympics athletes, to the Special Olympics Movement, or to any of SOI's Accredited Programs if not eliminated or rectified as soon as possible; or
- That the Accredited Program does not meet the Accreditation Standards.
Procedures for Imposing Sanctions
Notice of Intent to Impose Sanctions
If SOI determines there are Grounds for Sanction and/or Grounds for Revocation, SOI shall notify the affected Accredited Program (“Notice of Intent to Impose Sanctions"). The Notice of Intent to Impose Sanctions shall be addressed and sent to the chairperson of the Board of Directors/Program Committee of the affected Accredited Program and copied to its Executive/Program Director. The Notice of Intent to Impose Sanctions shall include a notice that the Accredited Program may respond to the charges within 30 calendar days following the Accredited Program’s receipt of the Notice of Intent to Impose Sanctions (“Program Response”) and that failure to respond to the charges may result in the immediate imposition of sanctions.
The Notice of Intent to Impose Sanctions shall summarize the Accredited Program’s operating deficiencies, failures of performance, or other violations of the Uniform Standards which constitute the Grounds for Sanction and/or Grounds for Revocation. SOI may also, at its option, inform the Accredited Program of the specific sanction(s) that SOI may impose. The Notice of Intent to Impose Sanctions will specifically state, however, whether SOI has determined that there are Grounds for Revocation and intends to suspend, deny or revoke the Accredited Program’s accreditation.
Effect of an Accredited Program's Failure to Respond
If an Accredited Program fails to submit a Program Response within thirty days following its receipt of the Notice of Intent to Impose Sanctions, then such Notice shall automatically become a final notice and decision to impose the proposed sanction(s) ("Final Sanction Notice") upon expiration of that thirty-day response period. If the Notice of Intent to Impose Sanctions does not specify the sanctions SOI shall have the right, upon the expiration of the thirty-day response period, to issue an unappealable Final Sanction Notice to the affected Accredited Program identifying the sanction(s) which SOI has determined to impose. If the Accredited Program fails to provide a Program Response to a Notice of Intent to Impose Sanctions that cited Grounds for Revocation and specifically notified the affected Accredited Program that SOI was considering a suspension, revocation or denial of the Program's accreditation, then upon the expiration of the thirty-day response period and the lack of a response from the Accredited Program, that Notice of Intent to Impose Sanctions shall automatically become a Final Notice of Revocation, with the consequences provided for in
Required Contents of Program Response
Any Program Response to a Notice of Intent to Impose Sanctions shall be in writing and prepared in English or translated into English before its submission to SOI. The Program Response shall be submitted to SOI within the 30-day response period described in Section 6.16 (a) and shall set forth the specific reasons why the Accredited Program either (1) denies the alleged Grounds for Sanction or Grounds for Revocation, and/or (2) believes that any conceded Grounds for Sanction or Grounds for Revocation have either been corrected or eliminated, can be corrected or eliminated in the near future within a reasonable period of time or should not, for other reasons explained by the Accredited Program, result in the imposition of sanctions by SOI. If the Accredited Program proposes corrective measures, its Program Response shall include a detailed plan for that correction and an estimate of the amount of time reasonably necessary to accomplish it. A Program Response may also challenge the existence of the alleged Grounds for Sanction, challenge the appropriateness of any proposed sanction(s), or challenge both the violation and the proposed sanction(s).
SOI's Review of Program Response
Within 30 days following SOI’s receipt of a Program Response, SOI shall review the Program Response and provide a written reply to the Accredited Program. SOI’s reply may either: (1) withdraw the Notice of Intent to Impose Sanctions; (2) defer a final decision on the Notice of Intent to Impose Sanctions to permit the Accredited Program to take specific future corrective action, in which case SOI shall specify in writing the nature and completion date of such corrective action; or (3) issue a Final Notice of Sanction under subsection (e) below, or if applicable, a Final Notice of Revocation under Section 6.16 (f) below. SOI shall determine, in its sole discretion, whether to accept any corrective action taken or proposed by an Accredited Program.
Final Notice of Sanction
If SOI, after review and consideration of the Program Response (and, where applicable, after evaluation of any corrective measures taken by the Accredited Program with SOI's authorization under Section 6.16(d) above), determines that Grounds for Sanction continue to exist, SOI shall send the Accredited Program a Final Notice of Sanction. The Final Notice of Sanction shall be addressed and sent to the chairperson of the Board of Directors/Program Committee of the affected Accredited Program and copied to its Executive/Program Director. The Final Notice of Sanction shall describe the nature of, and reasons for, the imposed sanction. The Final Notice of Sanction shall take effect 30 days after the date on which it is issued by SOI, unless within that same thirty-day period, the affected Accredited Program submits a written appeal of the Final Notice of Sanction to SOI in accordance with Section 6.16.
Final Notice of Revocation
In a case in which SOI has found Grounds for Revocation, if SOI determines, after review and consideration of the Program Response and after consulting with someone designated by the relevant Regional Leadership Council who does not have an interest in the revocation proceedings, (and, where applicable, after evaluating the impact of any corrective measures taken by the Program with SOI's authorization under Section 6.16 (d) above), that Grounds for Revocation continue to exist, SOI shall send the Accredited Program's Executive/Program Director and the chairperson of its Board of Directors/Program Committee a Final Notice of Revocation. The Final Notice of Revocation shall set forth SOI's reasons for revoking or denying accreditation, and the reasons why any Program Response and, where applicable, any corrective measures taken by the Program following issuance of the Notice of Intent to Revoke, were insufficient in SOI's judgment to warrant maintaining or renewing the Accredited Program's accreditation. SOI's Final Notice of Revocation shall take effect thirty (30) days after the date on which SOI issues the Final Notice of Revocation, unless within that same thirty-day period, the affected Accredited Program submits a written appeal in accordance with Section 6.17.
An Accredited Program which is the subject of a Final Notice of Sanction or Final Notice of Revocation may pursue an appeal of SOI's decision by following the procedures in this Section 6.17.
Submitting an Appeal
Only one (1) appeal may be filed by an Accredited Program in connection with any Sanction or Revocation process (“Program Appeal”). The Program Appeal may not be filed until after SOI has issued a Final Notice of Sanction or a Final Notice of Revocation. The Program Appeal shall be submitted in writing (in English) and shall have been approved by a majority of the members of the Accredited Program's Board of Directors/Program Committee, and shall be submitted to SOI's Chief Executive Officer and to SOI's Chairman. A Program Appeal may challenge the existence of the violations or other factors described in the Grounds for Sanction or Grounds for Revocation, the appropriateness of the sanctions identified in SOI's Final Notice of Sanction or Final Notice of Revocation, or both the Grounds for Revocation and the sanction identified in the Final Notice of Sanction or Revocation.
Size and Composition of the Appeal Committee
Each Program Appeal shall be considered by a committee of five persons, consisting of SOI's Chairman and four other persons appointed by SOI's Chief Executive Officer (the "Appeal Committee"). An Appeal Committee shall include, in addition to SOI's Chairman (or a person designated by the Chairman), a member of SOI's Board, at least one current or past member of the IAC or a Regional Leadership Council, and at least one representative of a constituency within the Special Olympics Movement, such as a Special Olympics athlete, family member, or coach. SOI's Chief Executive Officer shall appoint the members of an Appeal Committee no later than ten (10) days after receipt of a Program Appeal, and shall promptly notify the affected Accredited Program of the identities of the members of the Appeal Committee. SOI shall determine in its sole discretion, through its Chief Executive Officer, whether to appoint a standing Appeal Committee for purposes of this Section 6.17, or whether to appoint different Appeal Committees to handle particular Program Appeals.
Review by Appeal Committee
The Program Appeal shall be decided by a simple majority of the five members of the Appeal Committee. Before making its decision, the Appeal Committee shall give the Board of Directors/Program Committee of the affected Accredited Program a reasonable opportunity to discuss the Program Appeal in person with the Appeal Committee, if the Accredited Program requests such an opportunity in its Program Appeal, but the Accredited Program shall be responsible for any travel or other expenses incurred by its representative(s) in attending such a meeting. The Appeal Committee may, in its discretion, request the Accredited Program to provide supplementary information in support of the Program Appeal, or to respond to specific questions of significance to the Appeal Committee in preparing its decision. The affected Accredited Program shall cooperate with such requests as a condition of pursuing its Program Appeal.
Decision of Appeal Committee
The Appeal Committee shall decide the Program Appeal within sixty (60) days after SOI's receipt of the Program Appeal, unless both SOI and the affected Accredited Program agree in writing to give the Appeal Committee additional time within which to issue its decision. The Appeal Committee shall issue its decision in writing and include a brief statement of the reasons for its decision, and shall promptly communicate that decision both to SOI's Chief Executive Officer and to the Board of Directors/Program Committee of the affected Accredited Program. The decision of the Appeal Committee shall serve as the Appeal Committee's formal recommendation to SOI concerning the appropriate disposition of the Program Appeal and the ultimate action to be taken by SOI. If the Appeal Committee denies the Program Appeal, then SOI's Final Notice of Sanction or Final Notice of Revocation, whichever is applicable, shall take effect ten (10) calendar days after the date of the Appeal Committee's decision. If, however, the Appeal Committee concurs with the Program Appeal, and thus recommends that SOI either withdraw its Final Notice of Sanction or Final Notice of Revocation or otherwise refrain from imposing the proposed sanctions on the affected Accredited Program, SOI's Chief Executive Officer shall decide in writing, within five (5) days after receipt of the decision of the Appeal Committee, whether to accept or reject the Appeal Committee's recommendation. If SOI accepts the Appeal Committee's recommendation, the Final Notice of Sanction or Revocation shall be deemed withdrawn immediately, and the Accredited Program shall be so informed in writing. If, alternatively, SOI rejects the Appeal Committee's recommendation, then SOI shall immediately give written notice of that decision to the affected Accredited Program, in which case the Final Notice of Sanction or Revocation (whichever applies) shall then take effect ten (10) calendar days after the date of SOI's written decision to reject the Appeal Committee's recommendation.
Emergency Suspension of Accreditation
Notwithstanding any other provision of this Article 6, SOI may issue a written emergency temporary suspension of accreditation if SOI determines that such action is reasonably necessary in order to prevent immediate and substantial harm to SOI, any of its Accredited Programs, or to the conduct of Special Olympics programs within the affected Accredited Program’s jurisdiction (“Emergency Suspension Notice”). The decision whether to suspend accreditation on an emergency basis shall be made by SOI's Chief Executive Officer or Chairman and shall be effective upon receipt by the Executive/Program Director and the chairperson of the Board of Directors/Program Committee of the affected Accredited Program. The Emergency Suspension Notice shall specify the specific reasons for the emergency suspension. Upon an affected Program’s receipt of an Emergency Suspension Notice, the Accredited Program shall immediately comply with Section 6.19. Emergency Suspension Notices shall remain in effect until withdrawn by SOI or until a Final Notice of Revocation is issued by SOI as provided in Section 6.16. Affected Accredited Programs may appeal an Emergency Suspension Notice through the process outlined in Section 6.16 only after the affected Accredited Program receives a Final Notice of Revocation. An affected Accredited Program shall not regain valid accreditation unless and until SOI withdraws the emergency suspension by written notice to the affected Accredited Program.
Effect of Termination or Expiration of Accreditation
If an Accredited Program's accreditation is revoked, denied or suspended on an emergency basis, or if an Accredited Program ceases, for any reason, to be accredited in accordance with these General Rules (individually and collectively, a "Termination of Accreditation"), then SOI and the affected Program shall observe the following:
Termination of License to Use SO Marks
Upon the effective date of Termination of Accreditation the Accredited Program's Accreditation License, including its rights and authority to use the name "Special Olympics," the SO Logo, any SO Marks, and all other copyrighted materials or other intellectual property owned by SOI, shall immediately terminate, without any further notice or action by SOI. The termination of the rights and authority granted pursuant to the Accreditation License, shall not release the Program from fulfilling any lawful and outstanding contractual obligations to third parties which were entered into by the Accredited Program in accordance with the General Rules.
Termination of Authority to Conduct Special
Olympics Programs and Activities
Upon the effective date of any Termination of Accreditation, the affected Accredited Program shall immediately cease all program and fund-raising activities in the name of or for the benefit of Special Olympics, and shall conduct only those limited activities and operations which SOI determines to be necessary and appropriate, with the supervision and approval of SOI.
Cooperation with SOI
Upon any Termination of Accreditation, the affected Accredited Program shall promptly take whatever steps may be reasonably required by SOI to facilitate SOI's accreditation of a new Accredited Program in its jurisdiction. Such steps shall include measures reasonably designed to ensure that all funds, in-kind donations, personal property, intellectual and other intangible property, and all other assets of any type which were acquired by the affected Accredited Program through its affiliation with Special Olympics, are made available, within that jurisdiction in accordance with SOI's directives for the organization and conduct of Special Olympics.
SOI's Enforcement Options
SOI shall have the right, either before or after a Termination of Accreditation, to obtain specific performance, by court order if necessary, of an Accredited Program's obligations under these General Rules and other Uniform Standards, or to seek comparable equitable or legal relief which may be available to SOI under applicable law.
In addition, SOI shall have the right to enforce restrictions on the use of the name "Special Olympics," any other SO Mark, or any copyrights or other intellectual property owned by SOI, by pursuing whatever remedies may be available to SOI under applicable law.
SOI’s decision not to suspend, revoke or deny accreditation of an Accredited Program or to impose other sanctions shall not preclude SOI from suspending, revoking or denying accreditation or imposing such sanctions at a later date. Further, SOI’s decision under circumstances that would justify such action to not impose any specific sanctions shall not constitute a waiver by SOI of any right SOI may have to pursue, or prevent SOI from pursuing, at any time, other legal or equitable remedies available to SOI under applicable law.
Sanctions Available to SOI
SOI's Power to Devise and Impose Sanctions
SOI shall have broad discretion, limited only by these General Rules and applicable law, to determine the nature and duration of sanctions SOI may elect to impose on an Accredited Program pursuant to this Article 6 if SOI determines that Grounds for Sanction exist.
SOI shall be entitled to consider, in addition to any other factors which it deems relevant, the following: (1) the severity and duration of the Program’s acts or omissions; (2) the degree of cooperation (or lack of cooperation) provided by the Accredited Program; (3) the extent to which the Grounds for Sanction have created risks for the health or well-being of athletes or jeopardized the legitimate interests of other Accredited Programs; (4) the extent to which the Grounds for Sanction are in part the product of circumstances which are or may be beyond the reasonable control of the Accredited Program; (5) the progress, if any, being made by the Accredited Program in its good-faith efforts to remedy the cited violations, and the likely effect of the proposed sanction on the continued operations of the Accredited Program; (6) the need for a strong response to deter the Accredited Program from future violations; and (7) the need for a strong response in order to deter other Accredited Programs from similar future violations.
Types of Sanctions Available to SOI
SOI may in its sole discretion impose, but is not limited to, any or all of the following sanctions for an Accredited Program as to which SOI determines that Grounds for Sanctions exist:
- (1) Place an Accredited Program on probation for a specified period of time and require the Accredited Program to correct during that probationary period the violations cited in SOI's Notice of Intent to Impose Sanctions or be subject to further sanction(s);
- Suspend the Accredited Program's eligibility to receive grants from SOI for defined periods of time, or until the Grounds for Sanction are corrected or eliminated;
- Reduce or eliminate any funds the Accredited Program would receive from SOI, until such time as the affected Accredited Program corrects or eliminates the Grounds for Sanction;
- Conduct, at the expense of the affected Accredited Program, a comprehensive independent financial audit of the Accredited Program's operations;
- Assemble and deploy an "Emergency Review Panel," comprising representatives of various constituencies served by the affected Accredited Program (such as athletes, family members, sponsors, and coaches) to conduct a comprehensive on-site evaluation of the Accredited Program's operations, and to report regularly to SOI concerning those operations until the Grounds for Sanction are corrected or eliminated;
- Require the Board of Directors/Program Committee of the affected Accredited Program to discharge specific personnel determined to be responsible for the Grounds for Sanction, and to replace such persons promptly with qualified individuals experienced with or well qualified to comply with the requirements of the Uniform Standards;
- Require the Executive/Program Director of the affected Accredited Program and/or other staff of the Accredited Program to attend specific training programs conducted by other Accredited Programs which SOI determines to be relevant and useful for avoiding future violations by the affected Accredited Program; and/or
- Deny or revoke the accreditation of the affected Accredited Program in accordance with this Article 6.
The above listing is not in a particular order of severity or priority.
Accreditation of Sub-Programs
Responsibilities of Accredited Programs
Accredited Programs must maintain proper and ongoing supervision and control over the operations of Sub-Programs. All accredited Sub-Programs shall be structured, managed and operated in accordance with these General Rules and the other Uniform Standards. An Accredited Program’s failure to ensure its respective Sub-Program(s) compliance with the General Rules and the other Uniform Standards may constitute Grounds for Sanction or Revocation, Denial or Termination of Accreditation of the Accredited Program by SOI.
Accreditation Standards and Procedures
Unless otherwise approved by SOI in writing in a specific instance, all Sub-Programs shall be accredited and re-accredited in accordance with the same standards and procedures provided for Accredited Programs. As provided in Section 6.07, however, a Sub-Program’s accreditation period cannot extend beyond the expiration of the Accredited Program’s accreditation. Accredited Programs that have or plan to have Sub-Programs shall develop standardized accreditation applications and accreditation licenses for the use of their Sub-Programs which conform substantially to SOI’s standard Accreditation Application and Accreditation License.
Review of Sub-Program Accreditation
Each Accredited Program which has accredited one or more Sub-Programs in its jurisdiction shall establish an effective system for conducting annual reviews of all aspects of the Sub-Program's operations, including its organization and governance, training programs, Games and Tournaments, progress in increasing the number of participating athletes, efforts in involving families and volunteers, fund-raising activities, fiscal soundness and accountability, public relations and public education efforts, adherence to the Uniform Standards, and other criteria not inconsistent with the Uniform Standards which the accrediting Accredited Program considers essential for the proper operation of its Sub-Program(s).
Revocation, Denial or Suspension of Revocation
Accredited Programs are responsible in the first instance for taking steps to revoke, deny or suspend the accreditation of any of its Sub-Programs whenever there are Grounds for Revocation as provided in Section 6.15. Every Accredited Program shall exercise this oversight and control in a diligent and effective manner, as a condition of maintaining its own accreditation. If, however, SOI determines that there are Grounds for Revocation with respect to a particular Sub-Program, SOI shall have the right, to suspend or revoke the accreditation of that Sub-Program in accordance with these General Rules, whether or not its accrediting Accredited Program has or is willing to take such action. In any case, all actions and procedures for suspending, revoking or denying the accreditation of a Sub-Program, whether taken by SOI or by the Accredited Program which originally accredited the Sub-Program, shall conform to the requirements of this Article 6.
Waivers of Non-Compliance with General Rules
SOI may, upon receipt of a written request from an Accredited Program, grant that Accredited Program a written waiver for its non-compliance with one or more specific provisions of these General Rules or with one or more specific Accreditation Standards (a "Compliance Waiver") if SOI determines, in its sole discretion, that a Compliance Waiver is appropriate because: (a) the Accredited Program cannot comply with the cited General Rules provision or particular Accreditation Standard without violating specific national laws which apply to that Accredited Program's operations; (b) compliance with the cited General Rules provision or particular Accreditation Standard would cause significant hardship for the Accredited Program; and/or (c) the Accredited Program, although unable to comply for justifiable reasons with the literal requirements of the cited General Rules provision or Accreditation Standard, is nevertheless in compliance with the intent of the relevant provision, or is able and willing to achieve that compliance in an alternative manner acceptable to SOI. Any Compliance Waiver issued by SOI shall be in writing and valid only for a stated period of time to be determined by SOI. The process described in this Section 6.22 for obtaining Compliance Waivers is not intended as a means for avoiding the imposition of sanctions under this Article 6, or as a means for seeking exceptions from provisions of the General Rules or other Uniform Standards with which an Accredited Program may disagree. Rather, the Compliance Waiver process shall be used by SOI solely as a vehicle for granting narrow exceptions to Accredited Programs in rare and isolated cases when the strict application or enforcement of these General Rules or the Accreditation Standard would unduly burden an Accredited Program or produce other results unintended by SOI, or require an Accredited Program to choose between complying with the Uniform Standards or complying with applicable national or local law.