US Programs Only - Supplement to Special Olympics General Rules

Article 3 | Article 4 | Article 5 | Article 7 | Article 8 | Article 10

Preface: This supplement to the Special Olympics Official General Rules contains those General Rules specific to the United States Accredited Programs. The supplement should be read together with the General Rules.

ARTICLE 3: Special Olympics Sports Training and Competition

Section 3.07: Awards

3.07(B): Obtaining Awards
U.S. Programs shall obtain all awards to be distributed during Special Olympics competitions only from supplier(s) designated in their region in writing by SOI as the official authorized supplier(s) of Special Olympics athletic awards, as required by Article 3. SOI shall determine the size, design, composition and quality of all medals, ribbons and other athletic awards to be used during Special Olympics competitions as provided in the SOI Sports Rules. If SOI has not designated any official authorized supplier for a specific area of the world, the Program may obtain medals, ribbons, and other awards for supplies of their choice, provided that all such medals, ribbons, and awards comply with specifications established by SOI from time to time.

Section 3.09: Conduct of SOI-Sanctioned Games

SOI shall determine all matters concerning the organization and conduct of Regional Games, Multi-Program Games and U.S. Multi-State Games (which are referred to, individually and collectively, using the generic term "Games" in this Section 3.09). Unless otherwise determined by SOI, the following general policies shall govern the conduct of such Games:

3.09 (a): Frequency
Such Games may be held in accordance with whatever schedule SOI determines is in the best interests of Special Olympics, except that no Regional Games, Multi-Program Games or U.S. Multi-State Games shall be held within the six (6) months before the starting date of any World Games, or within six (6) months after the official closing date of any World Games.

3.09 (b): Location
SOI shall determine the location of such Games. SOI shall also select and contract with any GOC which is to be authorized by SOI to organize, finance and conduct such Games, or with any Accredited Program which is to have the responsibility for hosting or taking primary responsibility in planning such Games. SOI shall select the site for such Games in accordance with the procedures and criteria specified in the World/Regional Games Charter.

3.09 (c): Governing Rules
All such Games shall be conducted only with SOI's authorization, and in accordance with the SOI Sports Rules, the World/Regional Games Charter, and the other Uniform Standards.

3.09 (d): Participating Programs; Eligible Athletes
SOI shall determine which Accredited Programs are eligible to participate in particular Games, and shall also establish the eligibility requirements for the participating athletes other than those set forth in Article 2. SOI shall have the sole authority to establish binding quotas governing the overall size and composition of the delegations of athletes, coaches and other persons to be sent by Accredited Programs to such Games, as further provided in Section 3.08(d).

Section 3.13: Volunteers

All Accredited Programs and GOC's should use volunteers in all aspects of their programs to the greatest extent possible, consistent with the requirements of these General Rules. Each Accredited Program shall institute and enforce written procedures for screening, training and monitoring volunteers. U.S. Programs and their respective Sub-Programs shall comply specifically with the requirements of this Section 3.13 in utilizing volunteers.

U.S. Programs and all GOCs operating within the United States shall comply with the following requirements:

3.13 (a): Classification of U.S. Program Volunteers
Volunteers to U.S. Programs shall be classified into three functional categories, as follows:
(1) "Class A" volunteers are those who (i) are or may be in regular close physical contact with athletes, such as coaches, drivers, and overnight hosts, or (ii) have or may have administrative and/or fiscal authority.
(2) "Class B" volunteers are those who have or may have only casual or limited contact with athletes, such as Committee members and officials.
(3) "Class C" volunteers are those who volunteer for Special Olympics for a single day or for a single event, and thus have the most limited contact with Special Olympics athletes.

3.13 (b): U.S. Program Volunteer Registration Requirements
Each U.S. Program shall require all volunteers to register with that U.S. Program prior to their participation in Special Olympics. The required procedure for completing that registration will depend on the classification of the volunteer, as follows:
(1) Class C volunteers may register on the same day of their participation (but before that participation actually begins), by providing the U.S. Program with their full name, complete address, telephone number, and if applicable, the name of the civic group or corporate sponsor with which they are associated.
(2) Class A and Class B volunteers must provide all of the information required in subsection (1), as well as the following additional information:
i. positive photo identification (such as a driver's license or student identification);
ii. the names, addresses and telephone numbers of at least two personal references who are not family members; and
iii. written responses to the following questions;
(A) Do you use illegal drugs?
(B) Have you ever been convicted of a criminal offense?
(C) Have you ever been charged with neglect, abuse or assault?
(D) Has your driver's license ever been suspended or revoked in any state or other jurisdiction?
(3) Class A volunteers shall also, in addition to providing all of the information required by subsections (1) and (2) above, provide written authorization to the U.S. Program for the conduct of a criminal background check with appropriate state and local police authorities.

3.13 (c): Background Investigations
Each U.S. Program shall institute procedures for further investigating the backgrounds of any prospective volunteers who respond affirmatively to any of the questions listed in subsection (2) (iii) above. In addition, each U.S. Program shall comply with the laws and regulations of its own jurisdiction with respect to its screening and supervision of volunteers. Where permitted by such laws, each U.S. Program shall, using the authorization described in subsection (b) (3) above, arrange for a background check to be made of any Class A volunteer, who responds affirmatively to any of the questions listed in subsection (2) (iii) above, with such check to be completed satisfactorily prior to that Volunteer’s participation in Special Olympics.

3.13 (d): Orientation and Training
All volunteers shall receive and be required to review, before the start of their participation, written information prepared by the U.S. Program concerning the general responsibilities of a Special Olympics volunteer and policies relative to appropriate individual personal behavior. In addition, Class A and Class B volunteers shall also receive additional in-person orientation and training conducted by staff of the U.S. Program before the start of their participation. SOI shall have the right to inspect and approve all volunteer orientation and training materials used by any Accredited Program in recruiting or training volunteers.

ARTICLE 4: SOI's Governance of Special Olympics

Section 4.18: Registration and Protection of SO Marks

No U.S. Program (or Sub-Program accredited by a U.S. Program as permitted by these General Rules), Sub-Region or U.S.-based Advisory Committee 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 state or local governmental authority or with the United States Patent and Trademark Office without SOI's prior written consent. In addition, no U.S. Program, Sub-Program within a U.S. Program, Sub-Region or U.S.-based Advisory Committee may file or prosecute any claim for misappropriation, infringement or other misuse of the SO Marks or other intellectual property associated with Special Olympics without SOI's prior written consent.

ARTICLE 5: Governance and Operation of Accredited Programs

Section 5.01: Structural Requirements

Each U.S. Program shall be separately incorporated as a non-profit corporation under the laws of its state, and shall qualify for and obtain tax-exempt status under Section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of the United States. SOI shall approve the form and type of organization of each U.S. Program at the time that SOI grants or renews accreditation for that U.S. Program under Article 5.

5.01 (c)
U.S. Programs
Each U.S. Program shall be separately incorporated as a non-profit corporation under the laws of its state, and shall qualify for and obtain tax-exempt status under Section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of the United States. SOI shall approve the form and type of organization of each U.S. Program at the time that SOI grants or renews accreditation for that U.S. Program under Article 5.

Within U.S. Programs
Sub-Programs accredited to operate within the jurisdictions of U.S. Programs may not be separate legal entities. Rather, each Sub-Program shall be operated as a division or branch of the accrediting U.S. Program, in order to ensure that the accrediting U.S. Program maintains full control over the assets and operations of its Sub-Programs.

Section 5.1: Compliance with Voluntary Standards

SOI voluntarily complies with the non-profit management and fund-raising standards issued in the United States from time to time by certain major charity monitoring groups, such as the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance. U.S. Programs must use their best efforts to comply with these voluntary standards, as well as with any other standards developed by similar organizations within a particular U.S. Program's jurisdiction regarding the governance, fiscal responsibility, public accountability and fund-raising practices of non-profit organizations (collectively, the "Voluntary Standards"). National Programs must also use their respective best efforts to comply with any equivalent Voluntary Standards which are issued by organizations based outside of the United States for the purpose of guiding and fostering the ethical and efficient management of non-profit organizations in their respective jurisdictions. SOI's policy is to encourage full compliance with all such Voluntary Standards both within and outside of the United States (so long as such compliance would not otherwise cause an Accredited Program to be in violation of the Uniform Standards), in order to promote responsible governance, fiscal responsibility, public accountability, and ethical fund-raising practices by all Special Olympics programs.

ARTICLE 7: Fund-Raising and Development

Section 7.02: SOI's Exclusive Authority

SOI has the exclusive right and authority to conduct (or to authorize third parties to conduct) any or all of the following activities for the purpose of raising funds for the benefit of SOI and/or Special Olympics:

7.02 (c): Multi-Jurisdictional Activities
To arrange for (or to approve in advance all agreements made by Accredited Programs concerning) all fund-raising activities, including but not limited to, Corporate Sponsorships, cause-related marketing promotions and/or fund-raising or promotional events which will be conducted on a multi-state basis within the United States, through activities conducted in the jurisdictions of two or more U.S. Programs;

7.01 (i): Planned and Deferred Gifts.
To develop uniform written guidelines for soliciting and administering planned or deferred gifts or bequests from members of the general public (the "SO Planned Giving Guidelines") and to authorize the creation of any separate or discrete funds or trusts which seek to pool donations resulting from multi-state or multi-jurisdictional solicitations for ultimate redistribution among two or more Accredited Programs, such as pooled income funds ("Commingled Fund(s)"); once SOI develops and issues the SO Planned Giving Guidelines, any Accredited Program may solicit planned and deferred gifts and bequests within its jurisdiction, so long as such solicitations comply with the minimum requirements of the SO Planned Giving Guidelines; in addition, SOI shall develop the SO Planned Giving Guidelines, including guidelines concerning the permitted creation or use of Commingled Funds by Accredited Programs, in collaboration with a Planned Giving Task Force to be appointed by SOI; the Planned Giving Task Force shall include representatives of Accredited Programs with experience or interest in the solicitation of planned or deferred gifts or bequests.

7.02 (j): U.S. National and International Direct Marketing Activities; Centralized Direct Mail Program
To conduct, or to authorize third parties to conduct, all direct marketing fund-raising projects for the benefit of SOI or Special Olympics, including direct mail and telemarketing solicitations, on an international or regional basis, or nationally or on a multi-Program basis within the United States. Within the United States, SOI conducts a national, centralized direct mail program (the "CDMP") for the joint benefit of SOI and participating U.S. Programs, which may voluntarily elect to participate in the CDMP in lieu of conducting their own direct mail solicitations. SOI may also develop similar direct mail or other direct marketing programs on a national, Regional or global level, for voluntary participation by Accredited Programs on terms to be set forth in agreements between SOI and each participating Program.

Section 7.03: Authority of Accredited Programs

Each Accredited Program is authorized to engage in the types of fund-raising activities described in this Section 7.03, but only if and to the extent that: (i) all programs, events, activities, and promotions associated with such fund-raising activities are conducted entirely within the Accredited Program's jurisdiction; (ii) the activities are conducted only in the name of, or for the express support of, the Accredited Program (such as "Special Olympics Arkansas"), and not under the name "Special Olympics;" and (iii) the activities described are conducted in accordance with the other requirements of these General Rules, including the Sponsorship Recognition Requirements in Section 7.06. Each Accredited Program may:

7.03 (d): Direct Marketing Activities
Conduct, or authorize reputable and experienced third-party fund-raisers to conduct, mass direct mail solicitations and/or mass telephone solicitations of businesses or of the general public within that Accredited Program's jurisdiction (unless, in the United States, that Program has elected to participate exclusively in the CDMP by written agreement with SOI, or if applicable, a Program has a written contract with SOI through which that National Program has agreed to participate exclusively in a national, regional or international direct mail program conducted by SOI).

Section 7.04: Fund-Raising Responsibilities of Accredited Programs

7.04 (o): Tax Exemption Considerations
Every Accredited Program shall conduct all fund-raising activities in a manner which complies with the requirements in its jurisdiction for maintaining its exemption from taxes. Where legally permissible and feasible, each Accredited Program shall structure its fund-raising activities so as to avoid or at least minimize the payment of sales, use, excise or similar taxes. In the United States, no Accredited Program may engage in any activities, whether or not they are characterized as "fund-raising" in nature or purpose, which could give rise to a determination by the Internal Revenue Service that the Accredited Program is involved in a trade or business which is unrelated to the Accredited Program's charitable purpose, or which could result in the Accredited Program's being deemed by the Internal Revenue Service to be receiving unrelated business income. For purposes of the preceding sentence, if a proposed fund-raising project raises doubts about whether pursuing it would cause the Accredited Program to receive unrelated business income or to incur potential liability for taxes on such income, the Accredited Program must resolve those doubts by avoiding involvement in such a project, unless the Accredited Program obtains SOI's prior written authorization to conduct or participate in that project.

ARTICLE 8: Financial Arrangements; Fiscal Accountability; Insurance

Section 8.09: Insurance Requirements

8.09 (b): U.S. Programs' Required Participation in SOI's Insurance Program
All U.S. Programs shall participate in SOI's uniform insurance program, in order to ensure that all U.S. Programs receive uniform insurance coverage (the Special Olympics Corporate Insurance Program or “SOCIP”). Through SOCIP SOI shall be responsible for making arrangements with appropriate insurance brokers to place insurance coverage for commercial general liability, non-owned and hired automobile liability and hired physical damage, umbrella liability, participant accident medical expenses, volunteer medical malpractice, directors' and officers' liability, and liability for crimes or fraud by Special Olympics employees for SOI, and for each U.S. Program as an additional named insured. Each U.S. Program shall comply with all requirements of SOCIP, and shall pay its respective share of the insurance premiums for that coverage in accordance with uniform requirements established by SOI. All U.S. Programs shall also cooperate with SOI's insurers and risk managers in monitoring and handling all claims made under these policies, and in identifying the types and financial limits of insurance coverage which should be included in SOCIP.

ARTICLE 10: Definitions; Structure of Special Olympics

"U.S. Multi-State Games" means any Summer Games and/or Winter Games offered or conducted on a multi-state basis within the United States, but not on a national basis, by SOI or SOI's authorized designees, or by two or more U.S. Programs with prior authorization from SOI.

"U.S. Program" means the Accredited Program licensed and authorized by SOI as provided in these General Rules to operate Special Olympics programs within the boundaries of a particular state or territory of the United States.

"U.S. Program Games" means any Summer Games and/or Winter Games offered or conducted on a state-wide basis by a U.S. Program.