A thorough and complete set of By-laws makes all the difference in a league. If your league does not have any, be prepared for it to crumble or at the very least have some rough times. I have run into a few instances of rules being tested and broken, both as member and commissioner.
I commission two leagues, my home league and a Saved by the Bell themed league. The two things I hate most about being commissioner is finding new owners and collecting money. I urge everyone to check their rules for taking on new owners and how fees are handled. Here are a few things to look for:
1. If an owner already paid but has left or is leaving, do they get a refund?
2. Does a new owner get any compensation if the orphan has no first round (or any) draft picks?
3. If there is more than one Orphan:
A. Can they have a dispersal draft?
B. Are players and picks available?
C. Can they trade dispersal draft picks?
D. Can non-orphan teams join?
4. How much are league fees?
5. Are fees due on the same day every year or does it change? (I recommend being due 3 weeks before the rookie draft)
6. Do owners have to pay additional fees in order to trade future (past the next draft) picks?
7. What is the consequence for paying late and are late payments allowed? If so, at what point are they not allowed?
The answers to those questions should make for smooth sailing in your leagues. Answering them in my leagues certainly has. The rules should be complete as possible but also understand they are fluid to an extent. Things change and new issues come up. For this, there needs to be a way for implementation of new rules. Can you answer these questions:
1. Are new rules brought to vote or does the commissioner decide?
2. If they are brought to vote, how many members are needed for it to pass? Is there a different number for the off-season and in-season?
3. Are there dates set for when new rules are implemented or are they immediate?
4. Can rules be brought to a vote at any time or are there dates set?
Here is brief over view of how my leagues work:
New rules are voted on by the whole league. In the off season rules need 8 votes to pass. New rules voted on between the end of the post season and July first are not implemented until July 1st. After July first rules need a unanimous vote or they do not take affect until the end of the coming post season. If a vote is unanimous after July first it starts immediately, this does not apply before July first.
I hope some of this can clear up things in your leagues before bad things happen.