There is a seemingly never-ending list of differences between mainstream sports and the world of Roller Derby. Part of the attraction and growing popularity for Derby are the differences. Roller Derby is truly a unique sport in so many ways. However, just because it is unique does not mean that it cannot benefit from some of the rules that other sports have developed over a long period of time.
The idea of trade is practically non-existent in Roller Derby. This is because the skaters participate in Roller Derby in addition to everyday life and you cannot trade skaters when they are paying their own funds to skate for your league. The idea of transfers is a different story. Skater X wants to transfer to a different league that is: A) A higher quality league in their opinion, and B) Shares their idea of how the league or team should be run. There has not been a need for rules regarding trades or transfers because there has not been a problem with the process.
A new situation has been introduced recently in terms of transfer-type skating. Some skaters are becoming volunteer mercenaries, collaborating with other skaters to have several of them join one particular league for a tournament. This is a slap in the face to a skater’s home league, especially when the skater’s home league and mercenary league are both skating in the tournament. The skater is telling the league that they skated for up to this point that they do not care about them and that they (the skater) has a better chance to win by ditching their own league and teaming up with other people. It is also disrespectful to the league that is being hijacked by telling the skaters that worked to get the league to where it is that they are being replaced. It is disrespectful to WFTDA by putting a team of skaters together last minute that did not earn a spot in the tournament as a team.
There have not been regulations for this type of behavior because modern day Roller Derby has not had to deal with it up to this point. One would think that a skater would act in a manner that makes sense by skating in a league that they practice with and live by. Signing up for a league that a skater will only skate with at a tournament is silly and cheapens the sport. There is no point to calling Roller Derby a team sport if pick-up teams are allowed compete in tournaments that they did not earn a spot in. Every major sport has rules and regulations to not allow this type of behavior, maybe it is time for Roller Derby to adopt some of these regulations.