Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Can I purchase a Team USA warm-up?
A: Only Team USA skaters, coaches and officials who are selected by the U.S. Figure Skating International Committee, U.S. Figure Skating International Management Subcommittee and/or the International Skating Union (ISU) to represent the United States at ISU events, including spring internationals, Junior Grand Prix, Senior Grand Prix, Senior B internationals and ISU championships, are eligible to receive or purchase the official Team USA warm up. For non-official warm ups and U.S. Figure Skating apparel, visit the U.S. Figure Skating Online Store.

Q: I want to compete internationally, but I'm not a member of Team USA. What should I do?
A: Any member is welcome to participate in a nonqualifying competition outside of North America provided he or she adheres to the following policy:
  • Skaters and coaches who are not part of Team USA or the Developmental International Team are not representatives of the United States and must represent their home club
  • Skaters cannot compete in any event, even representing their home club, that is on the ISU calendar (www.isu.org)
  • Skaters cannot compete in any event in Europe, even representing their home club, that is being used as a Team USA or Developmental International Team event (international assignments and results, developmental international assignments)
  • Skaters are allowed to compete in any nonqualifying competitions in Canada or Mexico regardless of whether the competitions are being used as Developmental International events, but skaters who are not part of the Developmental International Team will have to do so representing their home club
  • Skaters and coaches should notify the chair of the International Committee of their intent to compete in a nonqualifying foreign competition before making arrangements to ensure that the event is not being utilized as a Developmental International or Team USA event, and to allow U.S. Figure Skating to track all U.S. Figure Skating members who compete in a foreign country
  • Coaches who have skaters participating in a nonqualifying foreign competition may not use the competition toward increasing their PSA ranking and are not allowed to call themselves "international" or "World coach"
  • Skaters and coaches who choose to participate in nonqualifying foreign competitions do so knowing that:
    • The event will be treated as any other nonqualifying competition
    • They will be 100 percent responsible for all arrangements, expenses and requirements associated with the competition, including meeting deadlines, finding hotel rooms, etc.
    • U.S. Figure Skating will not be able to provide assistance or support for skaters attending nonqualifying foreign competitions (financial or otherwise)
    • Skaters attending nonqualifying foreign competitions will not be eligible to purchase or receive a Team USA warm up, team pin or Developmental International jacket
    • Skaters attending nonqualifying foreign competitions may not use the phrase "Team USA" on any apparel or publications
Q: If I am a coach, can I still compete as an eligible skater?
A: Yes, under ER 1.02C of the U.S. Figure Skating Rulebook, "a paid instructor in skating and related activities ... may participate [as an eligible skater] with all the privileges under the provision of these Eligibility Rules."

Q: Can I coach a synchronized skating team and also skate as a member of that team?
A: Yes, a synchronized coach is treated as any other coach in figure skating; thus, coaching a synchronized skating team does not threaten your eligibility.

Q. Can a sponsor receive a tax benefit from supporting an athlete(s)?
A. It depends on whether this is a business or a personal sponsor. If the sponsor is a private person wanting to assist the athlete with his or her expenses, the answer is no. If the sponsor is a business wanting to sponsor the athlete, the answer is yes. Tell the potential sponsor to talk to its accountants to find out the best way for it to handle the sponsorship. One option for a business to get tax benefits from a sponsorship is to use the athlete as an advertisement, since advertising can be a tax write-off for a business. Examples of how to do this are having the athlete carry a duffel bag with the business logo on it, or the athlete can wear a warm-up suit with the logo on it. These are just ideas; the best suggestion is to have the business check with its accountants regarding the specific laws and regulations.

Q. Can the sponsor donate to the Memorial Fund and earmark it for a specific athlete to receive the tax benefits from the Memorial Fund's nonprofit status?
A. No, you cannot donate to a nonprofit organization and earmark it for a specific person. The business can donate to the Memorial Fund, but the money will be put into a general account and distributed to many U.S. Figure Skating athletes. The same applies when donating to a club with nonprofit status; you can donate to the club but not to a specific athlete. The money will go into the club's general account and be allocated according to the requests of the club's Board of Directors.

Q. How does the athlete accept the sponsor's money?
A. The athlete may have a "skating account" that the sponsor can write checks to, or it can simply make the check payable to the athlete. This is a decision for the athlete and sponsor.

Q. After a sponsor has been found, when should an athlete worry about retaining his/her eligibility?
A. If the sponsor asks the athlete to participate in an event that is not sanctioned by U.S. Figure Skating, the athlete can still accept the sponsorship but must first complete a form called the Eligible Skater's Compensation Agreement (ESCA). Once this is completed, submitted and approved by the executive director, the athlete's eligibility will be protected. The chart below can help determine when an ESCA is needed.
Athlete Will Receive Compensation Athlete Will Not Receive Compensation
U.S. Figure Skating-sanctioned Event ESCA NOT needed BUT athlete's name, U.S. Figure Skating number and compensation amount must be attached to the sanction application and submitted to U.S. Figure Skating. ESCA NOT needed but sanction application must be submitted to U.S. Figure Skating by host club
Non-sanctioned Event

ESCA must be completed and submitted to U.S. Figure Skating along with the applicable processing fee (See Processing Fee *** for explanation )

ESCA must be completed and submitted to U.S. Figure Skating along with a $10 processing fee
ISI-sanctioned Event
(Ice Skating Institute)
ESCA must be completed and submitted to U.S. Figure Skating along with the applicable processing fee (See Processing Fee *** for explanation ) ESCA NOT needed but athlete's names must be submitted to U.S. Figure Skating if the athlete has skated novice or above for the past two years at U.S. Championships
Q. Does an ESCA need to be approved before an athlete can participate in an event not sanctioned by U.S. Figure Skating?
A. Yes, the completed ESCA must be completed, submitted and approved by the executive director before the athlete can participate.

Q. Are advertisements considered events not sanctioned by U.S. Figure Skating?
A. Yes. When a sponsor asks an athlete for him/her to appear in an advertisement such as brochure or a website, an ESCA must be completed, submitted and approved by the executive director. This also applies to appearances and exhibitions.

Q. Is there a processing fee involved with each ESCA?
A. Yes. For a skater receiving compensation in a non-sanctioned event, the contractor agrees to pay a nonrefundable processing fee to U.S. Figure Skating equal to 10 percent of the amount of payment to the skater is being compensated or $150, whichever is less. For a skater who does not receive compensation in a non-sanction event, a nonrefundable $10 processing fee must be submitted with the draft ESCA to help cover administrative expenses. The processing fee must be received by U.S. Figure Skating before it will consider whether or not to approve the ESCA. Payment can be sent via check or credit card to U.S. Figure Skating.

Q. How will I know that my ESCA has been approved?
A. After the ESCA has been approved, the skater and contractor will receive a special approval email along with an attachment of the ESCA approval sheet.

Q. How does a current U.S. skater get released to compete for a different country/federation?
A. The other federation must send U.S. Figure Skating an "Official Release Request Letter" asking for the release of the skater in question. After the release has been approved, an "Official Release Letter" will be sent to the other federation and the skater issuing the formal release.

Q. What are the rules regarding the eligibility of a U.S. citizen competing for another ISU member?
A. Skaters should refer to U.S. Figure Skating Rules 3060-3072 for details.

Q: Does U.S. Figure Skating have any age requirements for coaches?
A: No, U.S. Figure Skating has no rules regarding the age of coaches. However, state and federal laws regulate minimum age requirements for employment. Information on such regulations can be found at www.dol.gov/dol/topic/youthlabor/agerequirements.htm. It is also important to note that coaches under the age of 16 will not be able to obtain coaches liability insurance.

Q: Does U.S. Figure Skating offer liability insurance to coaches?
A: Yes, coaches liability coverage is available. Read the fact sheet here (PDF). To purchase coaches liability coverage, click here.

Q: I've seen different level synchronized skating teams doing different types of singles and pairs type elements in competition. How do I know what elements are illegal for my team?
A: All of the rules that govern skating standards and program requirements for synchronized skating can be found in the beginning with Rule 4600. The U.S. Figure Skating Rulebook can be found online here.

Q: My synchronized skating team is planning on competing in the sectional championships next month. The close of entries has passed and I've submitted my roster, but a skater just quit the team. If I can find another skater, can I replace her?
A: While additions to the team roster are not permitted following the close of entries for the sectional championship or U.S. Synchronized Team Skating Championship, substitutions to the roster are (i.e., you can remove Jenny and replace her with Susie if Susie is already on the roster, but you can't add Susie). The specifics on the procedure for doing so are found in Rule 3253. Use the Synchronized Roster Change (PDF) form to do this.