FLAG FOOTBALL RULES
1. The game is played between two (2) teams of seven (7). Each team must have at least five (5) players on the field in order to begin the game.
1. Shirts must be long enough to tuck in so that they remain tucked in the pants/shorts during the entire down or short enough so there is a minimum 4" from the bottom of the shirt to the player’s waistline. Shirts may not contain knots, have frayed sleeves or edges, or an opening more than 4” bellow the armpit. Flag belts must remain outside of the shirt/jersey during play
2. Jewelry: No jewelry or any other item deemed dangerous by the Intramural Staff may be worn such as bracelets, earrings, necklaces, ect. Any player wearing exposed permanent jewelry (i.e. body piercings) will not be permitted to play.
3. Shoes: Regulation rubber-soled cleats and tennis shoes are the only permissible footwear. Sandals, street shoes, boots, or metal spikes are not allowed. No player will be allowed to participate in bare feet. No steel or screw-in cleats.
4. Headwear: Players may wear a knit or stocking cap (no caps with bills) and/or soft, pliable, nonabrasive gloves. Bandanas and other head gear which are tied with a knot are not permitted.
5. Players may wear soft, pliable pads or braces on the leg, knee, and/or ankle. Braces may not have any exposed metal and/or screws. Braces made of any rigid material (including plastic) must be covered with a padded sleeve or at least one-half inch padding for safety reasons. Under no circumstances will a player wearing a cast or splint be permitted to play. Elbow pads are not permitted.
6. Tape or bandages of the hand, wrist, forearm, or elbow are prohibited except to protect an injury. This must be approved by the Intramural Supervisor before the game begins. Players may wear a soft, pliable wrist/forearm band that contains plays.
7. If eyeglasses are worn, they must be unbreakable. Each player is responsible for the safety of his/her own glasses. Sunglasses may be worn as long as they are pliable and are not rigid.
8. Foreign Substance: Any slippery or sticky substance of a foreign nature on equipment, clothing, or an exposed part of the body is illegal.
9. Men will use the regular size, NCAA or NFHS football, while women and CoRec may use either a regular or intermediate-size football. Game balls will not be provided as teams must use their own footballs. Officials will not handle the football; the offense is responsible for the ball at all times.
10. Playbooks are allowed; however, they may not be worn or placed in a position that is not visible to other participants or officials.
1. A game shall consist of two halves with a two-minute intermission. Each half shall consist of twenty (20) minutes with the clock stopping once at the two-minute warning of the second half. The clock will stop at two minutes left in the game and under for the following reasons:
A. Penalties/Inadvertent whistles (may start on referee's ready-to-play whistle)
B. Scoring plays
C. Incomplete passes/out of bounds
D. Injured players (this is an officials timeout)
E. First downs (until the ball is set in play by referee)
F. Official and team time-outs
G. Change of possession.
2. Delay of Game: After a ball is declared ready for play, the offensive team has twenty-five (25) seconds after the referee has sounded the whistle to put the ball in play.
3. Each half may be extended by an untimed down if:
A. There is an accepted live ball foul that does not carry a loss of down for the offense
B. A touchdown
C. A double foul
D. An inadvertent whistle.
4. Each team is allowed two (2) timeouts per game.
5. Overtime: There are no overtime periods during the regular season. Regular season game may end in a tie. However, overtime periods will occur if necessary for playoff games. An overtime period consists of a series of four (4) downs by each team from the 10-yard line, the object of which is to score a touchdown. If a touchdown is not scored in four (4) downs it is a turnover. If the score remains tied after one overtime period, play will proceed to a second period and so on until a winner is determined. All overtime periods are played toward the same goal line and are untimed expect for the 25 second play clock initiated before each play. Offense, defense and direction of play for the first overtime will be decided in a coin toss similar to the one at the start of the game. Only one coin toss shall take place in overtime, options shall alternate between teams if there are any additional overtimes needed.
6. Game time is forfeit time. A team must have a minimum number of players to start a game. If there is fewer than the required number of players, the opposing captain has the option of taking the win or waiting for the minimum number of players to show. If a team chooses to wait, it will be required to wait until the opposing team has the minimum number of players present or a maximum of ten (10) minutes. The game clock will start at the time the game was scheduled for and run continuously until both teams are ready for play or the 10 minute wait has been elapsed.
Start of Game
1. A captains meeting will take place before the game. A method of deciding choice will be determined by the head official of the game (i.e. coin toss, odd or even, rock/paper/scissors, ect.).
2. The winner of the pre-game decision shall have the first choice of options:
B. Which goal to defend
C. To defer the choice of A or B until the second half
3. After possession and direction have been established, the ball will placed at the 14-yard line and the game play clock will be initiated on the referee’s whistle.
1. Series of Downs: A team in possession of the ball shall have four (4) consecutive downs to advance to the next zone by scrimmage.
2. Zone Line to Gain: The zone line to gain in any series shall be the zone in advance of the ball, unless distance has been lost due to penalty or failure to gain. In such case, the original zone in advance of the ball at the beginning of the series of downs is the zone line to gain (double stakes). The zones formed by the marking of the twenty and forty yard lines are used to determine the distance to be gained.
3. Line of Scrimmage: Offensive and defensive lines of scrimmage are separated by two (2) markers (pucks) approximately one (1) yard apart. The offense is required to have at least four (4) players on the line of scrimmage for the line to be set and ready for play. There is no requirement for defensive players to line-up along the line of scrimmage.
4. Motion: One offensive player may be in motion at a time. At the time of the snap the player may only move parallel with the line of scrimmage and not laterally down field. The player in motion must remain behind the line of scrimmage. Exception: Players may avoid this penalty by coming set for one full second prior to the snap.
A. The ball must be snapped backwards off the ground. Both of the
center’s feet must remain behind the line of scrimmage before and during the snap. The ball may be snapped between the center’s legs or off to the side. The snap must be one quick continuous motion backwards. Once the ball has left the ground the defense may rush.
B. The player receiving the snap must be at least two (2) yards behind the
offensive line of scrimmage.
A. All players are eligible to catch a forward pass. The passer’s feet must
be behind the line of scrimmage when the ball leaves the passer’s hand.
B. Only one (1) forward pass can be thrown per down.
C. One foot must touch the ground in-bounds for a pass to be completed.
NOTE: An offensive player may run across the line of scrimmage, then run back behind the line of scrimmage and throw a forward pass OR toss the ball backward to another player who can then throw a forward pass as long as such pass abides by the provisions of this section.
A. On fourth down, the referee will ask the offensive team captain to
select if they wish to punt or try to reach the zone-line-to-gain (go for it). Once a decision is reached, the referee will announce the decision to the defense. If the offense declares to punt, then wants to change their decision, they may do so after a charged timeout or an accepted penalty in which the down is to be replayed.
B. The kicker must catch and kick the ball immediately in one continuous motion.
C. The kicking team must have four (4) players on the line of scrimmage
during a punt.
D. Neither team may advance beyond their respective scrimmage line
until the ball is kicked.
E. Punts that have not been touched by a player are NOT dead while
bouncing on the ground. When a punt touches a player from either team and then hits the ground, it is dead at that spot and belongs to the receiving team. If a punt is muffed by the receiving team and caught in the air by the kicking team, it is dead at that spot and the kicking team retains possession, first and line-to-gain. If caught in the air by the receiving team, they may advance the ball.
F. Punts may not be returned out of the endzone.
G. There are no fair catches. Fair catch signals shall be disregarded.
8. Fumbles: A fumble is dead at the point the ball touches the ground, if fumbled backwards, or at the spot where the fumble occurred if fumbled forward. The ball goes to the team who last had possession with the resulting loss of down. A fumble that lands in or behind the goal line results in a touchback or safety.
9. Handoffs: Handing of the ball is allowed forward or backward at any time.
10. The offensive is responsible for retrieving the ball after every play. In case of inclement weather, a towel may be used. The towel must be kept in between the field markers (pucks) at the line of scrimmage before and during the play.
A. All touchdowns are worth six (6) points. The player who scores must
be deflaged by a referee before the points are awarded. Illegally secured flag belts will result in a penalty and no touchdown. Belts removed by players and not officials will be considered illegally secured.
B. After the touchdown the offense will have options of extra point
attempts. One (1) point from the 3-yard line, two (2) points from the 10 yard line, and three (3) points from the 20-yard line. Once the offense has declared their choice they may change their decision only with a charged timeout for either team. A team’s choice cannot be changed if a penalty occurs. If the defensive team intercepts a pass the play is now over and the try is no good.
C. A safety occurs when a runner carries the ball from the field of play to across his/her own goal line, and it becomes dead there in his/her team’s possession. A safety results in two (2) points for the defensive and possession of the next offensive series. D. Penalties during a scoring play on the defense: If the defense commits a live ball penalty the offense may take the penalty during the try (have the distance to the goal) or take the penalty at the succeeding spot (the 14 yardline after the try)
12. Blocking: Screen blocking is allowed and shall take place without contact. Any use of the hands, arms, legs, elbows or body to initiate contact by an offensive player is illegal. Players also must allow one full step when setting a block behind a stationary opponent and may not stop to set a block so close to an opponent that he or she cannot stop or change direction to avoid contact.
13. Rushing: Defensive players must maneuver around the offense’s screen block. They may not use their hands and arms to initiate contact to gain an advantage on the blocker.
14. Other Player Restrictions:
A. No player shall make contact with an opponent that is deemed
unnecessary. (Illegal Contact 10 yards.)
B. No clipping or tripping. (Illegal Contact 10 yards.)
C. No pulling or removing flag belts from an offensive player who is not in
possession of the ball. (Illegal Contact 10 yards.)
D. The ball carrier may not run through a defensive player but must make
an effort to evade the defense. (Illegal Contact 10 yards.)
E. No flag guarding. The ball carrier may not guard their flag by blocking
with their hands/arms or the ball, thereby denying the opponent the opportunity to pull the flag. (Flag Guarding 10 yards.)
F. No stiff arms are allowed by the ball carrier. (Illegal Contact 10 yards.)
G. No stripping the ball by the defense from an offensive player who is in
control of the ball. (Illegal Contact 10 yards.)
H. No tampering with flag belts. Flag belts must be fastened around the
waist using the end of the clip. (Illegally securing flag belt 10 yards, lose of down, player ejection)
I. Any player involved in a fight or who leaves the bench during a fight will be ejected without question.
15. Captain or on field spokesman should be ready to render a decision following any penalty on the opposing team.
16. Teams may designate a coach for each game. The coach must be present at the captain’s meeting. The coach is allowed to be on the field in between plays but must clear the field before play begins. Only one coach for each team may be on the field at a time. Coaches are allowed to call timeouts.
1. If a team is ahead by 19 points at the two-minute warning in the second half, the game is over.
1. Substitutions are allowed at any time the ball is dead.
2. Players entering the game must be ready for play with correct equipment.
1. Team Composition:
A. A total of eight (8) players, four (4) men and four (4) women, may be
on the field at one time.
B. A team may also participate with seven (7) or six (6) players in a combination of:
a. Three (3) men and three (3) women
b. Four (4) men and two (2) women.
c. Two (2) men and four (4) women
d. Four (4) men and three (3) women.
e. Four (4) women and three (3) men.
A. Each team may use either a regular, intermediate, youth or junior size football may be used.
3. Game Play:
A. Each series will begin with an "open" play. Once a male to male
forward pass is completed, the following plays will be "closed" until a male to female, female to male, or female to female forward pass is completed. This completion must result in positive yards. Once this condition is met, play is "re-opened" with another "open" play permitted.
B. Open and closed plays are determined by the action of a legal forward
pass and catch. Therefore, throughout a play there may be multiple possessions by males or females but the status of the next play is determined by the initial pass and catch.
C. A penalty does not negate any passes on a play concerning open and closed. A male to male completion called back for any reason other than illegal forward pass will still result in a closed play to follow.
D. The "open/closed" status of a play is not affected when a team scores
a touchdown. The PAT's status is determined by the previous play that scored the touchdown.
E. A male runner cannot be the first player advance the ball past the line
of scrimmage (Illegal Male Advancement, 5 yards from the previous spot & loss of down). There are no restrictions concerning runs by females.
F. If a female scores a touchdown, it is worth nine (9) points. If a female
throws a legal forward pass which results as a touchdown to any member of her team, prior to a change of possession, the point value is nine (9). All other touchdowns are six (6) points.
F. PATs count the same regardless of who scores, one (1) point from the 3-yard line, two (2) points from the 10-yard line, and three (3) points from the 20-yard line.
4. Mercy Rule
A. If a team is ahead by 25 points at the two-minute warning in the
second half, the game is over.
Elite Rule Changes
A. A game shall consist of four quarters with a two-minute intermission. Each quarter shall consist of ten (10) minutes with the clock stopping once at the two-minute warning of the second half. The clock will stop at two minutes left and under in the second (2nd) and forth (4th) quarters for the same reasons regular flag football clock stoppages.
B. Each team will receive two time outs per half
Explanation of General Penalties
1. Delay of Game (dead ball foul, 5 yards from the previous spot): The ball must be put in play properly and legally and any action or inaction by either team which tends to prevent this is illegal delay of game. This includes:
A. Interrupting the 25 second count for any reason, except for a time-out allowed by the referee.
B. Consuming more than 25 seconds in putting the ball in play after it is
marked ready for play.
C. Deliberately advancing the ball after it has been declared dead.
D. Snapping the ball prior to the ready to play.
2. Encroachment/Offisides (dead ball foul, 5 yards from the previous spot): Following the ready-to-play whistle and prior to the snap, no player on defense may encroach, touch the ball, or contact an opponent in any way. It is encroachment for any player to break his/her scrimmage line plane. It is a foul as soon as the player initially enters the neutral zone.
3. False Start (dead ball foul, 5 yards from the previous spot): No offensive player shall simulate a charge or start of a play.
4. Illegal Formation (live ball foul, 5 yards from the previous spot): When there are less than four (4) offensive players on the line of scrimmage at the snap, it is a live ball illegal procedure penalty. The player who receives the snap must be at least two (2) yards behind the offensive scrimmage line.
5. Illegal Motion and Shift (live ball foul, 5 yards from the previous spot): Only one offense player may be in motion, but not in motion towards the opponent's goal line (or line of scrimmage), at the time of the snap. After a huddle, all offensive players must come to a stop and remain stationary for 1 second before an offensive player may go in motion. If two or more players shift/go in motion simultaneously prior to the snap, both must come to a stop and reset prior to the snap.
6. Flag Guarding (live ball foul, 10 yards from the spot of the foul & replay the down OR spot of the foul & loss of down): The ball carrier shall not protect his/her flags by blocking with his/her arms or hands in order to deny the opponents the opportunity to remove them.
7. Illegal Contact by the Ball Carrier (live ball foul, Personal foul, 10 yards from the spot of the foul): The ball carrier must run to avoid tacklers. The ball carrier may spin or jump around defenders to avoid deflagging; however, the ball carrier must remain in control of his/her body during such moves.
8. Illegal Contact by the Defense & Tackling (live ball foul, 10 yards from the end of the run): If a defensive player reaches across the body of the ball carrier to pull the flag and contact is made, the responsibility of the contact lies with the defensive player. A runner shall not be thrown to the ground.
9. Holding (live ball foul, 10 yards from the end of the run-defense, 10 yards from the spot of the foul-offense): Holding is grasping or encircling an opponent with the hand or arm in any way that impedes the player’s movement. A defensive player may not hold, push, or knock the ball carrier down in an attempt to remove the flag. Similarly, an offensive player may not hold an opponent to prevent a deflagging.
10. Roughing the Passer (live ball foul, 10 yards from previous spot, if incomplete pass thrown; 10 yards from end of run following completed pass): Defensive players must make a definite effort to avoid charging into a passer. Contact with the passer shall be avoided except in cases where the defensive player is attempting to deflag the passer. Contact with a thrown ball (hitting the ball then the passer in the same motion) does NOT affect this rule and roughing the passer may still be called. Roughing the passer does not apply on illegal forward passes; however, illegal contact may be called.
11. Illegal Forward Pass & Intentional Grounding (live ball foul, 5 yards from the spot of the foul and loss of down): A pass thrown in violation of the legal pass guidelines listed above is considered illegal. A pass that is intentionally thrown to the ground or out of bounds to avoid a loss of yardage is also illegal.
12. Offensive Pass Interference (live ball foul, 10 yards from the previous spot & loss of down): Pass interference occurs when a player contacts another eligible receiver who is beyond the line of scrimmage. Restrictions exist for the offense from the time that the ball is snapped until it has been touched by a receiver.
13. Defensive Pass Interference (live ball foul, 10 yards from the previous spot & automatic first down): Restrictions exist for the defense from the time the pass is thrown until it has been touched by a receiver. Face guarding with no intent to catch, intercept, or bat the ball is also considered pass interference. Contact or interference by the defense prior to when the pass is thrown is still considered illegal and will be penalized as a personal foul.
14. Other Personal Fouls (10 yards from the end of the run [defense], 10 yards from the spot of the foul [offense]): Any act of unnecessary roughness is a personal foul.
15. Unsportsmanlike Conduct (all enforced from dead ball spot, 10 yards): No player shall commit unsportsmanlike acts during play or intermission including:
A. Using words similar to offensive audibles or quarterback cadence prior to the snap in an effort to interfere with the offense's signals or movements.
B. Intentionally kicking the ball (other than a punt)
C. Intentionally kicking an opponent or swinging an arm, hand or fist at any opposing player or official.
D. Disrespectfully addressing an official or indicating objections to an official's decision.
E. Using profanity, taunting, insulting or vulgar language or gestures.
F. Fighting or leaving the sidelines and entering an alternation.
NOTE: Two unsportsmanlike fouls by the same player or nonplayer results in an ejection. A player or nonplayer can be disqualified following the first unsportsmanlike/personal foul according to its severity and discretion of the referees and staff.
16. In the case of multiple live ball fouls on one team their opponent may elect to accept only one of the penalties.
17. A double foul is when both teams commit live ball fouls during the same down. In this case the penalties offset and the down will be replayed from the previous spot.
18. Dead ball fouls will be administered in the order they occurred following the administration of live ball fouls.
19. Anything not specifically addressed in the flag football section will be governed according to current NIRSA Flag and Touch Football Rules.
1. Coed B can only have two (2) A League players on the field at one time. Men count as one (1) player and women count as half (0.5) and player.
2. Teams that have more than the allotted amount of A League Players(2) will be penalized 5pts per additional player up to a 20 pt max.