Flag football league rules
1. General Rules
- All flag football league and post-season games will take place on the John Sala Intramural Fields.
- When the ball is first downed in a zone, the team in possession is allowed four downs to move the ball into either the next zone or the end zone.
- Seven (7) players make up a team.
- All Seven (7) of the players on the team will wear flags and are eligible to receive passes and carry the ball.
- The game may begin and be played with only six (6) players if necessary.
Co-Ed Play Rules
- Teams must have an equal or greater number of women to men on the field at all times. There must always be one (1) male player on the field.
- If a team has to start with less than seven (7) players, teams must still have three (3) women on the field at all times.
- A team in possession of the ball shall have four consecutive downs to advance to the next zone by scrimmage.
- On fourth down, the offense is given the option to play or punt. If offense plays, and does not make a first down, the defense will take over at that spot.
- Any player guilty of unnecessary roughness or unsportsmanlike conduct will be barred from the sport and may cause his or her team to forfeit that game.
- Free team substitution is allowed on downed balls. All substituted players must be eligible players that are on the team roster and must have signed the team informed consent form.
- Flags must be clipped Under no circumstances can flags be tied or hidden under clothing.
- Flags must be worn with a flag positioned on the left, right, and back of the player.
- No metal spikes of any kind may be worn on the turf fields. Only standard type gymnasium shoes or soft rubber field shoes will be allowed.
- Both teams will wear colored jerseys/scrimmage vest with numbers provided by the intramural sports program. Jerseys are to be returned to the officials after the game with the flags used during gameplay.
- If teams have their own jerseys, they must be appropriate and meet the standards of the intramural sports policy for jerseys/shirts.
Proximity of Player to Sideline
- At the start of each play, no player(s) may be within five yards of the sidelines.
- No player may lay on the ground or attempt to hide at the start of any play.
- All spectators and players must remain behind the five-yard restraining line.
- A five-yard penalty will result on each violation.
- For player and spectator safety, fans are to sit on the opposite side of the field from the players and scorekeeper, in designated bleachers, or designated fan areas. Unless otherwise directed by the staffed supervisor.
Injured Players & Blood Rule
- A player with a bloody injury or blood on his/her uniform must leave the game. The player may not return to the game until the wound is no longer bleeding, the wound is covered and the uniform is changed.
- In the event of any head injury, Emergency Medical Services will be called and the player must sit out the rest of the game (possible the rest of the season).
- In all other injuries, the person injured is required to sit out at least one play, and/or at the official’s discretion.
- The intramural coordinator or supervisor has the discretion to not all a player to return due to injury.
2. Time Regulations
- Games will consist of two twenty-minute halves.
- The intermission between halves shall be no more than five minutes.
- The visiting team captain will have a choice of “heads” or “tails" before the coin toss. The captain will then choose whether his/her team will start on offense or defense, or choose the goal his/her team will defend. The captain not having the 1 st choice of options for a half shall exercise the remaining option.
- Clock time can be started and stopped, and additional time can be added at the official/referee’s discretion if needed.
- If the defense commits a penalty on the last play of the half or game, the offense will receive another play.
Delay of Game
- The offensive team has 25 seconds to put the ball into play starting when the official spots the ball. A delay of game violation will be called after 25
- Each team will be allowed four (4) time outs per game. Only three (3) timeouts can carry into the 2 nd And only one (1) time out can carry over from regulation play into overtime play (post season only), in which teams are granted one time out.
- Timeouts will be the duration of one (1) minute per timeout.
- During the final two (2) minutes of the second half, time will stop if the points scored by both teams have a differential of 17 points.
- During gameplay in any division (men, coed, women, etc.) the quarterback has 7-seconds to release the ball once the ball is snapped from the offensive line.
- At no point will the 7-second count restart during a down.
- If a team is ahead by 30 points or more at any time in the second half, the game will end.
- Mercy Rule applies during regular season play and post-season play.
Tie Games – Regular Season Play
- Regular season games that end in a tie will only play out one (1) overtime period.
- If the first team that is awarded the ball scores, the opponent will still have an opportunity to try for a score. (same rules apply in post season).
- If during the extra period a team loses possession of the ball before they complete the four plays, the attempt is over (same rules apply in post season).
- If the score is still tied after one (1) overtime period, play will not proceed. A tie score will be recorded.
Overtime - Post Season Play
- Post-season games that end in a tie will be played out in overtime periods.
- Overtime periods consist of a series of four (4) downs by each team.
- If the score is still tied after one (1) overtime period, play will proceed to a 2 nd period or as many as needed to determine a winner.
- Unless moved by a penalty, each team will start first and goal from the twenty-yard line.
- Teams will be granted one time out for each overtime period, but cannot carry over timeouts from pervious overtime periods (if you don’t use it, you lose it).
- One, two and three-point PAT attempts will be in effect during overtime play.
The clock will be STOPPED for the following:
- Incomplete or Illegal passes – gameplay starts on snap.
- Out of bounds – gameplay starts on the snap.
- Official/Referee time out – gameplays begins at their discretion.
- Penalties – gameplay starts on the snap.
- Punts – gameplay starts on the snap.
- Safety – gameplay starts on snap.
- Team time-out – gameplay starts on snap.
- Touchback – gameplay starts on the snap.
- Touchdowns – gameplay starts on snap (after the Try).
The clock WILL NOT STOP for:
- Change of Possession (Ex. Failed 4th down conversions).
3. Game Play
Line Stance & Player Positioning Requirements
- No offensive or defensive player may assume a three-point stance.
- All players on both teams, except the center/snapper, must be on their feet during the snap without their hands touching the
- During line play, players must assume a positioning of hands behind their back (or to their sides) or in a straight up position with their body in a tight vertical position when attempting to rush the quarterback (QB).
- Defensive line players must be at least 1 yard back from the line of scrimmage (neutral zone) prior to the snap.
- The neutral zone will be determined by the use of two-disc cones, only to be moved by the officials.
- The offensive team must have at least there (3) people on the line of scrimmage on every offensive play and will be determined at the discretion of the referee.
- A player in motion is not counted as one of the 3 on the scrimmage line.
- Only ONE offensive player is allowed in motion prior to the snap.
- The defensive team must have a minimum of three (3) people on the line of scrimmage during punts and after safety punts.
- At any time, NO STOMPING/CLAPPING/YELLING/ETC., is allowed by the defense with the intent to cause the offense to jump offside.
- If this is done, an encroachment penalty (five (5) yards and repeat down) will be called.
Centering the Ball
- The ball does not have to be centered between the legs, but does have to be in contact with the ground before it is snapped.
- Direct snaps are not allowed.
- The player that receives the snap must be at least two (2) yards behind the offensive scrimmage line.
- No "bull rushing" (defensive players must pick one side of the offensive line person to go around).
- Players cannot use their hands in any way on the line of scrimmage.
- Players that wish to screen block must have their hands behind their back or to their sides.
- Blockers may not leave their feet before, during, or after a screen block is made.
- Illegal use of shoulders or any other body part is NOT allowed during line play or game play.
Line Rushing/Rushing the Quarterback
- Defensive players may not go for the arm of the quarterback at any time during the rush, defensive players should attempt to pull flags only.
- Players engaging in a defensive rush during game play should not leave their feet at any time.
- Defensive players attempting to rush the QB should not block the vision of the QB during game play, waiving and wailing or arms will not be allowed. Once the quarterback is reached, the defensive player must stand straight up creating a vertical plane with their body and arms straight up.
- Players wishing to ‘shadow’ or ‘spy’ the QB must also be in a ‘vertical plane’ position when near the quarterback. No swiping at the quarterback will be allowed.
- No blocking allowed beyond five (5) yards on all pass plays.
- Pick plays are not allowed.
- There must be at least three (3) yards of separation between offensive and defensive players cut patterns or routes are attempted.
- No downfield blocking by any player is allowed.
- No intentional surrounding of a ball carrier by his/her own team is allowed during game play.
- All Quarterbacks have seven (7) seconds to get rid of the ball after the ball is snapped to them.
- Quarterbacks are not allowed to run past the line of scrimmage, even when rushed. They can scramble but must not cross the line.
- In order to avoid an "intentional grounding" penalty, any pass must land within five (5) yards of an offensive player.
- The receiver must have at least one foot inbounds when receiving a passed ball. NO bump and run defense is allowed at any point in time.
- It is illegal participation if a receiver (or any eligible receiver/team player) goes out of bounds and returns in bounds during the down to participate, unless blocked out of bounds by an opponent.
- If a player is blocked out of bounds by an opponent, and returns during the down, he/she shall return at the first opportunity.
- During the down, no player shall intentionally go out of bounds and return to the field, intentionally touch the ball, influence the play, or otherwise participate.
- No running back hand-offs will be allowed. If a team desires to run the ball, the ball must be pitched to the player who is attempting to run downfield.
- Runs must be outside of players on the line/linemen, and not directly up the middle of the field.
- Once the ball crosses the line of scrimmage, the ball cannot be pitched backwards.
- An attempt to run the ball through the center of the defending team will result in an offensive contact violation.
- An illegal procedure penalty will be enforced at the referee’s discretion.
- All running plays must be ran outside of the linemen!
- All fumble footballs, which touch the ground, will be called dead immediately.
- NO planned loose ball plays, (i.e. "fumblerooski").
- A player in possession of the ball is considered down when the flag is pulled free.
- The ball will be spotted where the BALL is at when the flag belt is broken.
- No forward motion is considered in placing the ball down.
- When the entire body of the ball carrier makes contact with the ground, the ball is down. Players are allowed to brace themselves with one hand touching the ground. Once a knee hits the ground, the ball is dead.
- If the flag of the ball carrier is inadvertently lost, or the player has no flags, he/she will be downed by a defenders one-hand touch, on any part of the body.
- Defensive Players: Must “play the flags rather than the man,” (i.e., they cannot tackle or hold a ball carrier). If this incident occurs, the defensive team will be assessed a 15-yard penalty, and offensive team will receive a first down.
- Defensive Players: Must not dive for flags when attempting to stop a play. There should be no full extension of the body in a horizontal manner during game play at any time.
- Excessive diving for flags will result in removal of play for the duration of the game, and possibly for the duration of season/post-season game play.
- When the ball carrier and the defensive player are both aggressors and contact is made, the ball is dead at the spot of contact.
- If a flag belt fails to be pulled off or a shirt is grabbed inadvertently the play will be called dead.
- “Flag checks” may occur at the discretion of the official after a touchdown has been scored.
Flag Guarding & Running
- The ball carrier must attempt to avoid defenders. The ball carrier may not slap the hand of a defender or straight-arm/stiff-arm a defensive player in an attempt to protect their flag.
- Diving for additional yardage is not allowed and will result in a penalty.
- 360-degree spinning by the ball carrier is not allowed (i.e. no spin moves)
- He/she may not turn in excess of 180 degrees in their attempt to dodge the defensive player.
- The ball is dead at the point where any of the above infractions occurred.
- A player may not backpedal at any time during game play with the ball to advance yardage.
- A player may not jump forward or over another player in order to avoid contact.
- Once a player has left the boundary lines/playing surface they are no longer an eligible receiver during the down that is being played.
- Before a punt is attempted the offensive team must declare that they wish to punt.
- The receiving team must have three players within one yard of the scrimmage line when the ball is kicked.
- There is no rushing and no one on either team can cross the line of scrimmage until the ball has made contact with the kicker's foot.
- The ball is immediately dead if it is dropped by anyone.
- Once a punt is declared there are no fakes allowed.
- A player receiving a punt must be given an unimpeded opportunity to catch the kick.
- No player of the kicking team may be within two yards of the player receiving the kick.
- The ball is down where it first bounces.
- Only screen blocking will be allowed during a punt.
- After a safety, a punt is made from the 20-yard line.
- A touchdown scores six (6) points (nine (9) points in coed play for women).
- Forward motion of the ball carrier into the end zone after the flag has been pulled is not counted as a touchdown.
- Only the ball is required to break the plane to be considered a touchdown. However, a touchdown is scored if the defender physically tackles a runner within ten yards of the goal line.
- After a touchdown is scored the scoring team has three options for the PAT; a team may try for the extra point by either running or passing from either the three (3), the ten OR THE TWENTY-YARD LINE.
- Option 1 = Score from the 3-yard line. Conversion = 1 pt.
- Option 2 = Score from the 10-yard line. Conversion = 2 pts.
- Option 3 = Score from the 20-yard line. Conversion = 3 pts.
- All extra point attempt plays are live-ball plays.
- The defensive team may intercept a pass and score (the amount of points scored will be determined based on which option the offensive team chose prior to the snap).
- Defensive players have the ability to attempt a run back if the ball is intercepted on an offensive teams’ extra point attempt.
- The defensive team will be awarded the extra point amount reported to the official by the offensive team.
- A safety is scored (two (2) points) when the offensive team allows the ball to become dead and downed at the goal they are defending. The safety kick is from the 20-yard line.
- A safety can also be scored if the offense commits a penalty in its own end zone.
5. Coed Rules
Teams must have three (3) female players on the field to begin a game and throughout the duration of the game. All standard flag football league rules and penalties apply to Coed flag football league play. These are the added modifications for co-ed play:
- The game shall be played with FOUR (4) male players and THREE (3) female players, but may start with 3 males and 3 females.
- A team may have more female participants than male participants on the field but must have at least one male on the field at all times, and must NOT have more male players than female players on the field at all times.
- Extra point values will remain the same in co-ed flag football division play.
- All running plays must go outside of the linemen in flag football play.
Female Play Rules
- A female play must be attempted ONLY AFTER the completion of a successful male play.
- Directly after a successful male play (anything gaining positive yardage that involves all males) a female play must then be attempted.
- A female play is defined as a play involving a female where the female player is responsible for an attempt at positive yards (i.e. throw, catch, run, etc).
- During a female play, a male QB cannot pass the line of scrimmage and then pitch the ball to a female (this will be ruled a male play).
- The ball must be pitched before the line of scrimmage in order to be credited for a completed female play.
- Only female players may return kickoffs and punts during coed gameplay. If a female participant scores, or throws for a touchdown, the point value is nine (9) for a completed touchdown.
Male Play Rules
- A male player may not intentionally stop his forward progress in order to pitch/hand off the ball to a female player from within an offensive team's twenty-yard line. An unsportsmanlike penalty will be called.
- On offense, a male runner cannot advance the ball through the opposing team's line of (Exception - QB forced scramble) Penalty = Illegal Procedure.
- A male player may not line-up across from a female player on the offensive/defensive line of scrimmage, but may line up to the left or right of a female player.
- If four (4) females are in the game, a male player on defense may line up against the extra female but must start at least seven (7) yards back.
- All QBs will only have seven (7) seconds to release the ball after the snap.
Two unnecessary roughness calls against a player in the same contest will result in that player being ejected from the contest. Anytime a player is ejected from a contest they will automatically be suspended for at least one game, and before they can be reinstated they must meet with the Coordinator of Intramural Sports.
List of flag football penalties Infraction Penalty Enforcement Point Ball Carrier (Charging) 15 yards Point of Infraction Block in the Back (Unsportsmanlike) 15 yards & repeat down Line of Scrimmage Bull Rushing 10 yards and 1st down Line of Scrimmage Concealing the Ball 15 yards Line of Scrimmage Delay of Game 5 yards & repeat down (dead ball) Line of Scrimmage Diving 5 yards & loss of down Point of Infraction Double-Team Block 10 yards & repeat down Line of Scrimmage Downfield Block 10 yards Point of Infraction Encroach/False Start 5 yards & repeat down (dead ball) Line of Scrimmage Flag Guarding 10 yards Point of Infraction Holding (Defense) 5 yards & 1st down Line of Scrimmage Holding (Offense) 10 yards & repeat down Line of Scrimmage Illegal Forward Pass 10 yards Line of Scrimmage Illegal Procedure/Illegal Shift 5 yards & repeat down (live ball) Line of Scrimmage Ineligible Player 5 yards & repeat down Line of Scrimmage Intentional Grounding 5 yards & loss of down Point of Infraction Kick-Catch Interference 15 yards Point of Infraction Not 3 Players on Line 5 yards & repeat down (dead ball) Line of Scrimmage Offside 5 yards & repeat down (live ball) Line of Scrimmage Pass Interference (Defense) 15 yards & 1st down Line of Scrimmage Pass Interference (Offense) 15 yards & loss of down Line of Scrimmage Roughing the Passer 15 yards & 1st down Line of Scrimmage Straight Arm (Unsportsmanlike) 15 yards Point of Infraction Tackling/Tripping/Clipping 15 yards & 1st down Point of Infraction Unnecessary Roughness 15 yards & 1st down Point of Infraction Unsportsmanlike Conduct (Defense) 15 yards & 1st down Line of Scrimmage Unsportsmanlike Conduct (Offense) 15 yards Line of Scrimmage