Franciscan University of Steubenville
Flag Football Rule Book

The following rules and procedures will be used for the Intramural Flag Football program. In no way should the absence of a particular rule or procedure mean that it would not be enforced.

 

Click here for the 2011 Flag Football Schedule.

 

RULE 1: CAPTAINS, PLAYERS AND EQUIPMENT

A. Responsibility of team captains
1. Read and know the rules. Have a team meeting to go over the rules and the schedule.
2. Control yourself, your teammates, your coaches and your spectators.
3. Represent your team at all meetings held during the season.
4. Check for the correct score at the end of each game. The referee will keep the official score. Teams are
encouraged to keep score as well.
5. Captains are responsible for the eligibility of their players. An ineligible player will be dealt with according to
the rules outlined in the Athletic Handbook.
6. Only captains may address an official. A captain may address an official on matters of rule interpretation
only. Captains may not address officials concerning judgement calls.

B. Number of Players
1. Each team must have six players on the field at all times.

C. Equipment
1. No casts are allowed. No pads or metal braces are allowed above the waist. No exposed metal braces are
permitted unless covered by padding.
2. No helmets or padded headgear may be worn. Wool caps are permitted. Baseball caps are illegal.
3. Boots or hard-soled shoes are not permitted. If cleats are worn they cannot have any exposed metal or sharp
points.
4. Flags must be visible at all times. Shirts need to be tucked into belt. A sufficient number of flags must be present on the belt. The center does not have to wear a belt when snapping the ball.
5. The Athletic Department will provide the game ball. (No exceptions)
PENALTY: ILLEGAL EQUIPMENT, 5 YARDS FROM THE PREVIOUS SPOT


RULE 2: ELIGIBILITY

  1. Team captains are responsible for their players' eligibility.
  2. A person may play for one team only. Any player that participates on more than one team, in the same sport, becomes ineligible and can no longer participate in that sport.
  3. In order to qualify to participate in intramurals one must be staff, faculty, full time employee or student with at least 3 credit hours. If an ineligible player participates, the team that he/she played with will be automatically disqualified.
  4. All intramural participants must turn in a completed Certificate of Insurance and Assumption of Liability form in order to be eligible for participation.
  5. Additions to the roster must be made the previous day during FFH operating hours.
  6. In order to be eligible for playoffs, a player must participate in at least 2 regular season games.

 

RULE 3: PERIODS, GAME TIMES, SUBSTITUTIONS, TIE BREAKER PROCEDURE

Periods

A legal game consists of two, 15-minute halves. Preceding the first half, the referee shall toss a coin. The captain winning the toss shall choose:

  1. Either to begin on offense or defense
  2. Which goal to defend

Each half will begin with the ball on the 10 yard line as determined by the captain's choice.

To begin the second half, teams switch sides and possession opposite from the beginning of the game.

Game Times

  1. Games will begin at the scheduled time. Any game delayed because of absent players will be forfeited. If both teams do not have 6 players present at game time, a double forfeit will be declared and a double loss will be recorded in the books.
  2. The games will consist of two 15 minute halves. The time will always be stopped for the following:
  3. Official time-out
  4. Team time-out
  5. Touchdown
  6. Extra-point
  7. Safety
  8. In the last 4 minutes of the second half the clock will stop for:
  9. Incomplete pass
  10. Penalty
  11. Change of possession
  12. Out of bounds
  13. Halftime is 5 minutes
  14. Each team is permitted 2 time-outs per half, and one time-out during a tie-breaker.

Substitutions

  1. Players may substitute freely between downs.
  2. Each substitute must be in uniform with flags in position at the time of the snap PENALTY: DELAY OF GAME, 5 YARDS FROM THE PREVIOUS SPOT

Tie-breaker Procedure

  1. The tie-break procedure begins with a coin toss to be called by the captain of the home team. The captain winning the toss will be given the following options:
  2. Choice of possession
  3. Side of field to defend (both teams will go in the same direction)
    1. The captain losing the coin toss will be given the remaining option.
    2. The team obtaining possession will be given the ball on the opposing team's 10 yard line
    3. The team will be given three downs to score. If the team scores they will be given an extra point try.
    4. After the team with the first possession has completed their downs the other team will be given the same opportunity to score.
    5. This procedure will be repeated until one team has more points than the other.
    6. If the defense intercepts the ball, the ball becomes dead. The ball will then be placed on the 10 yard line to begin their series of three downs.
    7. Each team is allowed one time-out during the tie-breaker. Time-outs do not carry over from the second half.

 

RULE 4: BALL IN PLAY, FUMBLE, OUT OF BOUNDS

Ball in Play

  1. The offense must snap the ball within 30 seconds after the referee has spotted the ball.
    PENALTY: DELAY OF GAME, 5 YARDS FROM THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE
  2. The ball is declared dead when:
    1. It goes out of bounds
    2. The ball crosses the vertical plane of the goal line while in possession of an offensive player
    3. Any part of the runners person, other than the hand or foot, touches the ground
    4. A player on the kicking team catches a punt or a punt hits the ground
    5. A forward pass, backward pass, or fumble by a player strikes the ground
    6. A runner has a flag belt legally removed by a defensive player.
    7. A flag belt falls off of a runner after they have obtained possession of the ball.
    8. A snap hits the ground

Fumbles

  1. A fumble or backward pass is dead at the point that it hits the ground. In each case possession goes back to the team that last had possession, unless it occurred on a failed third down conversion.
  2. Either team may advance any pass or fumble that is caught before it hits the ground.
  3. The clock does not stop for a fumble.

Out of Bounds

  1. A ball, in player possession, is considered out of bounds when the ball or the carrier touches the ground that is on or outside a boundary line.
  2. A loose ball is considered out-of-bounds when it touches the ground that is on or outside the boundary line.
  3. One foot inbound is needed for a legal reception. (you cannot have the other foot simultaneously touching out of bounds)
  4. Once a player steps out of bounds during a play, (unless that player is forced out of bounds by a defensive player) that player is ineligible to participate in that play.
  5. PENALTY: ILLEGAL PROCEDURE, 5 YARDS FROM THE PREVIOUS SPOT

RULE 5: SERIES OF DOWNS, NUMBER OF DOWNS

  1. The team in possession of the ball shall have three consecutive downs to advance to the next zone line. When the defense gets the ball it is always first down.
  2. To obtain a first down the offense must advance the ball to the next zone line, unless distance has been lost due to a penalty or failure to gain.

RULE 6: PUNTING

  1. Prior to putting the ball into play on third down, the referee will ask the team with possession if they want to punt. The referee will then communicate their decision to the defense. The team in possession may not change their decision unless they call a time-out.
    PENALTY: ILLEGAL PROCEDURE, 5 YARDS FROM THE PREVIOUS SPOT
  2. The snap must be received and the kick executed within 3 seconds.
    PENALTY: ILLEGAL PROCEDURE, 5 YARDS FROM THE PREVIOUS SPOT
  3. Each team must have at least 4 players on the scrimmage line.
    PENALTY: ILLEGAL PROCEDURE, 5 YARDS FROM THE PREVIOUS SPOT
  4. Neither team may cross the scrimmage line until the ball is kicked. A line player may not raise his/her hands in an attempt to distract the kicker or block the kick.
    PENALTY: ILLEGAL PROCEDURE, 5 YARDS FROM THE PREVIOUS SPOT
  5. When a punted ball touches the ground it is ruled dead.
  6. When a punted ball lands in the end zone it is ruled a touchback, and the receiving team will obtain possession on the 10 yard line.
  7. When a punted ball goes out-of-bounds it is spotted at the point where it crossed the boundary.

RULE 7: LINE OF SCRIMMAGE

Snap of the Ball

  1. The snap must be between the snapper's legs, this includes snaps to the punter. No player on the line of scrimmage may receive the snap.
    PENALTY: ILLEGAL PROCEDURE, 5 YARDS FROM THE PREVIOUS SPOT
  2. At the snap the offensive team must have at least 4 players on the scrimmage line.
    PENALTY: ILLEGAL PROCEDURE, 5 YARDS FROM THE PREVIOUS SPOT
  3. Three and four point stances are legal, but not necessary.
  4. No player of the offensive team shall make a false start. A false start is any movement simulating the start of a play
    PENALTY: DEAD BALL FOUL, FALSE START, 5 YARDS FROM THE PREVIOUS SPOT

Line of Scrimmage

  1. The line of scrimmage for the offense is the yard line. The yard line is the vertical plane that runs perpendicular to the front nose of the football.
    PENALTY: OFFSIDES, 5 YARDS FROM THE PREVIOUS SPOT
  2. The scrimmage line for the defensive team is one yard from and parallel to the offensive yard line.
    PENALTY: OFFSIDES, 5 YARDS FROM THE PREVIOUS SPOT

Encroachment, Players in Motion

  1. After the center has made his/her final adjustment of the ball, no defensive player may enter the neutral zone.
    PENALTY: ENCROACHMENT, DEAD BALL FOUL, 5 YARDS FROM THE PREVIOUS SPOT
  2. All offensive players must be motionless for one second before the snap, except one player moving parallel to or away from the scrimmage line.
    PENALTY: ILLEGAL PROCEDURE, 5 YARDS FROM THE PREVIOUS SPOT
  3. Only one player can go in motion at a time.
    PENALTY: ILLEGAL PROCEDURE, 5 YARDS FROM THE PREVIOUS SPOT

RULE 8: PASSING

  1. All players are eligible to catch a forward pass except the center. Only one forward pass can be thrown per down.
  2. A forward pass is illegal when:
    1. The passer is beyond the scrimmage line when the ball leaves his/her hand
      PENALTY: ILLEGAL PASS, 5YARDS FROM THE PREVIOUS SPOT AND LOSS OF DOWN
    2. The pass is intentionally grounded to save a loss of yardage (Exception: It is not a foul when the passer, who is outside of the pocket, throws the ball so that it lands beyond the neutral zone to avoid loss of yardage)
      PENALTY: INTENTIONAL GROUNDING, LOSS OF DOWN, 5 YARDS FROM THE SPOT OF THE FOUL
    3. The passer catches his/her untouched forward pass
      PENALTY: ILLEGAL PASS, 5 YARDS FROM THE PREVIOUS SPOT AND LOSS OF DOWN
      1. The pass begins when the ball is released from the passer's hand. The ball is dead if the passer is deflagged before the release of the ball.
      2. After the ball is released an offensive player may not push, pull, or hold a defensive player in order to gain position on the ball.
        PENALTY: OFFENSIVE PASS INTERFERENCE, 15 YARDS FROM THE PREVIOUS SPOT, LOSS OF DOWN
      3. After the ball is released a defensive player may not contact the offensive receiver in order to prevent them from catching or getting to the ball.
        PENALTY: DEFENSIVE PASS INTERFERENCE, 15 YARDS FROM THE PREVIOUS SPOT, AUTOMATIC FIRST DOWN.
      4. A defensive player may not push or hold his/her opponent to impede the opposing players movement beyond 5 yards from the line of scrimmage.
        PENALTY: DEFENSIVE HOLDING, 10 YARDS FROM THE PREVIOUS SPOT
      5. An eligible receiver may not push off of a defensive player to gain position on the ball or to separate from the defender
        PENALTY: OBSTRUCTION, 10 YARDS FROM THE PREVIOUS SPOT
      6. If opposing players catch a pass simultaneously, the ball becomes dead, is considered a completed pass, and belongs to the offensive team.
      7. Any player may hand the ball backward at any time.

 

RULE 9: SCORING AND TOUCHBACKS

  1. Scoring
  2. Touchdown - 6 points
    Safety - 2 points
    Try for point: -ball in play from the 3 yard line - 1point
    -ball in play from the 6 yard line - 2 points
  3. To be ruled a touchdown the ball must be on or over the goal line. Example: If a runner's body is in the end zone but he/she is deflagged while the ball was on the ½ yard line, it is not a touchdown.
  4. A player who has scored a touchdown must raise his/her arms so that the nearest official can deflag him/her. If the player is not deflagged with one pull and the official determines the flag belt has been secured illegally, the touchdown is disallowed.
    PENALTY: ILLEGAL FLAG BELT, RED CARD - PLAYER EJECTION, 15 YARDS FROM THE PREVIOUS SPOT, LOSS OF DOWN
  5. Once the captain makes the choice for one or two points after a touchdown, he/she may change the decision only by taking a team charged time-out.
  6. If the offensive team incurs a penalty during the try-for-point, the try-for-point is finished and will not be repeated. The offense will however be able to attempt a try-for-point if they incurred a dead ball penalty before the play.
  7. After the try-for-point, the ball is placed on the scored upon team's 10 yard line.
  8. A fumble or backward pass by the offense which first hits the ground in it's own end zone is a SAFETY
  9. If a fumble hits the ground in the opponent's end zone, the offensive team will maintain possession on the 5 yard line. If the fumble occurs on a third down, a touchback will be called and the defensive team will obtain possession on the 10 yard line.
  10. If the ball is ruled dead after a runner carries the ball backward across his own goal line, it is a safety. Exception: A player that intercepts a pass or catches a punt in the end zone may down the ball and gain possession on the 10 yard line. If that player tries to advance the ball and is deflagged before they reach the goal line, it is ruled a touchback and the team is given possession on the 10 yard line.

Mercy Rule

  1. If a team is 24 or more points ahead when there are 3 minutes left in the game, the game will be called.
  2. If a team scored during the last 3 minutes of the game and that score makes a difference of 24 or more points, the game will be called.

RULE 10: CONDUCT OF PLAYERS

  1. Fouls
  2. There should be no personal fouls committed by players, substitutes or coaches. Personal fouls include:
  3. Using fists, feet, knees or legs to contact an opponent
  4. Tackling the ball carrier (automatic player ejection)
  5. Steal, attempting to steal, or bat the ball from a player in possession
  6. Illegal contact
  7. Tripping
  8. Hurdling
  9. Unnecessary roughness (this can also include unnecessarily rough legal blocks, we do not wear pads and players are expected to keep this in mind)
  10. Clipping
  11. Roughing the passer (This will be called for any contact initiated by a defensive player who is not attempting to deflag the passer.)
    PENALTY: PERSONAL FOUL, 10 YARDS, AUTOMATIC FIRST DOWN (FLAGRANT OFFENDERS WILL RECEIVE YELLOW/RED CARDS)

  12. The ball-carrier may not:
  13. Be aided by a teammate
    PENALTY: AIDING THE RUNNER, 5 YARDS FROM THE SPOT OF THE FOUL
  14. Stiff arm an opponent
    PENALTY: STIFF ARM, 10 YARDS FROM THE SPOT OF THE FOUL
  15. Guard their flags by blocking with arms or hands
    PENALTY: FLAG GUARDING, 10 YARDS FROM THE SPOT OF THE FOUL
  16. Dive or jump.

PENALTY: DIVING/JUMPING, 10 YARDS FROM THE SPOT OF THE FOUL AND LOSS OF DOWN

  1. Run over an opponent. If a defensive player has established a stationary position on the field it is the responsibility of the runner to avoid the defensive player.
    PENALTY: PERSONAL FOUL, ILLEGAL CONTACT, 10 YARDS FROM THE SPOT OF THE FOUL
  2. Blocking
  3. A block is an attempt by an offensive player to hinder a defensive player from nearing the ball holder.
  4. A blocker must keep his hands directly in front of him so as not to grasp or hold the defender in any way.
    PENALTY: HOLDING, 10 YARDS FROM THE PREVIOUS SPOT
  5. A blocker may only block the torso of an opponent. Absolutely no blocking below the waist.
    PENALTY: ILLEGAL BLOCK, PERSONAL FOUL, 10 YARDS FROM THE PREVIOUS SPOT.
  6. Illegal block:
  7. The blockers may not block the back of the defender unless they are within the pass pocket.
    PENALTY: CLIPPING, PERSONAL FOUL, 10 YARDS FROM THE PREVIOUS SPOT
  8. At no time may a player leave his feet to block
    PENALTY: ILLEGAL BLOCK, PERSONAL FOUL, 10 YARDS FROM THE PREVIOUS SPOT
  9. Flag Removal
  10. The ball is declared dead when the flag belt is clearly taken from the runner. A player who removes the flag belt from the runner should immediately hold the flag belt above his head to indicate to the official that the flag has been removed.
  11. If the flag belt inadvertently becomes unattached while a player is in possession of the ball, the ball shall be declared dead.
  12. If the player obtains possession of the ball and has no flag belt, the ball shall be declared dead.
  13. Pulling or removing a flag from an offensive player without the ball by a defensive player intentionally is a penalty.
    PENALTY: ILLEGAL FLAG REMOVAL, 10 YARDS FROM THE END OF THE PLAY
  14. Contact: In an attempt to remove the flag belt from a runner, defensive players may contact the body and shoulder of an opponent with their hands, but not the face or any part of the neck or head of the runner. A defensive player may not hold, push, or knock down an opponent in an attempt to remove the flag belt.
    PENALTY: IMPEDING THE RUNNER, 10 YARDS FROM THE END OF THE RUN, REPEAT DOWN UNLESS FIRST DOWN IS GAINED.
  15. Dropped flag: The flag belt may be dropped at the spot of capture by the defense with no penalty.
  16. The runner may not guard his/her flag belt by blocking with the arms, hand or ball, thereby denying the opportunity to pull or remove the flag belt.
    PENALTY: FLAG GUARDING, 10 YARDS FROM THE SPOT OF THE FOUL
  17. Tampering with the flag belt in any way to gain an advantage including tying, using foreign materials or other such acts is prohibited.
    PENALTY: ILLEGAL SECURED FLAG BELT, 15 YARDS FROM THE PREVIOUS SPOT, LOSS OF DOWN, RED CARD

 

RULE 11: ENFORCEMENT OF PENALTIES

  • Field Position
  • During pass plays or during a punt (before possession is gained), the spot of enforcement is the line of scrimmage.
  • During a running play and after possession is gained on a pass play or a punt, the spot of enforcement is the end of the run play.
  • All fouls are marked off from the line of scrimmage except fouls related to the runner. (i.e.: clipping, flag guarding, impeding the runner, running over the offense, hurdling)

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