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Flag Football Rules

Flag Football Rules

(a) League Play

  • Round Robin league play with a single elimination all-university playoff tournament will be scheduled for men and women play.
  • National Intramural and Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) Flag Football rules will be used with West Texas A&M University Intramurals exceptions.

(b) Playing Field

  • The playing field will be 80 yards (goal line to goal line) by 40 yards.
  • Players not on the field must remain three (3) yards from the playing field at all times.

(c) Number of Players

  • A team shall consist of eight (8) people -- seven (7) players and one (1) non-playing person.
  • A team may not start a game with no less than seven (7) people -- six (6) players and one (1) non-playing person.
  • Teams are required to provide a non-playing person to assist with scorekeeping.
  • On offense, there must be at least four (4) players on the line of scrimmage.
  • On defense, there must be two (2) players on the line of scrimmage and two (2) players within five (5) yards of the line of scrimmage.

(d) Player Equipment

  • Soccer type shoes with soft soles and soft rubber cleats are permitted.
  • Any other type of spiked shoe or cleated shoe is strictly prohibited.
  • Players are prohibited from wearing padded suits, any metal or wooden splints or special protective devices such as shoulder pads, helmets, etc.
  • The Department of Recreational Sports encourages the use of glasses' guards.
  • In the case of questionable equipment, the game supervisors and director will determine if equipment is permitted or prohibited.

(e) Start of Game

  • The following procedure will apply for the coin toss:
  • The visiting team (Team B on the score sheet) will call the coin toss.
  • The winner will have the following choices:
    • Take the ball.
    • Defend the ball.
    • Defer to the second half.
  • The game will start by one team putting the ball in play from their own 20-yard line.
  • There are no kick-offs.

(f) Length of Game

  • A game shall consist of two (2) halves.
  • Half time shall be five (5) minutes.
  • Each half will consist of 30 offensive plays.
  • Penalties and extra points do not count as plays unless the penalty involves loss of down.
  • The last series of downs in each half will consist of four (4) plays.
  • A team gaining possession on play 27, 28, 29 shall have four (4) plays before the end of the half or game.
  • A team gaining possession on play 30 will have one (1) play before the end of the half or game.
  • A touchdown on play 29, will result the team gaining possession will have one (1) play before the end of the half or game.

(g) Scoring

  • A touchdown will result in six (6) points.
  • A safety will result in two (2) points.
  • Following a touchdown, the ball shall be placed at the three (3) or ten (10) yard line for the conversion attempt. Point values for conversions are as follows:
  • Ten (10) yard conversion will result in two (2) points.
  • Three (3) yard conversion will result in one (1) point.
  • Following a safety the ball shall be put into play by a kick-off or punt by the team scored upon from their own 14 yard line (X).
  • Following a touchdown and conversion attempt, the ball will be placed on the 20-yard line.

(h) Tie Game Situation

  • In the event of a tie, the team with the most 20-yard penetrations shall be declared the winner.
  • A penetration shall count when a team carries the ball into the zone or comes into possession of the ball within a zone (intercepted pass, etc.) if the ball is declared dead in that team's possession in the zone.
  • A touchdown is an automatic 20-yard penetration.
  • If penetrations are even the following system shall apply:
  • The teams will have a coin toss to determine who will be on defense or offense first.
  • After the coin toss the ball will be placed on the (20) yard line heading towards the closest end zone. The offensive team will have (4) downs to score.
  • After a touchdown you will have a choice to go for either a one (1) point conversion or two (2) point conversion.
  • If the game is still tied there will be a second overtime.
  • The team that was on offense in the first overtime will now be on defense and both teams will have to go for a two (2) point conversion after a touchdown has been made.
  • After scoring or turning the ball over by downs or interception, the other team will gain possession and start their attempt.
  • If a team intercepts the ball and runs it all the way to the opposite end zone the game will be over and that team declared the winner. If you are running an interception back and your flag is pulled you are down and you will then go back to the (20) yard line and begin your series.
  • Each team is allowed 1 additional time out per overtime period. If the game is still tied after 2 overtime periods, the game will be ruled a tie, unless it is a playoff game.

(i) Yardage and Downs

  • A team must advance the ball from one 20-yard zone to the next in four (4) consecutive downs.
  • A team must penetrate from one zone to another zone in order to gain a first down. (First downs are not gained by yardage but by zone penetration.)

(j) Timeouts

  • Each team has two (2) time-outs per half.
  • Timeouts shall be one (1) minute long.
  • Timeouts not used in first half cannot be added to second half play.

(k) Eligible Pass Receivers

  • Any member of either team is an eligible receiver except the passer.

(l) Substitutions

  • Substitutions may be made anytime the ball is dead or not in play.
  • Unlimited substitutions are permitted.

(m) Touching or Tagging

  • The ball is considered dead when an opponent grabs and removes the belt by pulling on the flags attached to the belt.
  • The ball carrier must make an effort to elude the defender.
  • The defender must attempt to grab the flag. (At no time can the defender grab clothing or the ball carrier.)
  • The ball is dead when the belt is removed from the ball carrier.
  • In the event the belt inadvertently falls off, the ball carrier may continue running until the ball carrier is touched one (1) hand above the waist.

(n) Punts

  • On punts, no player may leave the line of scrimmage until the ball is kicked.
  • The offensive team must inform the defense when they are going to kick.
  • The punter must receive the ball by direct snap no less than seven (7) yards from the center.

(o) Fumbles

  • A fumble constitutes a dead ball.
  • A fumble or backward pass, which touches the ground between the goal lines, is dead at the spot where the ball touches the ground and belongs to the team last in possession unless lost on downs.
  • An untouched snap from center is a dead ball and will come back to the original line of scrimmage and a loss of down results.

(p) Offensive Screen Blocking

  • The offensive screen block shall take place without contact.
  • The screen blocker shall have his/her hands and arms at his/her side or behind his/her back.
  • Any use of the arms, elbows, or legs to initiate contact during an offensive player's screen block is illegal.
  • A blocker may use his/her hand or arm to break a fall or to retain his/her balance.
  • A player must remain on his/her feet before, during and after screen blocking.

(q) Penalties

  • Loss of five (5) yards
    • Delay of game (more than 20 seconds before putting ball in play)
    • Interference with opponent before snap
    • False start or any illegal act by the snapper
    • Encroachment
    • Less than four (4) players on the offensive line of scrimmage at snap
    • Less than two (2) players on the defensive line of scrimmage at snap
    • Illegal position at snap
    • Illegal motion
    • Illegal handling of ball forward (also loss of down)
    • Article of clothing covering portion of a player's flag (from possession loss of down)
    • Protected scrimmage kick infraction
    • Helping runner
    • Illegal Substitution
    • Intentional grounding (if by offensive, the down counts)
    • Invalid or illegal fair catch signal
  • Loss of ten (10) yards
    • Delaying start of either half
    • Offensive pass interference (down counts)
    • Defensive pass interference (automatic first down)
    • Holding or illegal block
    • Clipping
    • Attendant illegally on the field
    • Interlock interference
    • Illegal use of hands or arms / stripping (spot foul)
    • Illegal use of hands or arms to the body (spot foul repeated down)
    • Illegal contact to include any body part
    • Quick kick
    • Hurdling by offensive player (spot foul repeated down)
    • Flag guarding (spot foul loss of down)
  • Loss of fifteen (15) yards
    • Striking, kicking, kneeing (also disqualification)
    • Unsportsmanlike conduct
    • Unsportsmanlike conduct by coach or attendant
    • Roughing the passer
    • Illegal participation
    • Tripping, striking head or neck with heel, back or side of hand
    • Tackling
    • Illegal flag (personal foul)
  • Disqualification Associated with fifteen (15) yard penalties
    • Any act listed above if unduly rough or flagrant