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Flag Football


  1. The following rules and procedures are those for which the Office of Campus Recreation feels a need to further elaborate and clarify. In no way should the absence of a particular rule or procedure be construed to mean that it will not be enforced. It is the team coach’s responsibility to become familiar with the current issue of the Intramural-Recreational Handbook, and the National Federation of State High School Associations Football Rule Book.
  2. An Intramural Supervisor will be on duty for each game. The Intramural Supervisors have been given directions and authority by the OCR to carry out necessary duties. Any problems should be referred to the supervisor in charge.
  3. Forfeit time is 5 minutes after the game’s scheduled time. A team must have 6 players present by forfeit time in order to play.
  4. An I.D. will be required from each team for the flags. In addition, an I.D. will be required for the jerseys one of the teams must wear. The I.D.’s will be returned when all of the equipment is returned to the official. Coaches are responsible for lost equipment, and must pay the replacement cost of the lost equipment prior to the next scheduled game (penalty: forfeit).
  5. No player, coach, or spectator shall use abusive or insulting language, or physically abuse any player, coach, spectator, or intramural employee.




1.1  Responsibilities of Coaches

  1. Check with your players to see if any of them are participating in other intramural activities that may cause a time conflict with your flag football schedule. If you have players in these other activities, notify OCR immediately and we will try to avoid conflicts.
  2. Read and know the rules. Have a team meeting to go over the rules and schedule.
  3. Control yourself, your teammates, and your spectators.
  4. Represent your team prior to, during and after games and at all meetings.
  5. Coaches are responsible for seeing that the officials have the correct final score and should check the score board outside the Office of Campus Recreation.
  6. Make sure all of your players are eligible to play.
  7. Only the Captain may address an official on matters of rule interpretation and for information.
  8. No alcoholic beverages are permitted on the intramural fields (see posted policy).


1.2  Eligibility

  1. A person may play for one team only.
  2. To be eligible each player’s name must be on the team roster filed with the OCR.
  3. Freshman must play in the freshman league.
  4. Penalty for any of the above is possible forfeiture of the game and player suspension.

1.3  Number of Players

  1. Each team may have a maximum of 7 players on the field.
  2. It is recommended that a team have a minimum of 12 players on the roster.
  3. A team may start a game with 6 players. Due to injuries or ejections, a team may continue to play with less than 6 players.


1.4 Protest Procedure

  1. Get the two captains together with the official and settle the dispute.
  2. If satisfaction is not reached, call the supervisor who will then settle the problem.
  3. Neither team may leave the site, nor may the game begin or continue until the protest has been settled.
  4. Eligibility protest must be filed with the supervisor before the game, or when the problem arises.
  5. Judgment calls cannot be protested.
  6. The protest must be made before the next snap of the ball.
  7. Teams who wish to carry the protest further may do so by following the guidelines set forth in the Recreational Handbook.


1.5  Equipment

  1. No helmet or any type of hard or padded headgear may be worn.
  2. Pads are allowed to protect an injury as long as they are constructed entirely of soft, non-abrasive, no-hardening material (no casts).
  3. Shoes must be worn. No hard soled street, combat or hiking boots are permitted. Note: A kicker may kick barefoot on a scrimmage kick.
  4. If cleats are worn, they may contain no metal or sharp points.
  5. Any equipment, in the opinion of the official or supervisor that would confuse or endanger other players is illegal. (No jewelry, hats with bills, or head gear with knots)
  6. Flags may not be tied on.
  7. Belts with 3 colored flags will be supplied and must be worn by every player on the field. Note: Captain must give the official an I.D. for the flags. Penalty for 1-6 above illegal equipment – 12 yards.
  8. Colored jerseys will be provided and must be worn by the team selecting them. Note: Captain must give the official an I.D. for the jerseys.
  9. Game equipment: The teams participating must provide a legal game ball. If necessary, a game ball may be checked out from the SRC during hours with a valid VU I.D. The officials will be the sole judge of the legality of the ball. Each team may use any legal ball of its choice when on offense.



2.1 Periods

  1. A legal game shall consist of (2) 20 minute halves.
  2. If the score is tied after 2 halves, a sudden death period will be played. (tournament play only)


2.2 Time

  1. Each half will be 20 minutes in length.
  2. Half-time will be 3 minutes in length.
  3. During the first 18 minutes of each half the clock will stop only on team time-outs and official’s time-outs.
  4. During the last 2 minutes of each half, the clock will stop on incomplete passes, out of bounds plays, first downs, penalties, change of possession, safeties, touchdowns and touchbacks.
  5. If one team is ahead by 18 or more points at 2 minute warning for the end of the game, the clock will be kept as described in article 3 above.
  6. Each time out will be one minute long – plus 25 seconds for the offense to put the ball in play.
  7. The official shall notify the teams when 30 seconds remain in the time-out.
  8. Two time-outs are allowed each team per half. One additional time-out is allowed during a sudden death period.
  9. The referee will keep the 25 second clock. The umpire will keep the official game clock. Teams are responsible for scorekeeping.


2.3 Substitutions

  1. Players may substitute freely between downs. No player may enter after the snap of the ball. Penalty: Illegal participation. Note: No sleeper plays.



3.1 Starting the game

  1. The referee shall bring the captains together for the coin toss.
  2. The winner of the toss shall choose offense or defense.
  3. The loser of the toss gets the remaining option and the choice of wearing the jerseys.
  4. There are no kickoffs. The ball shall be placed at the 20 yd. line.


3.2 Starting the second half

  1. Switch ends.
  2. Give the option of offense or defense to the team not having the first option.
  3. Place ball on the 20 yard line to begin play.



4.1 Blocking and Screening

  1. Blocking as in regulation football is prohibited. No player may use his hands or body to block or ward off an opponent.
  2. Offensive players may however, protect the ball carrier by screening.
  3. Screening shall be defined as an offensive player maintaining a position between the defensive player and the ball carrier. The screener must keep his hands and arms at his side or behind his back.
  4. No part of the screeners body, except his feet, may be in contact with the ground. (No roll or crab blocks)
  5. Movement of the screener’s body in any direction which is responsible for initiating contact with an opposing player is illegal contact. Note: Penalty for 1-5 –Illegal Contact.
  6. Screeners may not interlock arms or legs. Penalty: Illegal Procedure.


4.2 Procedures

  1. Centering: To be legal, the snap must be a quick and continuous motion through the legs. Penalty: False Start.
  2. At least 4 offensive players must be on the line of scrimmage. (Within 1 yard of the line) Penalty: Illegal Procedure.
  3. No 3 or 4 point stances by any player except the center. Penalty: Illegal Procedure.
  4. No offensive player shall make a false start. A false start is any movement simulating the start of the play.
  5. One offensive player may be in motions, but not toward the line of scrimmage. If such players starts from the line of scrimmage, he must be at least fie yards behind the line when the ball is snapped. The man in motion must have begun his movement one full second prior to the ball being snapped. Penalty: Illegal Motion.
  6. All offensive players must be set one full second before the ball is snapped. Penalty: Illegal Motion.
  7. Two or more players may simultaneously shift their positions prior to the snap as long as #5 and #6 above are adhered to.
  8. No player, except the center, may line up with any part of his body in the neutral zone. (encroachment) The neutral zone is 1 yard wide.
  9. The offense has 25 seconds to put the ball in play after the official gives the ready-to-play signal. Penalty: Delay of game. Note: Penalty for article 1-9 –

5 yards.

  1. Diving to advance the ball, or pull a flag is not permitted. Penalty: Diving.
  2. An offensive player who voluntarily goes out of bounds may not return to that play.  Penalty: Illegal Participation.
  3. The offense has four downs to cross into the next zone to pick up a first down. Zones are 20 yards apart.
  4. Offensive players may not line up in the neutral zone. Penalty: Encroachment.
  5. Offensive players may not line up within 5 yards of the sideline.


4.3 The Ball Carrier

  1. The ball carrier may not use a stiff arm.
  2. The ball carrier may not lower the shoulder, or crash into an opponent.
  3. The ball carrier may not hinder an opponent from removing the flag with his hands or arms. Penalty for 1-3 above Illegal Contact.
  4. The ball carrier cannot dive or hurdle to advance the ball. Penalty: Leaving the Feet.
  5. The ball carrier may not hid the ball under any clothing. Penalty: Unsportsmanlike Conduct.
  6. The ball carrier must have his shirt tucked in.


4.4 Passing

  1. One forward pass per play. Teams may throw as many backward passes (laterals) as they wish. Penalty: Illegal Forward Pass.
  2. All players are eligible to catch a pass. Note: Cannot throw a pass to yourself. Penalty: Illegal Forward Pass.
  3. A pass can be tipped by more than one offensive player in succession and still be a complete pass.
  4. The passer may not intentionally throw a pass which is unable to be caught by an offensive player for the purpose of avoiding a loss. Penalty: Intentional Grounding.
  5. The receiver of a punt may pass the ball, provided he does not take more than two steps after gaining control of the ball. If the pass falls incomplete, the spot of the pass will be the line of scrimmage, with a loss of down. Penalty: Illegal Forward Pass.


4.5 Pass Receiving

  1. In order to be a completed pass, the receiver must have possession of the ball, and at least one foot inbounds.
  2. If two players from opposing teams catch the ball simultaneously, the ball is dead and belongs to the offense at the spot.
  3. The receiver may dive to catch or knock down a pass.
  4. A player may sink to his knees to insure the catch of a pass, however, he is down at that spot.
  5. If a player catches a ball without a flag on, he is downed when touched with one hand below the shoulders.
  6. Offensive pass interference – loss of down and 12 yards. (Pick plays are not permitted).


4.6 Fumbles

  1. All fumbles and blocked punts are dead at the time they touch the ground.
  2. Backward fumble – dead at the spot it hits.
  3. Any fumble that is caught in the air before it strikes the ground my be advanced.
  4. Backward fumble into the end zone – safety.
  5. A snap from center that hits the ground is considered a fumble.


4.7 Scoring

  1. To be ruled a touchdown, the ball must be on or over the goal line. Touchdowns count 6 points.
  2. After a touchdown, the point after touchdown is attempted from the 3 yard line. PAT counts 1 point for a kick, 2 for a pass or run.
  3. Field goals count 3 points. May be placed or dropped kick.
  4. Safety – 2 points. Place the ball on the 40 yard line to resume play.

4.8 Miscellaneous

  1. At all times the ball must be returned to the official at the end of a play. Spiking the ball is prohibited. Penalty: Unsportsmanlike Conduct.
  2. In case of an inadvertent whistle, the offensive team has the option to replay the down, or take the ball where it was blown dead.
  3. The official has the right, if circumstances permit, to reverse an incorrect decision. This must be done before the ball is put in play.




5.1 Free kicks

  1. A protected kick must be executed within 4 seconds after the snap. Penalty: Dead ball. Ball goes to the defense.
  2. A scrimmage kick may be executed on any down. On fourth down, the official shall ask the offensive team if they want to kick with protection. If the offense wants a protected kick on any other down, they must inform the official of their intentions. In both cases, the defense will be informed if a protected kick is being made.
  3. On a protected kick, the offense and defense must have 4 players on the line of scrimmage. (Within 1 yard of the line).
  4. The kick must be executed at least five yards behind the line of scrimmage.
  5. Neither team can leave or cross the line of scrimmage until the ball has been kicked. Penalty for 3-5 above: Illegal Procedure.


5.2 Quick Kicks

  1. A team wishing to kick need not declare a protected kick. They may quick kick, but lose all benefits of a protected kick.
  2. Blocked Quick Kicks
    1. Blocked in the end zone – safety.
    2. Blocked from outside the end zone into the end zone – defense’s ball at point of block.
    3. Blocked, but not backward, defense’s ball at point where it strikes the ground.
    4. Blocked and caught – may be advanced by either team.


5.2 Kick Receiving

  1. A valid fair catch signal is the extended and lateral waving of one arm only above the head.
  2. If the receiver makes a valid fair catch signal, and does not attempt to catch the ball, he may not participate in that play. Penalty: Fair Catch Violation.
  3. The receiver shall not be interfered with while attempting to make a fair catch. Penalty: Fair Catch Interference.
  4. Punts and unsuccessful field goals may by returned. Kicks which hit in or roll into the end zone are touchbacks.
  5. After an unsuccessful field goal attempt which is not returned, return the ball to the previous line of scrimmage, and turn it over to the defense.
  6. If an unsuccessful field goal is attempted from within the 20 yard line and turn it over to the defense: touchback.
  7. Any kick crossing the goal line is a touchback.




6.1 Procedures

  1. No three or four point stances by any player are allowed.
  2. No defensive player shall use words or signals which obviously disconcert opponents when they are preparing to put the ball in play.
  3. A defensive player can dive to block or intercept a pass.
  4. A defensive player cannot dive to remove the ball carriers flag. Penalty: Diving. If he removes the flag on a dive, automatic first down plus 12 yards.
  5. A defensive player cannot initiate contact with an offensive player. He must go around at all times. Penalty: Illegal Contact.
  6. Roughing the passer, kicker, or holder. Penalty: Automatic First Down and 12 yards.
  7. The half or game cannot end on a defensive penalty.


6.2 Downing the Ball Carrier

  1. The ball carrier is down when his flag is removed. Exception: Thrower is not down if arm is in forward motion.
  2. A defensive player may not hold onto the ball carrier when attempting to remove a flag. Penalty: Defensive Holding.
  3. A defensive player may not remove an offensive player’s flag who does not have the ball. Penalty: Illegal Contact. If pass is in the air – Defensive Pass Interference.
  4. A defensive player may not dive to remove a flag. Penalty: Leaving the Feet. If flag is removed, 1st down and 12 yards.
  5. If the ball carriers knee comes in contact with the ground he is down.
  6. A defensive player may not run into a ball carrier in an effort to remove a flag.


  1. 7. CO-REC


  1. Co-Rec teams consist of 4 men and 4 women.
  2. Teams may start with 7 players. Three of which must be women.
  3. Touchdowns are worth 7 points if a female rushes, passes or receives for the score.




  1. Loose Ball Play – Kicks, forward passes, backward pass or fumble behind the line of scrimmage (LOS).

Basic Enforcement Spot – is the previous spot. If foul is by offense and occurs behind the basic enforcement spot, it is from the spot of the foul.

  1. Running Play – Behind the LOS, a running play includes a run which is not followed by a loose ball. Beyond the LOS, a running play includes any run and any loose ball which starts beyond the line following the run.

Basic Enforcement Spot – is where the run ends. If the foul is by the offense and occurs behind the basic enforcement spot, it is from the spot of the foul.

  1. If the distance of the penalty is greater than half the distance from the enforcement spot to the goal line, place the ball at the halfway spot.
  2. Offensive penalty occurring in their end zone – safety. Note: After safety, place ball on defensive teams 40 yard line.
  3. Loss of down penalty on fourth down – change of possession.
  4. Defensive Pass Interference – Penalty: an automatic first down at the spot. In the end zone spot ball on 1 yard line first down.
  5. No defensive player may line up, or cross into the neutral zone once the ball has been made ready to play. Penalty: Encroachment.




CONTACT, ILLEGAL                                                                        12 YARDS


DELAY OF GAME                                                                  4 YARDS


ENCROACHMENT                                                                 4 YARDS


EQUIPMENT, ILLEGAL                                                        12 YARDS


FAIR CATCH VIOLATION                                                    4 YARDS


FALSE START                                                                                    4 YARDS


FORWARD PASS, ILLEGAL                                                   4 YARDS, LOSS OF DOWN


HUDDLE VIOLATION                                                           4 YARDS, LOSS OF DOWN


INTENTIONAL GROUNDING                                                           4 YARDS, LOSS OF DOWN


LEAVING THE FEET                                                             12 YARDS, LOSS OF DOWN


MOTION, ILLEGAL                                                               4 YARDS


PASS INTERFERENCE                                                           12 YARDS, LOSS OF DOWN


PARTICIPATION, ILLEGAL                                                 12 YARDS, LOSS OF DOWN


PROCEDURE, ILLEGAL                                                        4 YARDS


UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT                                         12 YARDS, LOSS OF DOWN


PENALTIES AGAINST THE DEFENSE                                 DISTANCE


CONTACT, ILLEGAL                                                                        12 YARDS


DEFENSIVE HOLDING                                                           12 YARDS, AUTOMATIC



ENCROACHMENT                                                                 4 YARDS


LEAVING THE FEET                                                             12 YARDS, IF FLAG IS




FAIR CATCH INTERFERENCE                                             12 YARDS


PARTICIPATION, ILLEGAL                                                 12 YARDS


PASS INTERFERENCE                                                           AUTOMATIC FIRST DOWN



ROUGHING PASSER                                                               12 YARDS, AUTOMATIC



ROUGHING KICKER, HOLDER                                             12 YARDS, AUTOMATIC



UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT                                         12 YARDS, POSSIBLE



  1. 9. SUDDEN DEATH (Tournament Play Only)


  1. The period will start 2 minutes after the end of the second half.
  2. Place the ball on the same 10 yard line for both teams. Each team gets 4 downs to score touchdowns, extra points, and field goals.
  3. Each team will have one possession to outscore their opponent.
  4. If the score remains tied, each team is awarded one series until a winner is determined.
  5. Interceptions are dead when the defense establishes control.
  6. Toss of the coin will determine who has first possession.




  1. Rain-outs are not decided upon until after 3 p.m. the day of the game.
  2. Please do not forfeit. If you are going to forfeit, please notify the Office of Campus Recreation ahead of time. 2 forfeits and your team will be removed from the league.
  3. Any player or coach ejected from a game is automatically suspended for at least one more contest.
  4. An ejected player shall not have any further contact with any intramural employee that day or night.
  5. No schedule information will be given over the phone.


Pre-Game Talk


Ground rules (1st downs)

Blocking rules


Timing and time outs

Fumble rule

Kicking (field goals and punts)

Only captains may address officials

Must have shirts tucked in

4 men on the line/ must be set

No tampering with the belts

Toss of the coin