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Flag Football Rules & Regulations    



Warning: Your participation in this sport could result in physical injury, which could be serious or fatal!! Methodist University assumes no responsibility for injuries and related medical expenses received during Intramural sports activities. Students, faculty and staff are reminded that intramural participation is completely voluntary. It is strongly recommended that all participants have a physical examination and secure adequate medical insurance prior to participation.

Required of all participants:

1.    No jewelry

2.    No steel or metal cleats 

3.    Padded support braces if result of previous injury or required by a doctor

1.    A student, faculty or staff I.D. will be required and checked at all games. NO I.D. - NO PLAY!!

2.    Game time is forfeit time; teams must have at least 5 players present at game time to avoid a forfeit. Two forfeits will result in a team being dropped from the tournament. Any forfeiting team will be held accountable per the IM Sports Handbook.

3.    Games will be two 15 minute halves with a 3 minute half time.

4.    Any player addressing an opponent or staff member with profanity will be ejected from that game and must meet with a professional staff member or the Assistant Director before participating again.


  1. Player Eligibility and Check-In:

a.)      All players must first register on the EZLeagues webpage, and join a team to be placed on the team roster. Players MUST be on the team roster to participate in a game. Write-ins will only be accepted their 1st day playing.

b.)      All participants must be current student, staff, or faculty.

c.)      Each player must check-in prior to game time and present their current MU ID card.

d.)      A player must be signed-in and checked off before entering the game on the game sheet.

e.)      Roster additions can be made at any time up until the final date for roster additions. Please check the flag football sport page on EZLeagues for this information. Following this date only special requests will be accommodated, but the Intramural office must be contacted.

f.)       Coaches: Coaches may be recognized for an intramural team, but MUST be on the team roster and also be checked off and identified by the intramural staff and its officials prior to the start of the game.


  1. Number of Players:
    1. A team will consist of maximum of (7) players on the field.
    2. A team must have at least (5) players to begin and end the game with.  A team may not participate nor continue with fewer than (5) players.
    3. Teams may have a max of 12 players on their roster.


  1. Equipment:
    1. Molded cleats are the only cleats allowed. Shoes must be athletic shoes, providing toe and heel protection. No boots, flip flops, or bare feet.
    2. Bandanas with a tied knots and hats with brims on them are not allowed.
    3. No casts or braces of any kind when worn on the elbow, hand, finger, wrist or forearm.  Ankle or knee braces are acceptable; exposed metal parts must be covered.
    4. All players must wear jerseys or shirts with numbers on them and the same color or similar likeness. Pennies are provided if you can’t supply your own. Jerseys or shirts must be tucked in at all times to access pulling of the flag belt or be at a cut above the flag belt that is acceptable.
    5. Belt loops, shorts or pants with pockets, exposed drawstrings, or un-tucked hoods are prohibited.
    6. All decisions on the legality of equipment will be made by the officials and his/her decision is final.


  1. Playing Field:
    1. Coach Sink Field:

·   The playing field is 80-yards long by 40-yards wide.

·   The field will be divided into (3) 20-yard zones – these zones will be used as the zones-to-gain or line-to-gain for first downs.  Each end zone is 10-yards deep.


  1. Playing Time & Intermissions:
    1. Games will consist of two 15-minute halves.  The clock will run continuously for the first half and until the last 2 minutes of the 2nd half. The clock will stop for timeouts or at the discretion of the Officials. The last 2-minutes of the 2nd half the clock will stop for the following:

·   Two-minute warning – clock will stop on or after the 2-minute mark of the 2nd half depending on a play, and will restart on the snap.

·   Scoring (touchdown or safety), and clock will remained stopped for the PAT – clock will restart on the opponent’s snap from scrimmage.

·   Incomplete Pass – clock restarts on the snap.

·   Out-of-Bounds – clock restarts on the snap.

·   Time-Outs – clock restarts on the snap.

·   First Downs – clock restarts depending on the result of the previous play, but will normally restart on the ready for play whistle.

·   Inadvertent Whistle – clock restarts on the ready for play whistle.

·   Penalties and enforcement – clock restarts depending on the result of the previous play.

·   Awarding of a new series; turnover on downs – clock restarts on the snap.

·   Delay of Game Penalties – clock restarts on the snap.

    1. Timeouts:  Each team will have 1 timeouts per half and will be 1-minute in length.  First half timeouts do not carry over to the second half.  The captain and Co-captain from each team will be recognized when asking for a timeout.
    2. Tie Games (Regular Season):  All games ending in a tie will be recorded as so.
    3. Tie Games (Playoffs Only):  Options will be determined by a coin flip; the HOME captain will call the toss.  Winner of the toss will be given the option of offense or defense; officials will choose the direction of play.  Teams will alternate choices if additional overtime is needed.

·   Each team will be entitled to (1) timeout only for the entire overtime.  Any timeouts remaining from the second half do not carry over.

·   Each team will be given a series of (4) downs from the 14-yard line to score a touchdown.

·   After a touchdown the TRY will still be attempted, and scored as indicated by what the offensive team chooses to attempt for (1, 2 or 3 point attempt).

·   If the defense intercepts the ball during the offensive team’s series of (4) downs and returns it for a touchdown, then they win the game.  If the ball is not returned for a touchdown the ball is placed at the 14-yard line to begin a new series of downs for the intercepting team.

    1. Extension of Halves (untimed downs):  A half will be extended by an untimed down, if during the last timed down, one of the following occurs:

1.    There was a foul (other than unsportsmanlike) by either team and penalty is accepted.

2.    Double Fouls.

3.    Inadvertent Whistle.

4.    If a touchdown was scored, the Try will be attempted.

***Note:  Accepted penalties that carry a Loss of Down will not extend the half.


  1. Start of the Game:
    1. The AWAY captain will call the toss.  The captain winning the toss will have the choice of three options:

·   First possession of the ball.

·   Defend their goal of choice.

·   Defer their option to the 2nd half.

    1. There will be NO Kick-off to begin each half.  Teams will start from the designated 14-yard line.

·   At the start of each half, following a safety, touchback, and after each PAT following a touchdown the ball will be placed from the offensive team’s own 14-yard line; unless moved by penalty.


  1. General Game Play:
    1. Ball-Spotters – Establishing the Line of Scrimmage and the Neutral Zone:  (2) discs/cones will be used to mark-off/establish the line of scrimmage and the neutral zone for each team and each down.

1.    The official will be responsible for moving these cones, and initiating the ready for play signal.

    1. Establishing Zone/Line to Gain following Loss of Yardage or Penalty Enforcement:

·   If a play or penalty forces the offensive team to retract yardage into a previous zone after establishing a new zone with a new set of (4) downs, then that team will still be required to advance into the originally, newly establish zone/line to gain from where the first down of the series was placed.

    1. Snapping the Ball:

·   The Official will initiate a ‘Ready-for-Play’ signal or whistle for each down prior to the snap.

·   The ball must be on the ground prior to the snap and pass the ball back with a quick and continuous motion.  The snapper may stand in any position they like.

·   The snapper, after assuming position of the ball may neither move nor change the position of the ball in a manner simulating the beginning of play; in other words, NO fake snaps.

·   The offense has (25) seconds, from the ready for play whistle, to snap the ball.

·   The player that receives the snap from the center must be at least 2-yards behind their scrimmage line.

    1. Offensive Responsibilities at the time of the Snap (Minimum Line Players):  There is no longer a scrimmage line minimum.
    2. Offensive Motion prior or at the time of the Snap:

·   Only one offensive player may be in motion, but not in motion towards the opponent’s goal line at the time of the snap.  All other offensive players must be stationary in their positions without movement of their feet, body, head, or arms.

    1. Screen Blocking, Rushing, & Contact:

·   Screen blocking is legally obstructing an opponent without using any part of the body to initiate contact.

·   The screen block must take place with no to very minimal contact.  The screen blocker shall have their arms at his/her side or behind his/her back when screen blocking.  Any use of the hands, arms, elbows, legs, or body to initiate contact during an offensive player’s screen block is illegal.

·   A player may use his/her hand(s) or arm(s) to break a fall or to retain balance.

·   Defensive players must go around the offensive player’s screen block.  Arms and hands may not be used as a wedge to displace the opponent.  The application of the rule depends entirely on the judgment of the official.

·   Fundamentals:

1.    Any player who screens shall not:

a.    Take position closer than a normal step when behind a stationary opponent.

b.    Make/Initiate contact when assuming a position at the side or in front of a stationary opponent.

c.    Take a position so close to a moving opponent that his/her opponent cannot avoid contact by stopping or changing direction.  The speed of the player to be screened will determine where the screener may take his/her stationary position.

d.    After assuming his/her legal screening position move to maintain it, unless he/she moves in the same direction/path as his/her opponent.

·   Runners are prohibited from contacting an opponent with extended hand or arm; the use of “stiff-arming” an opponent is illegal.

    1. Passing the Ball:

·   Defensive players must not contact the passer at anytime during or after the play.  Players may ONLY go for the flag.  Players/Rushers may try to deflect or block the ball, but cannot make contact with the passer in any way; even if the ball is deflected or blocked.  If contact is made at any point this is considered roughing the passer.

·   All players are eligible to touch a forward pass after it is thrown.  The passer may catch his/her own forward pass provided it has been touched by another player first.

·   Only one foot must touch inbounds in order for a pass reception to be considered legal.

·   If a legal forward pass is caught simultaneously by members of opposing teams, the ball is immediately dead upon the player’s return to the ground and belongs to the offense.

·   A forward pass constitutes a live ball thrown towards the opponent’s goal line.  A backwards pass is a live ball thrown parallel or backwards.

·   Only 1 forward pass is allowed per down.

·   For a legal forward pass the ball must be released behind the offensive scrimmage line.

1.    Note: It is legal for an offensive player to cross their line of scrimmage, and then retreat back behind that line of scrimmage to attempt a forward pass given that is the team’s first attempted forward pass.

·   The offense is permitted to take the snap and immediately throw the ball to the ground to stop the clock.

·   It is illegal to intentionally throw the ball out of bounds or to the ground to avoid a loss of yardage.

·   Players may pass the ball backwards at any time.

·   If the passer is deflagged prior to releasing the ball, then the ball is dead and the down has ended at the spot of the flag pull.  The timing of any flag pull in conjunction with a thrown pass will be left to the discretion of the official(s).

    1. Stealing/Stripping the Ball:

·   It is illegal to attempt to steal the ball while in a player’s possession.  Once a player has obtained possession of the ball, his/her opponent must play the flag, not the ball.

·   Any attempt or motion to strip, punch or strike at the ball while in a player’s possession is also illegal.

    1. Ball Hitting the Ground:

·   A backward pass or fumble which touches the ground is dead at the spot where it first touches the ground.

·   If a player in possession of the ball fumbles, then the play is blown dead, and possession remains with that team that fumbled, unless lost on downs.

    1. Punting (Kicking/Throwing):

·   On Fourth Down the official will ask the team captain if they will be punting or “going for it,” and announce this decision aloud for both teams.

1.    There are NO fake punts allowed.

·   Punts may be thrown or punted (this decision is up to the kicking team/player).

·   Punts will be snapped.  After receiving the snap, the kicker/thrower must release the ball immediately.  Official’s discretion will be used with any team “trying to consume time” if delaying the kick/throw following the snap of the ball, and a penalty can be enforced.

·   Neither the kicking nor the receiving team may advance beyond their scrimmage lines until the ball has been released; there is no rushing of the punter.

·   When a punt touches a player from either team and then hits the ground, the ball is dead and belongs to the receiving team. If a punt first hits the ground, then it may be received and advanced by the receiving team.

1.    A kicking player cannot release the ball to themselves or any other kicking player.  If first caught or touched by a player from the kicking team, the ball is dead, and the receiving team takes possession of the ball at the spot of the catch or touch.

2.    If the ball hits a receiving player in the air, and then is caught by another receiving player, it can be advanced.

a.    If the ball hits a receiving player, and is caught by a player from the kicking team before hitting the ground, the ball is dead at the spot of the catch, and belongs to the kicking team; a new series is awarded.

·   There are no fair-catches on punts – the ball remains live.

·   If a (thrown) punt goes out of bounds between the receiving team’s goal line and 14-yard line, the ball is spotted at the 14-yard line. If a (kicked) punt goes out of bounds between the receiving team’s goal line and 14-yard line, the ball is spotted at where it went out of bounds.  If a punt goes out of bounds at any other point in front of the 14-yard line the ball is spotted at the spot where it went out.

·   If the punt breaks the plane of the receiving team’s goal line, it is a touchback; the ball is spotted at the 14-yard line.


  1. Scoring:
    1. Touchdown – 6 points
    2. Extra Point Try:          

·   From 3 yard line – 1 point

·   From 10 yard line – 2 points

·   From 20 yard line – 3 points

    1. Safety – 2 points

***Following each score the player scoring the points will be deflagged by the official to ensure the player did not have an illegally secured flag belt


  1. The TRY:
    1. Following a Touchdown the scoring team’s captain must announce what points they will be attempting to gain – 1, 2 or 3 points.  The official will announce this to the defending team.

·   The offensive team may ONLY change their decision when a timeout is taken by either team.

    1. If, during the Try, a loss of down penalty is given on the offense, then there is no score and no replay.
    2. If there is a foul on the defense during a successful Try, the penalty will be enforced from the 14-yard line once the change of possession has occurred.
    3. If a double foul occurs, the down will be replayed.


  1. Safety; occurs when:
    1. A runner carries the ball into their own end zone, and it becomes dead while in their possession – they become deflagged, step out of bounds, or drop the ball.
    2. A player on the offense commits any foul for which the penalty is accepted and the measurement is from a spot in his/her end zone.
    3. After a safety, the ball will be snapped by the scoring team at their own 14-yard line (unless moved by penalty).


  1. Miscellaneous Rules of Game Play:
    1. Flag Belts & Flag Guarding:

·   Players must have possession of the ball before they can be deflagged legally by an opponent.

·   If a player loses their flags inadvertently or without having been contacted by an opponent, then play continues and they are only deflagged by a 1-hand touch between the shoulders and knees.

·   During ALL plays, a player running with the ball CANNOT intentionally block access to, or prevent the removal of their flags.  Fellow offensive teammates also may NOT run alongside or nearby a teammate who has the ball and screen defensive players from having access to the ball carrier; this is defined as Flag Guarding, and is illegal.

·   Opponents may NOT hold, push or knock a player or ball carrier down in an attempt to gain advantage or remove their flags.  A player with the ball may NOT be pushed out of bounds – Illegal Contact/Personal Foul.

·   A ball carrier cannot deliberately run through an opponent who is attempting to deflag.  Ball carriers must make an attempt to avoid contact – Charging/Personal Foul

    1. Inadvertent Whistle:

·   If an inadvertent whistle occurs, the play is immediately blown dead.

·   The team in possession of the ball may elect to put the ball in play where it was declared dead or replay the down.

·   In the event that an inadvertent is sounded during a loose ball (forward pass or punt, for example), the ball is returned to the previous spot and the down replayed.

·   No time will be added back to the game clock for an inadvertent whistle.

    1. In-Game Protests:

·   Protests concerning a Rule Interpretation will be considered on the field by the Head Supervisor following the incident in question.  Only the captain may call for a protest and present the situation in question to the Head Supervisor.  The game will be suspended until a decision is made regarding the protest.  If a team continues with the next play following the incident in question and does not call for protest, then the team forfeits their right to protest.

·   Judgment calls cannot be protested, and will not be overturned.

·   A team choosing to protest will be charged with a timeout if the protest is ruled invalid.  If the protest is valid, the timeout will be charged to the officials.  If a team chooses to protest with no timeouts remaining they may do so, however, they will be charged with a 5-yard delay of game penalty if the protest is ruled invalid.

    1. Disqualifications:

·   Two unsportsmanlike fouls by the same player results in a disqualification, and the player must be removed from the game.

·   Any team receiving four unsportsmanlike fouls in one game will automatically forfeit the contest.


  1. Mercy Rule:
    1. If a team is ahead by 19 or more points when the 2-minute warning is announced in the 2nd half, then the game is over.  If a team scores in the last 2-minutes of the 2nd half and that score results in a point differential of 19 or more points, then the game is over.


  1. Sportsmanship Rating:

·         The Sportsmanship Rating System is designed and intended to be an objective scale by which a team’s overall sportsmanship (which includes attitude and behavior) can be assessed during an intramural game and throughout a team’s season, which includes playoffs. Behavior before, during and after an intramural game is included in this rating. The team captain(s) is/are responsible for educating and informing all players and spectators associated with their team about this rating system.


  1. Team/Individual misconduct:

·         Profanity and/or any other forms of derogatory or abusive language towards officials, site supervisors, administrative staff, other participants, and spectators are unacceptable actions during participation in Intramural sports, events, and tournaments.

Ø  Furthermore, physical misbehavior, such as fighting, will not be tolerated when participating in Intramural sports, events, and tournaments. All participants, thus, acknowledge that they are subject to both removal from the team/league and disciplinary action from Methodist University on any such occasion.

Ø  These actions will result in immediate ejection from the game. The individual and/or team must meet with a professional staff member or the Directors before being allowed to play again.


  1. Sportsmanship:

·         The goal of MU Intramural Sports is to provide recreational environments for its participants which are safe, fun, and inclusive and further promotes teamwork, communication, integrity and healthy lifestyles. While the game environment can be competitive, ensuring player safety, providing a fun atmosphere, and promoting sportsmanlike behavior for participants, spectators, and staff are the program’s primary concerns and are the sole responsibility of its participants, spectators, and staff.

Ø  Participants and spectators are expected to maintain good sportsmanship throughout their participation in MU Intramural Sports as it applies to Intramural Staff, fellow participants, team followers, and spectators.

·         The team and captain(s) are responsible for the actions of the individual team members and spectators or team followers.  Coaches may be recognized for an intramural team, but MUST be on the team roster and also be checked off and identified by the intramural staff and its officials prior to the start of the game.

Ø  Only the recognized head team captain (1) and/or coach are permitted to speak to the officials regarding administrative matters such as protests, ejections, rule clarifications, etc.  Intramural staff will only recognize these persons when communicating matters in an intramural game, and only when addressed in a civil, good-natured manner.

Ø  Furthermore, it is expected of team captains and/or coaches to assist the intramural staff and its officials to calm difficult situations, restrain troubled teammates, and assist in other administrative matters as asked by the intramural staff and its officials.


  1. Cancellations (Weather or Unforeseen Circumstances):

·         For any game that is cancelled due to hazardous conditions (weather or facility) and not played or rescheduled, a tie will be assessed to both teams with a score of (0-0). In addition, both teams will receive a sportsmanship rating of 5.0.

·         If a cancellation to a game in play is made due to hazardous conditions, the game will count if the 1st half of the game has been played and ended. The game score at any time thereafter will be the score. A teams’ sportsmanship rating will be assessed up until the point of cancellation.

·         For any and all sightings of lighting teams must be removed from the field, and play will be suspended immediately; a 30-minute time limit will be implemented form the first sight of lighting and will reset each time if seen again.

·         Officials and other staff have final say over rain related suspension of play or cancellations.


  1. Forfeits & Defaults:

·         After two forfeit, teams become ineligible for playoffs. Teams are dropped from competition after three forfeits. If a team knows that they are unable to make a contest, they must notify the Intramural Office (630-7366) before 2:00 P.M. on the scheduled day of the game to not receive a forfeit charge (they will receive a loss and “3” sportsmanship). You may also text to 910-527-1240 and please give your name, team name, and game time.

·         Teams may cancel one (1) game free of penalty if notice is given 24 hours or more in advance and with a valid, academic reason.

·         For any forfeits a match differential of (30-0) will be assessed. In addition, the forfeiting team will receive a sportsmanship rating of 3.0

·         For any defaults a match differential of (19-0) will be assessed. In addition, the winning team will receive a sportsmanship rating of 5.0 and losing team a 4.0.


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