FLAG FOOTBALL RULES
All participants are required to complete a waiver of liability form for each sport. All participants in intramural sports activities assume the risk of injury. East Texas Baptist University, its employees and agents shall not be liable for injury to person, loss or damage to personal property arising from or in any way resulting from participation in the intramural sports activities.
BEFORE THE GAME: Team captains are required to turn in a school-issued I.D. card in order to receive flag belts and/or equipment for his/her team. After the game and all belts and equipment are accounted for, the I.D. will be returned.
OFFICIAL'S AUTHORITY: Officials assume authority the moment they step onto the field, and until they have left the field. The officials have the authority to rule on any situation not specifically covered in the rules. This decision is final, unless ruled otherwise by the supervisor on duty or the Director of Intramural Sports. The official has the right to eject players, coaches, or fans or have them sit out of part or all of the game. Players, coaches, and fans are all considered part of the team and any fouls they commit will go against their team.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: Each team should start the game with seven players; a minimum of five is needed to avoid a forfeit. A player may play on only one team per sport.
LENGTH OF GAME: Playing time shall be 40 minutes, separated into two halves of 20 minutes. Half-time shall be 3 minutes. There will be a running clock for the entire first half (the clock will stop only for a defensive delay of game penalty, team time-out or injury time-out as deemed by an official), and the first 18 minutes of the second half. The clock will stop during the last 2 minutes of the second half after a dead ball situation (player runs out of bounds, incomplete pass, fumble, penalty, etc). The clock will NOT stop after a first down.
Each team will have one timeout per half. Timeouts do NOT carry over. There will be no timeouts in overtime.
A coin toss will determine who shall receive the choice of possession or side at the beginning of the game. The home team chooses heads or tails before the toss. If only one team is ready to play at game time, that team will automatically have the choice.
MERCY RULE: If a team is winning by 28 points or more halfway into the second half (10 minutes remaining in the game), the game shall be over. If a team scores during the final 10 minutes of the second half and that score creates a point differential of 20 or more, the game shall end at that point.
Touchdowns = 6 points
Extra Points = 1 point if successful from the 3 yard line
Extra Points = 2 points if successful from the 10 yard line
Extra Points = 3 points if successful from the 20 yard line
Safety = 2 points
Defensive Conversion on Extra Point Attempt = 3 points
Once a team has made their choice on the extra point, they can only change their decision by taking a time-out.
SAFETY: If a player carries the ball across his/her own goal line and the ball becomes dead, or if the offensive team commits a foul in the end zone, it will be declared a safety. A team recording a safety will receive two points, and shall receive the ball at their own touchback line, unless moved by penalty.
Exception: Momentum Rule - When a player intercepts a forward pass or catches a punt and momentum carries that player into the end zone where the ball becomes dead, the ball will belong to the receiving team at the spot of the catch or reception.
OVERTIME (TIE GAME): If the score is tied after regulation time, then a coin toss will determine who will get the ball & side. The home team shall call the toss. Each team will have the chance to score in series of four downs from 20 yards out. If the score is still tied after each team has had a try (including extra point attempts), a second series is played, and so on until a winner is determined.
Extra Points in Overtime: The first round of extra points will be from the 3 yard line. The second and third round of overtime, if needed, will be from the 10 yard line. Extra points must be taken from the 20 yard line for any overtime after the first three rounds (4th, 5th, etc).
SUBSTITUTIONS: A team can substitute a player at any time while the ball is not in play (remember the varsity rule). Any player entering the game must do so from his team’s sideline. A player may not enter the game by “sneaking” onto the opposite side of the field. (Illegal Substitution: Ten yards, loss of down)
All players, coaches, and fans must stay outside of the official’s area (three feet from sideline). The team captain is responsible for making sure the team fans follow this rule as well. A warning will be given on the first offense, and a 15 yard penalty and loss of down/first down for every offense thereafter (Sideline Interference).
START OF THE GAME: The team that receives the ball first will start their possession with the line of scrimmage being the touchback spot (seven yards out). After every score, touchback, or safety during the game, the team receiving the ball with start from this location, with the exception of overtime.
PLAY CLOCK/DELAY OF GAME: The offense will have 20 seconds to snap the ball once the ball has been spotted by an official (Delay of Game, dead ball, five yard penalty).
No defensive player shall touch the ball, stand in, or in any other way interfere with the offensive team while the ball is not in play (Delay of Game, dead ball, ten yard penalty, first down).
LINE OF SCRIMMAGE: The offensive team must have a minimum of 4 players set at the line of scrimmage at the snap (Illegal Formation, five yard penalty). Players in motion do not count as players on the line of scrimmage. Only one player may be in motion at a time once the center has been set (Illegal Shift, five yard penalty).
FALSE START: Any movement by an offensive player not in motion before the snap (False Start, dead ball, five yard penalty).
ENCROACHMENT: Any action by a defensive player that causes a set offensive player to move, react, or otherwise cause that player to alter the set position, or any defensive player touching an offensive player at the line of scrimmage is illegal (Encroachment, dead ball, five yard penalty).
HOLDING: If a player (offensive or defensive) grabs another player (without the ball) by the jersey, body, belt, or any other equipment or anything attached to that player in a manner that prohibits that player from progressing, a holding penalty shall be called (Offensive Holding- ten yard penalty from the previous spot; Defensive Holding, five yard penalty from the end of the play).
BLOCKING: Legally obstructing an opponent without using any part of the body to initiate contact. Blockers shall have their hands and arms at their sides or behind their back. Blockers cannot use their hands, arms, elbows, legs or body to initiate contact. Absolutely no contact is allowed below the waist. If such contact is made, it will be penalized as an Illegal Block (ten yards, loss of down; in the case of a turnover, the penalty shall be assessed from the spot of the turnover).
ILLEGAL CONTACT: The defensive players (and offensive, for that matter) shall not place their arm(s) on an opponent in a manner to gain leverage or push them to the side, i.e. swim moves (Illegal Contact, ten yard penalty, first down/loss of down).
STIFF ARMING: Stiff arming is not allowed; a personal foul will be called, and if warranted, such as a stiff arm to the head or any other over-aggressive action, an additional Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalty or ejection may result.
ROUGHING THE PASSER: A defender may not make contact with the quarterback’s arm, head, or any other part of the upper body before, during or after a pass attempt. The mid-section/lower body may be touched for the purpose of pulling the flagbelt only. Any other contact, incidental or not, will be considered roughing (Personal Foul- Roughing the Passer, 15 yard penalty, first down).
If, in the view of the official, a defensive player is pushed into the quarterback by a member of the offensive team, no foul shall be called.
OBSTRUCTING THE RUNNER: A defensive player shall not hold, grasp, or obstruct the forward progress of the runner when attempting to remove the flag belt (Obstruction, ten yard penalty, first down).
FORWARD PASSES AND INTERCEPTIONS: If a player is in the air attempting to catch a ball, the player must contact the ground with at least one foot in-bounds with the ball in possession prior to going out of bounds. If possession of the ball is lost simultaneously when the player hits the ground, it is not a catch. If a forward pass is caught simultaneously by members of opposing teams, the ball is dead at that spot and belongs to the team that snapped the ball.
If a player is pushed out of bounds while in the air and does not land with one or both feet in bounds, it is NOT a catch. In other words, the “push-out” rule is NOT in effect.
BACKWARD PASSES AND FUMBLES: Any ball that is fumbled during a down will be dead by rule once it has touched the ground. The ball will belong to the team committing the fumble at the spot the player lost the ball, not where the ball lands or goes out of bounds.
A backward pass may be caught or intercepted by any player and advanced. This will be considered a lateral, and is legal behind and beyond the line of scrimmage. A player may not intentionally throw a backward pass out of bounds to conserve time or to avoid being downed (Intentional Grounding, ten yard penalty from the previous spot, loss of down).
Any ball thrown backwards behind the line of scrimmage may then be thrown forward and advanced beyond the line of scrimmage. Once a ball advances beyond the line of scrimmage it may not be thrown forward.
PASS INTERFERENCE: Any contact that, in the view of the official, interferes with the attempt to catch a pass (offensive or defensive player) is pass interference unless, in the view of the official, it occurs when two or more eligible receivers make a simultaneous and bona fide attempt to reach, catch, or bat a pass. If the pass interference is intentional and/or unsportsmanlike, an Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalty may be assessed in addition to the pass interference.
On all defensive pass interference penalties, the offense will receive the ball at the spot of the foul. If the foul is committed in the endzone, the offensive will receive the ball at the 3 yard line. Offensive pass interference will be a ten yard penalty from the previous spot.
PUNTING: The referee must ask the offensive team if they are going to punt or go for it on fourth down. Once the offense has declared their choice, the referee will inform the defense of the offense's choice. The only way the offense can change their decision is to call a time-out, or if a foul occurs anytime prior to or during the down and the down is to be replayed. In the later case the offensive team will again be asked if they want to punt or go for it.
The kicking team must have all of its players, except for the punter, on the line of scrimmage (Illegal Formation, five yard penalty). No kicking team players may advance beyond the line of scrimmage until the ball is kicked (False Start, dead ball, five yard penalty). There are no restrictions to the number of players the defensive team must have on the line. Defensive players MAY attempt to block the punt by jumping straight up in the air. They may not, however, penetrate the line of scrimmage (Encroachment, ten yard penalty; if the result of the penalty advances the offense beyond the first down line, a first down shall be awarded). A punt that is blocked will be considered dead and the ball will be awarded to the defense (now becoming the offense) at the spot of the block.
If a punt is not caught in the air and hits the ground it is a dead ball.
The kicking team must give the player receiving the kick at least five yards to make an attempt to catch the ball (Catch Interference, 10 yard penalty from the end of the return; if the result of the return is a touchdown, the penalty will be enforced half the distance to the goal when the kicking team receives the ball).
THE FLAG BELT: All shirts must be tucked in, and are not permitted to hang over the flag belt. When a player scores, and upon request of the defense, they must immediately raise their hands and allow an official to examine the flag belt. This is done to insure that the flag belt has not been illegally secured. If the belt has been illegally secured, the score is disallowed, the player ejected, and a 15 yard Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalty will be administered from the previous spot.
It is illegal for a defensive player to intentionally pull a flag from an offensive player who is not in possession of the ball, or vice-versa in the case of a turnover (Unsportsmanlike Conduct, 15 yards, first down/loss of down).
GUARDING THE FLAG BELT: Runners shall not flag guard by using any part of the body or ball to deny the opportunity for an opponent to pull or remove the flag belt. Flag guarding includes, but is not limited, to:
· Swinging the hand or arm over the flag belt to prevent an opponent from deflagging.
· Placing the ball in possession over the flag belt to prevent an opponent from deflagging.
· Lowering the shoulders in such a manner that flag guards.
(Flag Guarding, 15 yards from the previous spot, loss of down; in the case of a turnover it will be 15 yards from the spot of the turnover)
PERSONAL FOULS: Any act listed below or any other act of unnecessary roughness as deemed by an official is a personal foul (15 yards, loss of down/first down, may warrant ejection if severe). Players shall not:
· Punch, strike, strip, steal, or attempt to steal the ball from a player in possession.
· Trip an opponent.
· Contact an opponent who is on the ground.
· Throw the runner to the ground.
· Hurdle another player.
· Contact an opponent either before the play or after the ball is declared dead.
· Make any contact with an opponent that is deemed unnecessary.
· Deliberately drive or run into a defensive player.
· Clip an opponent (hitting/blocking below the waist).
· Position themselves on the shoulders of a teammate or opponent to gain an advantage.
· Tackle the runner.
An Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalty will be treated as a personal foul (15 yards, loss of down/first down). A second Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalty for a player, coach, or fan in one game will result in IMMEDIATE EJECTION.
Any player that is ejected must meet with the Director of Intramural Sports before they will be allowed to play in their team's next game.
A. Headwear containing any hard, unyielding, stiff material, including billed hats, or items containing exposed knots.
C. Shoes with metal, ceramic, screw-in, or detachable cleats. Cleats must be molded.
D. Shirts or jerseys that do not remain tucked in. Any hood on a coat, sweatshirt, or shirt that does not remain tucked in.
E. Pants or shorts with any belt(s), belt loop(s), or exposed drawstring(s).
F. Leg and knee braces made of hard, unyielding material, unless covered on both sides and all edges overlapped.
G. Any slippery or sticky foreign substance on any equipment or exposed part of the body.
H. Exposed metal on clothes or person.
I. Towels may be attached at the player's waist, as long as the towel hangs in front of the player as to not interfere with the pulling of the flag belt. If a player’s towel interferes with the pulling of the flag belt, a 10 yard penalty shall be assessed from the previous spot (Equipment Interference). If a defensive player’s towel interferes with deflagging after a turnover, a 10 yard penalty shall be assessed from the spot of the turnover.
*If a player has a medical condition in which he/she requires special protection/equipment, a request may be made to the Director or Assistant Director of Intramural Sports.