LSUHSC FLAG FOOTBALL RULES
- Games governed by NIRSA Football Rules with modifications.
- In the case of a discrepancy, Rule Book will be on hand for every intramural game. Note: If team demands play be stopped to consult the Rule Book for a disagreement with a referee regarding a rule (play cannot be stopped regarding objective penalty), a 5-yard delay-of-game penalty will be enforced on the next play from scrimmage.
- All in-game decisions and penalties will be the responsibility of game referee(s).
- Final decision on any discrepancy between players and other players and/or referees that is not resolved during a game will be the responsibility of the league commissioner to handle at his discretion.
- Noncompliance to any rule can result in an ejection of a player and/or a forfeit for the entire team.
- Once the game has concluded, all decisions, penalties, and scores are final.
- Players must be current students at LSU School of Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, or Physical Therapy.
- Officials may check for LSUHSC IDs or Driver’s License before, during, or after any game.
III. THE GAME, FIELD, PLAYERS AND EQUIPMENT
- Games shall be played between two teams of 7 players each. Teams must start and end with a minimum of 5 players.
- If a team does not have at least 5 players, the game will result in a forfeit, which is scored 30 – 0.
- Jersey – Players of opposing teams must wear contrasting colored jerseys (t-shirts), without pockets. If two teams are the same color, one team, decided by the intramural coordinator, will be forced to change. Jerseys must be long enough so they remained
tucked in during the entire down or short enough so there is a minimum of 4” from the bottom of the jersey to the player’s waistline.
- Flag Belt – Each player must wear a one piece belt without knots, the waistline with three flags permanently attached, one flag on each side and one in the center of the back. The flags must be of a contrasting color to their opponent’s flags.
- Pants/Shorts – Each player must wear pants or shorts without belt(s), belt loops, NO POCKETS, exposed drawstrings, exposed snaps of any type. NO XCEPTIONS!
- All players must wear athletic type shoes. Among the items which do not meet these requirements are gymnastic slippers, loafers, tennis shoes cut so protection is reduced, ski and logger boots, and other apparel not intended for football use. Cleats are limited to studs or projections which do not exceed ½ inch in length.
- CLEATS ARE NOT ALLOWED.
- Tackle football type equipment is prohibited.
- Players are prohibited from wearing hats (stocking caps or bandannas are acceptable),
- THE WEARING OF ANY FORM OF JEWELRY IS PROHIBITED!
- Each team shall designate to the officials a field captain. The field captain will speak for the team in all dealings with the officials. The captain’s choice of any option shall be irrevocable.
- All substitutes, spectators, etc., must remain at least 5 yards behind the restraining line on each field at all times.
- The field of play is 40 yards x 80 yards. There are four 20-yard zones and two ten-yard end zones that mark the field of play. Teams in possession of the ball are given four downs in which to advance the ball into the next 20-yard (advancing) zone. Failing to cross into the next advancing zone results in loss of possession.
- Illegal Equipment – A player wearing illegal equipment shall not be permitted to play. This applies to any equipment which, in the opinion of the Staff or Referee, is dangerous or confusing.
IV. PERIODS, TIME FACTORS AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- The game will consist of two halves of 22 minutes each. The clock will run continuously for each half (excluding time outs). The clock will run during P.A.T. The final 2 minutes of the second half will be timed differently, with the clock being stopped by an incomplete pass or a player running out of bounds. The clock will NOT stop on first downs. The clock will not run on Point after Touchdown (PAT) Attempts in the final two minutes.
- PUTTING THE BALL IN PLAY – THE BALL SHALL BE PLACED AT THE TEAM’S 15 YARD LINE TO BEGIN EACH HALF OF A GAME AND FOLLOWING A TRY, TOUCHBACK OR SAFETY, UNLESS MOVED BY
PENALTY. THERE ARE NO KICKOFFS!
- A coin toss will determine choice. The team winning the toss shall choose one of the following options: (1) receiving the ball or (2) deferring option to 2nd half/which goal to defend. At the start of the second half the team losing the coin toss (or team that deferred in the 1st half) shall choose between the same options.
- Each team is allowed 2 one-minute time-outs per half. Half time will consist of no more than 3 minutes. Unused timeouts do not carry over into the second half.
- A team may substitute any number, but no more than seven players may be on the field at any given time.
- No substitute shall enter the game while a down is in progress.
- A game/half cannot end on a play in which a defensive penalty occurs.
- If a team is 20 or more points ahead when there are 2 minutes left in the game, the game shall be over. The same rule applies if a team increases their lead to 10 or more points during the final 2 minutes of the game. If the score is 30 points different with 10 minutes left, then the game will also be over.
- Delay of Game Penalty: The ball must be put in play promptly and legally, and any action or inaction which tends to prevent this is delay of game. This includes:
- Failure to put the ball in play within 25 seconds after it is declared ready for play.
- Putting the ball in play before it is declared ready for play.
- Deliberately advancing the ball after it has been declared dead.
- A captain-Referee conference after all permissible charged time-outs for the captain’s team have been used and during which the Referee is requested to reconsider the application of a rule and does not change the application.
- E. Failure to kick the ball immediately after receiving the snap on a punt.
V. DEAD BALL AND OUT-OF-BOUNDS
- The ball is dead whenever:
- A live ball touches the ground (other than a kicked ball).
- The ball is muffed on a punt return (the kick returnee drops the ball after touching it).
- Any part of the ball carriers body, except hand or foot, touches the ground.
- The officials whistle is sounded.
- The ball carrier steps on or over a boundary line.
- A forward pass, backward pass or fumble strikes the ground
- A ball carrier’s flag is pulled.
- A passers flag is pulled before the ball leaves the hand.
- A player, whose flag has fallen off unintentionally, is touched by an opposing player.
- Whenever the football is fumbled, batted or muffed, the ball is spotted where the ball first touched the ground. Exception: The ball is spotted where possession was lost if the team gains an advantage by fumbling the ball.
- An offensive player who goes out of bounds under his/hers own impetus during a down may not participate in the remainder of the down.
VI. PUNTING THE BALL
- Punts will be PROTECTED SCRIMMAGE KICKS and must be declared to the referee prior to the snap.
- Neither team may move or leave the line of scrimmage until the ball is PUNTED.
- Offense must maintain 4 people on the line of scrimmage prior to the ball being PUNTED.
- The Punter must receive the snap of the ball at least 5-yards behind the line of scrimmage and Punt the ball immediately (within 10 seconds) and in one continuous motion. The ball MUST be Punted forward of the line of scrimmage so that the receiving team may have an opportunity to field the ball. If team “A” is the Punting team,
then team “B” must be given the opportunity to receive the Punted ball.
- Attempting to block a punt is an illegal act.
- If punting team touches the ball, after the punt, prior to the receiving team touching it, the play is dead, and the possession is given to the receiving team at the spot the ball is declared downed.
- The scrimmage line is determined by the position of the ball.
- No player shall be offside prior to, or at the snap of the ball.
- Defensive players shall not enter the established neutral zone before the snap. Penalty: 5-yards replay the down.
- Defensive players must remain 1 yard off the line of scrimmage prior to the snap.
- If a defensive player lines up in the neutral zone or is offsides at the snap of the ball, the play will continue as a “free play” for the offense. At the conclusion of the play, the offense may elect to accept the penalty or accept the outcome of the play.
- The ball may be snapped between the center’s legs or from the side. The center may adjust the ball prior to the snap.
- Any offensive player may receive the snap, but they must be a minimum of 3-yards behind the scrimmage line.
- The offensive team is required to have a minimum of 4 players on the line of scrimmage.
- The ball may only be snapped once the referee has declared “line set;” at that time all the pre-play requirements have been met by the offense. If a player moves off the line after “line set” is called and causes less than 4 players to be on the line of scrimmage, “line set” must be reestablished by the referee prior to the ball being snapped.
- Offensive players must be motionless at the snap of the ball, but one player may be in motion parallel to or away from the line of scrimmage.
- The neutral zone between the offense and the defense is 1 yard.
- If a penalty occurs near the goal-line, which impedes for correct penalty yardage being awarded to the opposing team, the penalty will be assessed as half the distance to the goal-line.
VIII. HANDING THE BALL
- Players shall not hand the ball forward of the line of scrimmage or after a kick. A ball may be handed backward any time.
- The player receiving the snap may make a direct run to advance the ball.
- A snapper may not receive a hand-off unless he/she has first turned 180 degrees to face their own end zone.
- When running with the ball, a player cannot leave their feet (jump) to ovoid having their flag pulled, neither can they dive to advance the ball.
IX. PASSING THE BALL
- Only one forward pass can be thrown per down. The initial direction of a pass determines whether the pass is forward or backward. Example: If a passer throws a forward pass that is BEHIND the line of scrimmage, this is considered a forward pass.
- Any player may make a backward pass to any other player at any time.
- An incomplete backward pass or fumble is a dead ball at the spot where it strikes the ground. The team last in possession retains possession at that spot.
- A fumble may not be recovered by the defense.
- A forward pass caught simultaneously by opposing players is dead and belongs to the offensive team at that spot. If either player lands out of bounds, the pass is incomplete.
- 2 or more offensive players in succession may touch a pass.
- A receiver must have 1 foot inbound for a pass to be ruled complete. (If that foot lands out of bounds simultaneously with, or before, the inbound foot lands, the pass is incomplete).
- Illegal forward passes include forward passes released beyond the scrimmage line.
- Both offensive and defensive receivers shall have the same opportunity to catch a thrown pass. Pass interference penalties shall be enforced when either the offensive or defensive player initiates contact that hinders their opponent from catching the ball. These calls shall be made at the official’s discretion.
- Neither offensive nor defensive players may contact or “chuck” opposing players off the line of scrimmage.
X. OFFENSIVE TEAM REGULATIONS
- Offensive Screen Blocking shall take place with minimal or no contact. The screen blocker must have their hands, elbows, and arms close to or behind their bodies. Screen Blocking is defined as taking a normal upright stance and/or moving to maintain a position between the opponent and the ball carrier without making contact. A player making a screen block shall not take a position so close to a moving opponent that the opponent cannot avoid contact. A player, when behind a stationary opponent, shall not take a position closer than a normal step away from the opponent. Use of any part of the body to initiate contact is illegal. Unintentional contact causing the offensive team to receive an advantage is also illegal. Screen blocker must be on their feet while attempting to screen block.
- The ball carrier must avoid contact with defensive players attempting to pull his/hers flags. He/she may not intentionally run into defensive players or lower head and/or shoulder to gain an advantage.
- The ball carrier may not flag guard or stiff arm.
- Teammates may not physically assist (push, pull, etc.) the ball carrier to gain an advantage.
- If a ball carrier inadvertently loses his/hers flag, a one-hand tag between the shoulders and the knees constitutes capture.
- After an inadvertent or early whistle is sounded, the team in possession of the ball will have the choice of either (1) accepting the play or (2) replaying the down.
XI. DEFENSIVE TEAM REGULATIONS
- Defensive rushing shall take place with minimal or no contact. The defensive players are expected to go around an offensive screen blocker by using an evasive maneuver. Hands and arms cannot be used to hold or push an opponent to gain an advantage.
- Fundamentals of Flag Football: The flag must be played at all times (defensive players may not “steal” the ball or intentionally knock the ball from an opponent).
- Regardless of the situation the neutral zone is always 1 yard.
- Players may leap into the air in an attempt to deflect a thrown ball provided that there is no physical contact (in mid-air or upon landing) with an opponent.
- Players may not have ANY contact with a thrower’s arm when attempting to block a pass, even if the ball is contacted prior to touching the thrower’s arm, and must allow the thrower a full follow through motion.
- Players may not hold the ball carrier while attempting to de-flag him/her.
- De-flagging the ball carrier is the only legal way to stop his/her progress. Pushing the ball carrier out-of-bounds is an illegal act. Penalty: Unsportsmanlike conduct.
- A defensive player may not intentionally pull an offensive player’s flag who does not have the ball at that time. Penalty: Unsportsmanlike Conduct
XII. GAME SCORING
- A touchdown is worth 6 points. It is scored when the ball penetrates the vertical plane of the opponent’s goal line. The player scoring the touchdown must raise his/her arms so the nearest official can de-flag the player. If the player is not de-flagged with one pull and the official determines the flag belt has been secured illegally, the touchdown is disallowed, and the player is disqualified.
- The TRY – (PAT): An opportunity to score:
- 1 POINT from the 3 yard line,
- 2 POINTS from the 10 yard line,
- 3 POINTS from the 20 yard line.
- The offensive team must declare their option immediately following their touchdown.
- On the TRY – (PAT): The defensive team may intercept the ball and attempt to advance the ball into the opponent’s goal for a 3 point score.
- If a ball carrier is downed (de-flagged) behind his/her goal line, either a safety or a touchback is the result. If force exerted by the team whose goal line is involved is responsible for the ball being there, it is a safety. If by their opponents, it is a touchback.
- A safety is worth 2 points for the defense and brings the ball to the 15-yard line with a first down.
- A touchback brings the ball to the 15-yard line with a first down.
- A fumble, backward pass or snap that goes out of bounds behind the goal line or would be spotted behind the line is a safety.
- A foul by the offensive team behind their own goal line is a safety.
- If a pass is intercepted and momentum carries the ball carrier into the end zone a touchback results.
- In the event the game ends in a tie, there will be a 3 minute rest period before starting overtime.
- Overtime will be conducted as a typical goal-line series. Each team will start from the 15-yard line and will be allowed four downs to score a touchdown.
- TRYs (PATs) will be normal, with the offense electing to try for 1, 2, or 3 potential points.
- If teams are still tied after each team has had 1 series, the process will be repeated. If teams are tied after a 2nd round, teams that score touchdowns will be required to go for a 2-point PAT in the 3rd round. If teams are again tied after 3 rounds, teams that score a touchdown will be required to go for a 3-point PAT in the 4th round. If teams are still tied after 4 rounds, the rules governing the 4th round will be repeated until the tie has been resolved. (Exception: Regular season games will end in a tie after each team has been given 2 series each to attempt to break the tie)
- A coin toss will determine the first offensive possession in the overtime. (Coin toss rules governing the start of the game will apply to overtime)
- The same end of the field will be used for both teams’ attempts.
- If the defense intercepts a pass then the defense takes possession of the ball to begin their offensive series. There is a change of possession.
- If the defense returns an interception for a touchdown, the defense receives 6 points and the game is concluded.
XIV. CONDUCT OF PLAYERS, COACHES, AND OTHERS
- Any act will be considered Unsportsmanlike if in the opinion of the official it promotes ill will or detracts from the game. This includes, but is not limited to:
- unnecessary roughness
- use of abusive or insulting language
- indicating objections to an official’s call
- touching or striking an official (immediate player ejection and life suspension)
- Intentionally pulling the flag of a player not in possession of the ball.
- Unsportsmanlike conduct: Any participant receiving 2 Unsportsmanlike conduct penalties during a game shall be removed (ejected) from the game immediately and must leave the playing facilities. Ejected players must meet with the Department Judicial Board before they will be allowed to resume play. Any player receiving 3 Unsportsmanlike conduct penalties for the season will be disqualified for the remainder of the season. Three Unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on one team shall end (forfeit) the game immediately. Any team receiving 4 Unsportsmanlike conduct penalties for the season will be disqualified for the remainder of the season.
- Any team that leaves the bench or sideline area to participate in an on field altercation (for whatever reason) shall receive an automatic loss for their next scheduled league or play-off game. Let the Game Officials do their job.
XV. SUMMARY OF PENALTIES:
- LOSS OF 5 YARDS
- Required equipment worn illegally
- Player out of bounds when ball is snapped
- Delay of game
- Offensive player illegally in motion
- Illegally substitution
- Player receiving snap less than 3 yards behind the scrimmage line
- Helping the runner
- Illegal shift
- Less than 4 players on the offensive line of scrimmage
- Illegally handing the ball forward (also loss of down)
- Offensive player not within 15 yards of ball
- Illegal forward pass (also loss of down)
- Infraction of protected scrimmage kick
- Intentional grounding (also loss of down)
- False start
- Infraction of scrimmage formation
- Illegal snap
- LOSS OF 10 YARDS
- Quick Kick
- Contact before or after ball is dead
- Kick catch interference
- Unnecessary contact of any nature
- Forward pass interference-Offensive (loss of down)
- Drive or run into player
- Forward pass interference-Defensive (automatic 1st down)
- Illegally secured flag belt on touchdown (loss of down)
- Position upon shoulder or body of player to gain advantage
- Unsportsmanlike Conduct player, team, spectator
- Tackle runner
- Spiking, kicking, throwing , not returning ball to the official
- Roughing the passer (automatic 1st down)
- Steal, strike, or attempt to knock the ball from the ballcarrier
- Illegal offensive screen blocking
- Trip an opponent
- Interlocked interference
- Contact with opponent on the ground
- Defensive Use of hands
- Throw runner to the ground
- Guarding the flag belt (Flag Guarding)
- Hurdle any player
- Stiff arm
- Obstruction of runner
- Illegal Kicking
- Illegal participation
- Reentry of disqualified player
- Illegal flag belt removal
XVI. PLAYOFF TIEBRAKERS
- Overall record
- Head-to-head record
- Fewest forfeits
- Total points
- Fewest points against
Disclaimer: All participants in intramural sports activities assume the risk of injury. LSUHSC, 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.