- Players can compete on only one team, regardless of league classification.
- Seven (7) players constitute a team.
- A team must have 5 players to start a game. Players who arrive late may be added to the roster and may enter the game at a dead-ball situation.
- Additional players may be added to the roster before the first team's game. These players must be signed up online through the sign up system.
- Footballs are available for each game. Each team can furnish their own game ball if so desired.
- Teams can furnish their own like-colored jerseys.
- Individual player equipment must meet the following requirements:
A. Shirts: All shirts must by tucked in, and if a shirt (sweatshirt or jacket) has a hood, the hood must be tucked inside the shirt. If the player wears a half shirt it must be a minimum of 4 inches above the waist.
B. Pants: Players may not wear pants or shorts that have belt loops, pockets, or an exposed drawstring. Towels may be worn but only in the front.
C. Headgear: Players may not wear baseball style caps or other rigid headwear. Knit stocking caps are permitted. Players may wear a headband no wider than two inches and made on non-abrasive cloth, elastic, fiber, soft leather, or rubber. Bandanas with knots are prohibited .
D. Pads or Braces: No pads or braces may be worn above the waist. Leg and knee braces made of hard, unyielding material must be covered on both sides and all edges with appropriate slow-recovery padding.
E. Shoes: all players must wear shoes. Tennis/running shoes, soft-laced shoes, and football shoes are permitted. Metal spikes, baseball-style spikes, and cleats with metal exposed are prohibited. Any player caught wearing spikes will be ejected from the game.
- Jewelry is NOT allowed to be worn by any participant during an intramural event. This jewelry consists of any visible rings (including wedding bands), watches, necklaces, earrings, studs, bracelets, and any other such similar jewelry. Only medical alert bracelets are permitted. A player is subject to ejection for failure to remove any jewelry after first warning.
- Each player must wear a three flag belt with one flag on each hip and one in the rear. Special rules have been established to determine how to legally fasten and remove a flag belt.
A. All players must have three flags at the beginning of play.
1. Failure to wear a flag belt at the start of play, if noticed by an official prior to the snap is a live ball penalty (5 yards).
2. If a runner loses his/her flags during the action, play continues. The play ends when a defensive player touches the runner with one hand between the shoulders and the knees.
3. If failure to wear the flag belt is noticed by the official after the play starts, the play continues with the ball becoming dead when the runner is touched between the shoulders and knees. The defense can accept the result of the play or penalize for failure to wear required equipment. (5 yards)
B. Tampering with the flag belt in any way to gain advantage, including tying, using foreign material, or other such acts is unsportsmanlike conduct. (10 yards, loss of down and player disqualification)
- The dimensions of the fields have been standardized into regulation 80 yard X 40 yard playing areas with two 10-yard end zones and three 20-yard zones.
- There will be lines 3 yards, 5 yards, and 40 yards from either goal line from which extra point plays will be run.
- There will be a restraining line 2 yards outside and parallel to the sideline. Teams and spectators must stay behind this line and between the 20-yard lines.
- Field barriers shall be set at the distance from the field of play as required by the National Federation Rules.
Game Time and Length
- Five minutes after the scheduled game time is forfeit time. A team needs at least 5 legal players to begin the game. If the forfeiting team wants to play the rest of their regular season games, refer to by-laws.
- Games will consist of two 20-minute halves, with a 5 minute halftime.
- Rock, Paper, Scissors will determine which team will gain possession of the ball first. The team that wins has three options.
A. First possession of the ball.
B. Defend the goal of their choice. (Note: If a team with first option chooses to defend a goal, the other team automatically gets the ball).
C. Defer their option to the second half.
- Timing will be continuous for the entire first half and first 18 minutes of the second half. Only a team time-out and official's time out can stop the clock. The clock will stop during the final two minutes of the second half for:
A. Incomplete pass – clock restarts on the snap.
B. Out of Bounds – clock restarts on the snap.
C. Penalty – clock restarts depending on the result of the previous play.
D. Score – clock restarts on opponent's next snap from scrimmage
E. Time-outs – clock restarts on snap.
F. Fair catch – clock restarts on snap.
G. Touchback – clock restarts on snap.
H. Inadvertent whistle – clock restarts depending on result of the previous play. I. Turnover- Clock restarts on snap
- Approximately 2 minutes before the end of each half, the referee shall inform both captains of the playing time remaining in each half. The clock will stop in the 2 nd half for the 2-minute warning and will restart on the next snap.
- The ball must be put into play no more than 25 seconds after the official has marked it ready for play.
- Two one-minute time-outs per half are allowed for each team. Teams will receive one time-out for each overtime period. Time-outs do not carry over between halves or into the overtime period.
- In overtime:
A. Rock, Paper, Scissors will be conducted to start the overtime period. The winner of this has the choice of offense or defense. If the game goes to a second overtime, the team which lost at the beginning of the first overtime, has the choice to start on offense or defense for the second overtime. The choice will then alternate for each succeeding overtime period.
B. Each team will have a series of four downs to score from their opponents 10-yard line. Teams which begin their overtime period outside the 20-yard line due to penalty must score in four (4) downs and will NOT receive any first downs for crossing zone-to-line-gains in the process. Teams may receive another set of downs by penalty only (automatic first down).
C. When a team scores, they will attempt an extra point (1, 2, or 5).
D. The team on defense first will have its chance to score and attempt an extra point.
E. Overtime will continue until a winner is declared.
F. The defense may intercept the ball and return it for a touchdown. In this case, they will win the game. If they do not score, the overtime will proceed as necessary. The offensive team's series is over when the defense intercepts a pass.
- A touchdown shall count for six (6) points.
A. After a player scores a touchdown or try after a TD, the player must raise their arms above their head so that the nearest official can deflag the player.
B. If the official deems that the flag belt had been illegally fastened (tied, twisted, tucked in, etc.), the player is disqualified and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty is enforced. (10 yards from the spot with loss of down and the score is nullified, no loss of down if it occurs after change of possession).
- After a touchdown, the scoring team attempts a PAT (point after touchdown). The captain will indicate from which distance the offense will attempt the PAT.
A. From the 3-yard line – worth one (1) point.
B. From the 5- yard line – worth two (2) points.
- C. From the 40- yard line- worth 5 (5) points
- An interception during a PAT can be returned by the defense for a touchdown, which is worth 3 points.
- A Safety shall count for two (2) points. Afterwards, the ball will be put into play by the scoring team at their 15-yard line.
- Mercy Rule – If a team is leading by 17 points, or attains a lead of 17 points or more, in the final 2 minutes of the game, the game will end.
- The only type of blocking that is allowed is screen blocking. No contact is allowed between the offense and defense. Penalty: Personal foul, 10 yards.
A. The screen blocker must have his/her hands behind his/her back.
B. Any use of the hands, arms, legs or body to initiate contact is illegal.
C. The player must be on his/her feet before, during and after the screen block.
D. The blocker cannot take a position so close to a moving opponent that his/ her opponent cannot avoid contact by stopping or changing direction. This position will vary from 1 to 2 steps depending on speed of the defensive player.
- The offensive team must retrieve the ball after every play from scrimmage, give the ball to an official and the official will spot the ball.
- Defenders attempting to rush must be 3 yards behind the designated line of scrimmage (defenders dropping into coverage can be in the three yard neutral zone)
- Four (4) offensive players must be on the line of scrimmage at the snap. A player is deemed on the line of scrimmage when facing his/ her opponent's goal line with the line of his/her shoulders approximately parallel thereto and with his/ her head or foot breaking the plane of the imaginary line drawn through the waistline of the snapper and parallel to the scrimmage line.
- A team registers a first down when it crosses or touches one of the first down lines (zone line to-gain). Once the first down has been established, that team many not make another first down by crossing the same line during the series of downs.
- All punts must be announced to the referee. There are no quick punts. PENALTY: Illegal kicking, 10 yards from the previous spot.
A. The kicking team must have 4 players on the line of scrimmage during a punt. PENALTY: Illegal procedure, 5 yards from the previous spot.
B. The kicker must catch and kick the ball immediately in one continuous motion. PENALTY: Illegal procedure, 5 yards from the previous spot.
C. Neither team may advance beyond their respective scrimmage line until the ball is kicked. PENALTY: Illegal procedure, 5 yards from the previous spot.
D. If the offense declares to punt, then wants to change their decision they may do so after a charged timeout or an accepted penalty in which the down is to be replayed.
E. Kickers may not punt barefoot. PENALTY: Failure to wear proper equipment, 5 yards for the previous spot.
F. Punts may be returned out of the end zone.
G. If a punt muffed by the receiving team and caught in the air by the kicking team, it is dead at that spot and the kicking team retains possession, first and line-to-gain. If caught in the air by the receiving team, they may advance the ball.
- If a player intercepts the ball in the end zone, the player may return it out of the end zone. If the player is deflagged while running in the end zone, it is a touchback.
- A fumble is dead at the point the ball touch the ground, if fumbled backwards, or at the spot where the fumble occurred if fumbled forward. The ball goes to the team who last had possession with the resulting loss of a down. A ball that has not hit the ground can be recovered and advanced by either team.
- Behind the line of scrimmage and prior to either a runner advancing the ball across the line of scrimmage or a forward pass crossing the line of scrimmage, any offensive player may hand the ball forward or backward to any player. Once the ball has been advanced or thrown across the line of scrimmage (in any downfield plays), an offensive player may only hand the ball backward to another player. At all times, defensive players may only hand the ball backward to another player.
- A forward pass is LEGAL when:
A. The passer's foot is behind the line of scrimmage when the ball leaves the hand.
B. The pass occurs before a change of possession (defense may not throw a forward pass following a fumble recovery or interception).
C. It is the first and only forward pass made during the down. Only one forward pass is permitted per down, regardless of whether the pass is completed beyond or behind the line of scrimmage . Notes: An offensive player toss the ball backward to another player who can then throw a forward pass as long as such pass abides by the provisions of this section.
- All legal players are eligible to receive a pass. One foot must land in bounds before any part of the body lands in the out-of-bounds area for a legal reception. One knee is equivalent.
- When an official sounds his/her whistle inadvertently:
A. During a legal pass, while a snap is in flight, or while a kick is in-flight, the down will be replayed.
B. When a player is in possession or during a backward pass, the team in possession may choose either to accept the play where it is blown dead or to replay the down.
Explanation of General Penalties
- Delay of game (dead ball foul, 5 yards from the previous spot)
The ball must be put in play properly and legally and any action or inaction by either team which tends to prevent this is illegal delay of game. This includes:
A. No player shall punch, strike, strip, steal, or attempt to steal the ball from the player who has possession.
B There shall be no tripping or clipping.
C. There shall be no hurdling. Hurdling shall be interpreted as an attempt by the runner to jump with both feet or knees foremost over a player or between players. (You can jump or spin away from the players to avoid having your flag pulled).
- Encroachment (Offside) (dead ball foul, 5 yards from the precious spot)
Following the ready-to-play whistle and prior to the snap, no player on defense may encroach, touch the ball, or contact an opponent in any way. It is encroachment for any player to break his/her scrimmage line plane (yellow disk defense, orange disk offense). Players do NOT have the opportunity to jump across the line and “get back” onside. It is a foul as soon as the player initially enters the neutral zone.
- False Start (dead ball foul, 5 yards from the previous spot)
No offensive player shall simulate a charge or start of play.
- Illegal procedure (5 yards)
When there are less than four (4) offensive players on the line of scrimmage at the snap, it is a live ball illegal procedure penalty. The player who receives the snap must be at least 2 yards behind the offensive scrimmage line.
- Illegal motion and shift (5 yards from the previous spot)
Only one offensive player may be in motion, but not in motion towards the opponent's goal line (or a line of scrimmage), at the time of the snap. After a huddle, all offensive players must come to a stop and remain stationary for 1 second before an offensive player may go in motion. If two or more players shift/go in motion simultaneously prior to the snap, both must come to a stop and reset prior to the snap.
- Flag guarding (10 yards from the spot of the foul & replay the down OR spot of the foul & loss of down)
The ball carrier shall not protect his/her flags by blocking with his/her arms or hands in order to deny the opponents the opportunity to remove them. Note: Stiff-arming is flag guarding. Running while holding the ball at hip-level, intentionally or unintentionally, may also be considered flag guarding.
- Illegally Deflaging an Opponent (Personal foul, 10 yards)
An offensive player must have possession of the ball before they can be legally deflaged . Pulling or removing a flag belt from an offensive player without the ball is illegal. If the player is an eligible receiver, the violation may be considered pass interference.
- Illegal contact by the Ball Carrier (Personal foul, 10 yards from the spot of the foul)
The ball carrier must run to avoid tacklers. Deliberate charging of an opponent is against the rules. Officials will use the same judgment on charging and blocking by offensive and defensive players as in basketball. Brushing contact and unavoidable contact is not willful charging. The ball carrier may spin or jump around defenders to avoid deflagged ; however, the ball carrier must remain in control of his/her body during such moves. If the foul is intentional or unsportsmanlike , then 10 more yards will be added to the penalty and the player will be disqualified.
- Holding (10 yards from the end of the run (defense), 10 yards from the spot of the foul (offense)).
Holding is grasping or encircling an opponent with the hand or arm in any way that impedes his/her movement. A defensive player may not hold, push, or knock the ball carrier down in an attempt to remove his flag. Similarly, an offensive player may not hold an opponent to prevent a deflagging .
- Tripping (10 yards from the end of the run)
Tripping is using the lower leg or foot to obstruct an opponent (including the ball carrier) below the knees.
- Illegal Contact by the Defense & Tackling (10 yards from the end of the run)
If a defensive player reaches across the body of the ball carrier to pull the flag and contact is made, the responsibility of the contact lies with the defensive player. A runner shall not be thrown to the ground. There shall be no contact with an opponent who is on the ground. If a defensive player tackles the ball carrier, who in the opinion of the referee, would have scored except for being tackled, a touchdown shall be awarded. Deliberate tackles will result in disqualification.
- Illegal forward pass & intentional grounding (5 yards from the spot of the foul and loss of down)
A pass thrown in violation of the legal pass guidelines listed above is considered illegal. A pass that is intentionally thrown to the ground or out of bounds to avoid a loss of yardage is also illegal.
- Offensive Pass Interference (10 yards from the previous spot and loss of down)
Pass interference occurs when a player contacts another eligible receiver who is beyond the line of scrimmage. Restrictions exist for the offense from the time that the ball is snapped until a receiver has touched it.
- Defensive Pass Interference (10 yards from the previous spot and automatic first down)
Restrictions exist for the defense from the time the pass is thrown until is has been touched by a receiver. Note: Contact or interference by the defense prior to when the pass is thrown is still considered illegal and will be penalized as a personal foul.
- Other Personal Fouls (10 yards from the end of the run (defense), 10 yards from the spot of the foul ( defense )
Any act prohibited hereunder or any other act of unnecessary roughness is a personal foul.
- Sportsmanship is an important part of Intramural Sports.
- Teams are responsible for keeping their spectators under control. Misconduct of spectators and players may result in ejections and/or forfeiture of the game. Spectators must remain in the out-of-play areas . Only players are permitted in the playing area.
- Any player who uses foul language, violently protests a call, or curses an official or supervisor, will be removed from the game and will automatically be suspended from his/her team's next game (excluding forfeits). In addition, he/she will have to meet with the Director of Intramural Sports before he/she is eligible to participate again. Any player who touches an official or supervisor will be placed on suspension from all Intramural Activities for a minimum period of one calendar year from the time of the incident.
- If at any time a team has 2 players or spectators ejected from the game, the offending team will immediately forfeit the game.
- MC Intramural Sports does not recognize the use of coaches. Only the team captain may speak to the umpires regarding administrative matters (protests, ejections, disqualifications, etc.).