Intramural Sports & Fitness

Fall 2014 Flag Football

Rules & Regulations

 Flag Football


Tackling in flag football is not allowed and should never be attempted. If Player A tackles Player B at any point of the game, Player A will be ejected from the game along with the Captain of his or her team. Player A will also be suspended from the next game. The Captain of player A's team is only ejected from the rest of the game that the tackle took place. Definition of a tackle is written to the most detail possible below:

It is important to know that these calls are based on the student referees discretion. Intramural referees make calls to the best of their ability.

Tackling: Any intentional attempt made to stop the opposing team from advancing by physically forcing that opposing player to the ground. These attempts typically involve a clear hold of the opposing player (arms wrapped around the player, intentionally crashing into the opposing player knocking them to the ground)

  • Holding an opposing player by the clothing or body part to hinder their progress will result in a five yard penalty. Know that if you hold a player and bring them down to the ground, this results in a tackle.
  • Diving for a flag should not be attempted. Know that if you dive for a flag and cause the opposing player to fall to the ground in any way, this results in a tackle.

This rules are set in place to provide a safe atmosphere for students to compete in. Intramural referees call the game to the best of their ability and the calls are based on their discretion.

General Information

  • Teams can have a maximum of 15 players and a minimum of seven players on their roster.
  • Games will be played in Rolland Stadium.
  • Games are played in 2 15-minutes halves with 5 minutes for half time.  During the last two minutes of the game, the clock runs like college football.  (Clock stops on incomplete passes, penalties, injured players, first downs, scoring plays and on extra points)
  • If a game goes into overtime each team will be allowed 1 one minute time-out for the extra period.
  • A TD = 6 points, a 5-yard extra point = 1 point, a 10-yard extra point = 2 points.  Safety = 2 points.  Interception return during an extra point attempt equals score team was going for, 1 or 2 points.
  • Flag Football at CLU is a no contact sport.  A defensive player must not ever touch the ball carrier or the ball in order to stop the play.  Bump coverage is not allowed and penalties will be assessed for defensive pass interference.  Offensive players may not use hands to block rushers, the offensive can only move with hands behind back to force a defensive player to go around them. 
  • Offensive players may not spin to avoid defenders, block their flags (also known as flag guarding) or jump and/or dive to avoid a defender (diving into end zone is allowed)
  • Free substitution is allowed after any whistle, provided the substitution does not delay the game. 
  • Tie Breaker (Overtime).  Each team starts 1st and goal from the 20yd line and attempts to score a touchdown and extra points.  Three overtime periods will result in a tie.
  • There is zero tolerance for unsportsmanlike conduct (trash talk, verbal abuse, rough play, damaging equipment)—penalties will be assessed depending on severity.  Disqualification of players and teams can result.


  • Cleats are allowed, but must be rubber.  Metal cleats are not allowed
  • Shirts must be tucked in and no pocket shorts.
  • Flags will be provided, choose color opposite of team being played against.

Before the Game

  • Teams must report to the IM Student Coordinator 10 minutes before the start of their game in order to check-in, check id’s, and give their team roster.  A coin flip called by the Home team’s captain will be done to determine first possession and sides.  It will be opposite after halftime.

      Every player MUST have their ID in order to play. NO Exceptions.

During The Game

  • Start of each half will begin by placing the ball on the offense’s five-yard line.  There will be no kickoffs.  The ball will also be placed on the 5-yard line after a touchdown has been made.  After interceptions, ball will be placed where flag was pulled of interceptor.
  • Teams have 4 downs to reach the first down line (25-yard line), and another 4 downs to score a touchdown once inside the opponents 20 yard line.
  • The offensive team has 25 seconds to put the ball into play after the referee signals “ready to play”.  Penalties will be assessed for delay of game.
  • The ball must be snapped between the legs, not off to the side and the receiver must be minimally 2 yards behind the center—direct snaps are illegal.
  • Motion is limited to one person per snap.
  • 4 offensive players must be on the line of scrimmage. 
  • Play will stop when the ball carrier is de-flagged or the ball carrier’s knee touches the ground.  Removal of the flag belt:  An opposing player must fully remove the belt in order for the play to stop.  A defensive player may dive to remove the belt as long as no contact is made with the offensive player.  Flag guarding (loss of 10 from spot of penalty), stiff-arming (loss of 10 from spot of penalty), and spinning (loss of 5 from spot of penalty) are not allowed.  It is considered defensive pass interference if an eligible player is de-flagged before catching a pass.  In the event that a runner looses their flag belt accidentally or inadvertently, a defensive player may use a one-hand tag. 
  • The line of scrimmage is determined by where the flag belt was removed.  The team in possession is responsible for retrieving the ball and returning it to the referee.
  • The quarterback cannot intentionally ground a ball in order to risk being sacked.  Penalty: 5 yards and a loss of down.
  • THERE IS A SEVEN SECOND RULE:  if the ball is not thrown, or carried across the line of scrimmage within seven seconds of the snap, the play is whistled dead and the result of the play is a sack. Referees must give 2 second warning
  • The ball is considered dead when the ball touches the ground (except on a wild snap, behind the line of scrimmage, then it is considered live), on a fumble, a lateral, or after touching a player on a punt.   Fumbles beyond the line of scrimmage are dead at the point of the fumble; there is no change in possession.  There is no stripping the ball.  
  • Punting.  Punts must be kicked. The team punting must announce the punt.  The team receiving may only have 2 receivers on the field, all other team members must stand on the side lines until after the punt has been completed. Ball is down once receiving team catches or ball stops movement.  If the punt goes into the end-zone, the offense will start on their own 5 yard line.
  • If there is a safety, the team that scored will automatically gain possession at their own 5-yard line.
  • If flag belt falls off during the course of a play, the player is downed by one hand touch.

Passing Plays

  • All players are eligible to receive a pass.
  • Only one forward pass is allowed per down and it must be thrown from behind the offensive line of scrimmage, if thrown after the line of scrimmage the play will result in a five yard penalty and loss of down.
  • Only one foot needs to touch in bounds in order for a pass to be complete.

Running Plays

  • The only way to design a running play out of the backfield is by a hand off or a lateral pass behind the line or scrimmage. 
  • The quarterback may only run when a blitzing defender crosses the line of scrimmage.  The defender has the option to fake the rush and only come up to the line of scrimmage from the defender line.  The quarterback cannot run in this situation.


  • Any defender can rush when the ball is snapped
  • If a defender attempts to hold a ball carrier up in order to pull their flag this will result in a five yard penalty from the spot of the foul.


  • If a blatant penalty occurs, players may be ejected from the game or harsher penalties may be given.  Unsportsmanlike conduct penalties will be up to the referee depending on the severity of the conduct.
  • Flagrant Unsportsmanlike conduct. (Disqualification).
  • Flagrant personal fouls. (Disqualification).  Fighting can result in disqualification of sport altogether.
  • Intentionally tampering with flag belt. (Disqualification).

Loss of 5 Yards:

  • Delay of game.
  • Illegal snap.
  • False start.
  • Encroachment.
  • Spinning while running with the ball.
  • Illegal forward pass (5 yards from point of pass and loss of down).
  • Intentional grounding (5 yards from point of pass and loss of down).
  • Attempt to steal the ball from the carrier, or holding player in order to pull flag.

Loss of 10 Yards

  • Required equipment worn illegally.
  • Illegal participation.
  • Guarding the flag belt, from the spot of the foul.
  • Offensive pass interference.
  • Defensive pass interference. (Automatic 1st down 10 yards forward from previous scrimmage line.
  • Illegally secured belt on touchdown. (Revoke touchdown and loss of down).
  • Unsportsmanlike conduct.
  • Spiking the ball or not returning the ball to the official during the dead ball.
  • Unnecessary contact of any sort, stiff arming, holding, etc.
  • Roughing the passer (Automatic 1st down).
  • Defensive use of hands.
  • Illegal batting.
  • Illegal flag belt removal.
  • Personal foul, or swearing