Rules, Flag Football

Flag Football
Rules of the Game

All flag football games are played on Washburn Field. Play is organized in accordance with a round robin format. Final season rankings will be determined by 1) winning percentage, 2) head to head play, and/or 3) a tie-breaker. The top teams will advance to a tournament to determine the overall champion.


  • All players must check-in with the officials or supervisor on duty and be on a valid roster before they are allowed to play.
  • A player may only play for ONE team.
  • Teams may add players to their roster up until the start of their second game.
  • Players may not "jump" teams. Failure to observe this rule will result in a forfeit.


  • Flag football teams consist of 7 members.
  • A team may play with no less than five players.


  • Each participant will wear a belt with flags attached to each side.
    • Flags must be worn on the hips.
  • Shirts MUST be tucked inside shorts/pants.
  • Soccer or turf shoes are allowed; NO METAL CLEATS.
  • Teams will be denoted by colored pennies provided by Campus Rec.


  • A coin toss determines the first possession.
    • The team that wins the coin toss can chose to either kick or receive.
    • The 2nd half will commence with the opposite team receiving the ball.
  • A game consist of two 20 minute halves with continuous running time.
    • The clock stops when play stops during the last two minutes of each half.
      • The clock will only be stopped for out of bounds, incomplete passes, first downs, scores, changes of possession, and penalties and will not start until the next snap.
      • The clock does not run on conversion attempts, and will not be started on kickoffs until it touches a player on the receiving team.
    • Half time is limited to no more than 10 minutes.
    • Each team is allowed ONE time out per half.
      • The timeout will last one minute.
      • Unused timeouts DO NOT carry over to the second half.
    • Tie-breaker: Teams alternate possessions with the ball at the 20-yard line, 4 downs to score.
      • If the ball is intercepted during overtime it is a change of possession and the pass may be run back for a TD.
      • The team that starts on offense the first overtime, would start the second overtime on defense, etc.
      • Teams must go for a 2-point conversion after the conclusion of the second overtime.


  • A touchdown is 6 points.
  • Players must have two feet inbounds in the end zone to score.
  • Going for 1pt conversion = ball at 5 yard line, score on pass or run play.
  • Going for 2pt conversion = ball at 15 yard line, score on pass or run play.
  • The defending team may return an interception on a 1 or 2-point conversion to the opposite endzone for 2 points.
  • A safety is if a player carries a ball across the goal line that they are defending and the ball becomes dead while in their possession. It is worth 2 points.
  • The mercy rule is in effect. If a team is up by 30pts at the end of the 1st half, the game will be called.


  • A team has 4 downs to make a first down.
  • A first down is made ONLY by crossing the mid-field line.


  • Any offensive penalty before the snap will result in the loss of 5 yards (e.g. too many players on the field, delay of game, false start).
  • Any offensive penalty after the snap will be a loss of down and yardage gained on the play.
  • Any defensive penalty before the snap will be a 5-yard penalty with the down repeated and play stopped.
  • Any defensive penalty after the snap will be a 5-yard penalty with the down repeated (unless the offense declines it).
  • Offensive penalties on an extra point:
    • If the penalty occurs before the snap, there will be a 5-yard penalty and the down will be replayed.
    • If the penalty occurs after the snap,the down is forfeited and play resumes with the kick-off.
  • The neutral zone is off side.
  • Offsetting penalties will result in a replay of down.
  • Fighting: at the discretion of the referees and/or sport supervisor, players guilty of fighting will be automatically ejected from the game.
    • If ejected from a game, a player is automatically suspended from their team's next TWO scheduled competitions.
    • Anytime a "bench" clears, a forfeit will be automatically called for that team(s) and individual penalties handed down after consultation with the Director of Campus Rec and all parties involved.


  • A kick off or punt will start the game and the second half.
  • All kickoffs will be from the 10 yard line.
    • Kicks after a safety will be kicked off from the goal line.
  • A ball must be kicked 10 yards in the air, NO on-side kicks.
    • If the ball does not reach midfield, the receiving team has the option to take the ball where it hits or at the 49 yard line.
  • A punt that goes out of bounds after hitting the ground in bounds will be placed where the ball goes out.
  • A punt that goes out of bounds before hitting the ground in bounds can be placed where the ball goes out or re-kicked at the receiving team's discretion.
  • If the re-kick is out of bounds, the ball will be automatically placed at the 49 yard line.
  • If the ball is punted into the end zone, it will be brought out to the 10 yard line.
  • The ball is dead where the punt is muffed or touched by the received and hits the ground.
  • The receiving team may have 3 players back; all others must be within 3 yards of the line.
  • All play on the line is frozen until the punt is off.
  • The defensive team must be warned of a punt-quick kicks or fake kicks are prohibited.


  • STIFF ARMS AND WARDING (brushing away the opponent's hands) ARE PENALTIES.
  • The ball carrier may NOT at any time attempt to directly run over an opponent.
  • An offensive player may not leave his or her feet while attempting to score in the end-zone.
    • If the referee rules that a player dove for the end zone the ball will be spotted where they left their feet.
  • Those attempting to grab a flag may not hold up the runner while a teammate grabs the flag.
  • A runner is automatically down any time any part of the body other than the hands or feet touch the ground.
  • The ball is ready for play when: it has been spotted for a down, the referee has made the ready for play signal and the 25-second count begins.
  • The ball must be snapped during the 25-second period.
    • Failure to snap the ball in time is a delay of game 5 yard penalty and a re-play of down.
  • For the snap the ball MUST be on the ground and MUST be on the side of the snapper or between the snapper's legs.
  • A snap shall put the ball in play.
  • A snap or fumble that touches the ground is dead IMMEDIATELY and remains in possession of the offensive team, except on 4th down.
  • Following the ready whistle, no defensive players may break the plane of the restraining line until the snap.
    • No offensive player shall make a false start or any action that simulates the start of play.
  • Only two people at the line of scrimmage before snap can be in motion.
    • Violation of this will result in a 5 yard penalty and re-play.
  • In the event of an inadvertent whistle, the team with possession of the ball will begin a new play from the location of the ball when the whistle occurs without a loss of down.
  • Once a player drops a flag or has it pulled (whether intentional or not) the player is down and the play will be whistled dead.
  • Any player who gains possession of the ball without all of their flags attached is down on the spot.


  • The offense must have no less than 4 players on line of scrimmage, and remaining players may line up either on the line or in back field.
  • It is illegal to push, trip or hold.
  • A blocker may not leave their feet to block.
    • NO chop blocks or diving blocks
  • Screen blocks are the only legal blocks allowed down field. No body or crack blocks (blind side hits).
  • Blocking is only allowed between the waist and the shoulders.
    • The blocker must keep their elbows and arms within the frame of their body.
  • Any illegal block is a 5 yard penalty and loss of down
  • You may use hands to ward off a block, but may not grab hold of opponent's jersey.
  • No head or face contact to ward off blockers.
  • Rushing is only allowed after a 3-second count which MUST be loud enough for everyone on the field of play to hear.
    • 3-MISSISSIPPI will be the standard count.
    • The 3-second count is off when the ball is thrown or pitched back.
  • Defensive rushers MUST make an attempt to side step or elude the offensive blocker, they cannot bull rush or charge the blocker.
  • The QB may not run unless flushed out of the pocket by a pass rush.


  • All players are eligible to receive including the quarterback if the ball has been handed off behind the line of scrimmage.
  • All passes must be forward and received beyond the line of scrimmage.
  • Shovel passes are allowed but must be received beyond the line of scrimmage.
  • Interceptions change the possession of the ball and can be returned.
  • The ball is dead from the point of the throw when intentional grounding occurs.
    • This will result in a 5 yard penalty and loss of down.
  • Pass interference consists of pushing, pulling, or blocking to prevent the catch.
    • An automatic advancement at the spot of the foul will be awarded to the offensive team.
  • If a pass is made backward and behind the line of scrimmage, the ball may still be passed.


  • The ball becomes dead when:
    • The whistle blows.
    • It goes out of bounds.
    • Any part of the runner's body other than a hand or foot touches the ground.
      • Ball in possession is considered part of the hand.
    • Any score occurs.
    • A forward or backward pass, fumble, or snap hits the ground.
      • Dead at the spot on backward pass, fumble, and snap.
    • If a punt is muffed or touched by the received and hits the ground.
    • The flag belt is removed legally or falls off.
    • If a player or ball from an adjoining field interferes with the result of a play, the official shall stop play and offer the team in possession the option of replaying the down or taking the ball at the spot of interruption.
Report an issue - Last updated: 09/26/2023


Director of Recreation & Fitness Center

Campus Rec Athletic Trainer

Assistant Director - Fitness Center