Southeast IM Sports follows NIRSA Flag & Touch Football Rules except for the following
- Players can compete on only one men's/women's team, regardless of league classification.
In addition, players may compete for one co-rec team as well.
- Seven (7) players constitutes a team. All players must present their valid Redhawks
ID Card at the game site to sign-in to participate. See number IX for co-rec modifications.
- A men's and women's 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. See number
IX for co-rec modifications.
Equipment & Playing Field
- Footballs are available for checkout at the IM Sports Complex. Each team must furnish
its own game ball and practice balls.
- Teams are encouraged to furnish their own like-colored jerseys.
- Individual player equipment must meet the following requirements:
- Shirts: All shirts must be tucked in, and if the shirt (sweatshirt or jacket) has
a hood, the hood must be tucked inside the shirt (sweatshirt or jacket). If the player
wears a half shirt, it must be a minimum of 4 inches above the waist. Jerseys which
have an arm opening more than 4" below the armpit are illegal.
- Pants: Players may not wear pants or shorts that have belt loops, pockets, or an exposed
drawstring. Players may not wear towels that hang from the waist.
- Headgear: Players may not wear baseball style caps or other rigid headwear. Knit and
stocking caps are permitted. Players may wear a headband no wider than two inches
and made of non-abrasive cloth, elastic, fiber, soft leather, or rubber. Bandanas
with knots are prohibited. Rubber or cloth elastic bands may be used to control hair.
- 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.
- Shoes: All players must wear shoes. Tennis/running shoes, soft-soled 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, 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
the flag belt.
- All players must have three flags at the beginning of play. Failure to wear a flag
belt at the start of the play, if noticed by an official prior to the snap is a live
ball penalty (5 yards). If a runner loses his/her flag during the action, play continues.
The play ends when a defensive player touches the runner with one hand between the
shoulders and the knees. 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).
- 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 endzones and three 20-yard zones.
- There will be lines 3 yards and 10 yards from either goal line from which extra point
plays can be run, and 14 yards from either goal from which to put the ball in play
to begin a half, after a score, safety, or touchback.
- 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.
Game Time & Length
- Game time is forfeit time. A team needs at least 5 legal players to begin the game.
See number IX for co-rec modifications.
- Games will consist of four, twelve (12) periods with a 3-minute halftime.
- A toss of a coin will determine which team will gain possession of the ball first.
The team that wins the coin toss has three options:
There will be no kickoffs. In all "kickoff" situations, the "receiving" team will
get the ball on their own 14 yard line, 1st and 6. This includes all touchbacks and
after touchdowns and safeties.
Timing will be continuous for the entire first and third quarters. In addition, it
will be continuous for the first eleven (11) minutes of the first half and first ten
(10) 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 one minute of the first and two minutes
of the second half for:
- First possession of the ball.
- 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.)
- Defer their option to the second half.
Approximately 2 minutes before the end of each half, the Referee shall inform both
team captains of the playing time remaining in each half. The clock will stop in the
2nd 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.
Regular season games can end in a tie. Overtime will only be played during the playoffs.
- Incomplete pass - clock restarts on the snap.
- Out of bounds - clock restarts on snap.
- Penalty - clock restarts depending on the result of the previous play.
- Score - clock restarts on opponent's next snap from scrimmage.
- Time-outs - clock restarts on snap.
- Fair catch - clock restarts on snap.
- Touchback - clock restarts on snap.
- Inadvertent whistle - clock starts on the ready for play whistle.
- First down - clock restarts depending on result of the previous play.
- A coin toss will be conducted to start the overtime period. The winner of the coin
toss has the choice of offense, defense, or choose a direction.
- All overtime periods will be played towards the same endzone.
- If the game goes to a second overtime, the team which lost the toss 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.
The goal line will always be the zone-line-to-gain.
- Teams which begin their overtime period outside of the 20-yard line due to penalty
must score in 4 downs and will NOT receive any first downs for crossing zone-line-to-gains
in the process. Teams may receive another set of downs by penalty only (automatic
- When a team scores, they will attempt an extra point (1, 2, or 3).
- The team on defense first will have its chance to score and attempt an extra point.
- Overtime will continue until a winner is declared. Beginning with the second overtime
a scoring team must attempt a two point conversion from the 10yd line unless moved
- 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.
- The Southeast IM Sports Office reserves the right to postpone or reschedule a contest
if circumstances warrant such action. Regular season games cancelled by rain are generally
not rescheduled. Contests postponed due to other reasons may or may not be rescheduled
at the discretion of the Intramural Sports staff.
- In the case of inclement weather, the Intramural Sports staff will not make a decision
regarding the playing of games until after 3:00 pm. For information on cancellations,
call the IM RainLine at 651-5900.
- If inclement weather occurs after the closing of the Intramural office, decisions
regarding the continuing of the games will be made on the field by the IM supervisors.
If you have a question regarding whether a game will be played, call the IM RainLine
- When games are cancelled due to the weather, the fields will not be available for
practice to avoid costly damage to the fields.
- A touchdown shall count for six (6) points. 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.
- If the official deems that the flag belt has been illegally fastened (tied, twisted,
tucked in, etc), the player is disqualified and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty
is enforced. (10 yards from the previous 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.
An interception during a PAT can be returned by the defense for a touchdown which
is worth 3 points.
A safety shall count for 2 points. Afterwards, the ball will be put in play by the
scoring team at their 15-yard line.
Mercy Rule: If a team is leading by 19 points, or attains a lead of 19 points or more,
in the final 2 minutes of the game, the game will end.
- From the 3-yard line - Worth 1 point.
- From the 10-yard line - Worth 2 points.
- From the 20-yard line - Worth 3 points.
- 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.
- The screen blocker must have his/her hands at his/her side or behind his/her back.
- Any use of the hands, arms, legs or body to initiate contact is illegal.
- The player must be on his/her feet before, during and after the screen block.
- 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. The snapper
will maintain control of the ball and bring the ball from the huddle to the line of
- 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 lines-to-gain). Once the first down has been established, that team may not
make another first down by crossing the same line during that series of downs.
- All punts must be announced to the referee. There are no quick kicks. PENALTY: Illegal
kicking, 10 yards from the previous spot.
- The kicking team must have 4 players on the line of scrimmage during a punt. PENALTY:
Illegal procedure, 5 yards from the previous spot.
- The kicker must catch and kick the ball immediately in one continuous motion. PENALTY:
Illegal procedure, 5 yards from the previous spot.
- Neither team may advance beyond their respective scrimmage line until the ball is
kicked. PENALTY: Illegal procedure, 5 yards from the previous spot.
- 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.
- Kickers may not punt barefoot. Penalty: Failure to wear proper equipment, 5 yards from the previous spot.
- Punts may be returned out of the endzone. If a punt is 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 endzone, 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 touches 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 down. A ball that has not hit the
ground can be recovered and advanced by either team.
- A player may hand the ball backward or forward at anytime during a down and at any
location on the playing field.
- A forward pass is legal when: The passer's foot is behind the line of scrimmage when the ball leaves the
The pass occurs before a change of possession (defense may not throw a forward pass
following a fumble recovery or interception). 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.
- 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 pass reception. One
knee is equivalent.
- When an official sounds his/her whistle inadvertently: During a legal pass, while
a snap is in flight, or while a kick is in-flight, the down will be replayed. 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.
Explenations 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: Interrupting
the 25 second count for any reason, except for a time-out allowed by the referee.
Consuming more than 25 seconds in putting the ball in play after it is marked ready
for play. Deliberately advancing the ball after it has been declared dead. Deliberately
or inadvertently snapping the ball before the referee has established the ball ready
- Encroachment [Offsides] (dead ball foul, 5 yards from the previous 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 a play.
- Illegal Formation (5 yards from the previous spot) 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 offense player
may be in motion, but not in motion towards the opponent's goal line (or 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)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 deflagged. 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 deflagging; 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 the flag. Similarly, an offensive
player may not hold an opponent to prevent a deflagging.
- 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. 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 & 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 it has been touched by a receiver.
- Defensive Pass Interference (10 yards from the previous spot & automatic first down)
Restrictions exist for the defense from the time the pass is thrown until it 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
- Other Personal Fouls (10 yards from the end of the run [defense], 10 yards from the
spot of the foul [offense]) Any act prohibited hereunder or any other act of unnecessary
roughness is a personal foul.
- No player shall punch, strike, strip, steal, or attempt to steal the ball from the
player who has possession.
- There shall be no tripping or clipping.
- 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 player. (You can
jump or spin away from players to avoid having your flag pulled.)
Co-Rec Rules Modifications
NIRSA Football and Southeast Intramural Flag Football Rules will govern play with
the exceptions listed below.
- Eight players, four men and four women, constitute a team.
- A team may have as few as six players, with the makeup of the team being 3 men and
3 women, or 4 men and 2 women.
- A team can participate with seven players, with the composition being 4 men and 3
women or 3 men and 4 women.
- Regular or intermediate size footballs may be used.
- Points will be awarded as follows:
- If a female scores a touchdown, the point value is nine (9).
- If a female throws a legal forward pass that scores as a touchdown to any member of
her team, the point value is nine (9).
- All other touchdowns are six (6) points.
- PATs count the same regardless of who scores, 1 point from the 3-yard line, 2 points
from the 10-yard line, and 3 points from the 20-yard line.
- Mercy Rule: If a team is leading by 25 points, or attains a lead of 25 points or more,
in the final 2 minutes of the game, the game will end.
Number of Players on the Line of Scrimmage
- Five (5) offensive players must be on the line of scrimmage at the time of the snap.
Open and Closed Plays
- When a play is deemed "open", any player can complete a legal forward pass to any
other player (male to male forward passes are permitted).
- When a play is deemed "closed", the next completion for positive yardage must be a
legal forward pass with either a female throwing the pass or receiving the pass (male
to male forward passes are NOT permitted).
There are no restrictions concerning male to female, female to male, or female to
female forward passes. There are no restrictions on any backward pass.
- Each series will begin with an "open" play. Once a male to male forward pass is completed,
the following plays will be "closed" until a male to female, female to male, or female
to female forward pass is completed. This completion must result in positive yards
(play must end in advance of the previous spot). Once this condition is met, play
is "re-opened" with another "open" play permitted.
- Open and closed plays are determined by the action of a legal forward pass and catch.
Therefore, throughout a play there may be multiple possessions by males or females
but the status of the next play is determined by the initial pass and catch.
- No penalty, accepted or declined, will affect the open/closed status of the following
- The "open/closed" status of a play is not affected when a team scores a touchdown.
The PAT's status is determined by the previous play that scored the touchdown.
Male Ball Carriers
- Advancement of the ball is restricted by the following circumstances, depending on
the gender of the ball carrier.
A male runner cannot advance the ball past the line of scrimmage (Illegal procedure,
5 yards from the previous spot & replay the down).
- There are no restrictions concerning runs by females.
- There are no advancement restrictions on a male once the ball has been possessed beyond
the line of scrimmage.
Male to Male Completions
- When a male to male forward pass completion (regardless of positive or negative yardage)
occurs on a "closed" play, it is an illegal forward pass (5 yards from the spot of
the pass and loss of down).
- If a male or female passer completes a pass to a male behind the line of scrimmage,
who then advances beyond the line of scrimmage, the penalty is illegal forward pass
(5 yards from the spot of the pass and loss of down).