Flag Football Rules

 

 

TEAMS

 

Players

 

There is no maximum number of players allowed on a team roster. All players must be on the roster and sign the BSSC waiver to participate. Players must be at least 18 years old at the start of the season.

A team can field no more than 8 players at a time, and at least 3 of the players on the field must be women. A team must have at least 6 players, and at least 2 women, present at the start of the game to avoid a forfeit.  A team may play with a full team of 8 if its opponent is short on players.  A team can avoid the forfeit fine by notifying BSSC 48 hours before the scheduled game time. If this occurs, Beehive will reschedule the game at a time convenient for both teams.

 

Cleats

 

Players may not wear metal cleats; any players who wear metal cleats will be ejected.

 

THE GAME 

 

The game will be played between teams of 8 players each: 5 males and 3 females.  Each team must provide its own football.  Rock Paper Scissors will determine what team begins the game with possession.  The ball will be placed on the 1 point conversion line to begin the game.

 

Referee's Authority

 

The head referee has final say on all calls on the field, regardless of whether the situation is covered in the rules.  The referee has the right to eject any player from the game at any time.

 

The Clock

 

Each half will last 20 minutes, with a halftime of 10 minutes. Each team will have two minute time outs per half. The clock will continuously run throughout both halves, but will stop for time outs or if a serious injury occurs. (for 2nd half two minute warning clock rules, see below)

 

The referee will maintain the clock and will notify teams when there are 2 minutes remaining in each half.  In the first half, the clock will not stop in the last 2 minutes unless a timeout is taken.  In the second half, NFL clock rules will apply during the final 2 minutes.  For example, the clock will stop on an incomplete pass, on a penalty, on a possession change, or when an offensive player goes out of bounds. If a touchdown occurs after time has expired, the scoring team will be allowed to attempt an extra point conversion.

 

Rushing

 

The defense may cross the line of scrimmage only after the 5 second count (counted by the referee) or if the quarterback hands off the ball to another player once the ball has been snapped. If the defense crosses the line of scrimmage before either of these two situations occur, an offsides penalty will be assessed.

 

GAME PLAY 

 

Onside Kicks

 

In the last two minutes of a game after a touchdown is scored, the scoring team can elect to go for an onside kick. If they choose an onside kick, they will run one single play from the opponents 40 yard line (aka 10 yards inside midfield).

If the electing team scores a touchdown, the onside kick will be deemed successful and the team will retain the ball in their own territory starting from the usual 5 yard line. If the electing team does not score a touchdown, the opponent gets the ball at their own 40 yard line where the onside kick was attempted.

 

NO POINTS ARE SCORED ON THE ONSIDE KICK attempt.

 

First Downs

 

  • Touchdown. After the ball crosses midfield, the offense must score a touchdown within one first down (two completed passes beyond the line of scrimmage) and four additional plays.
    • Automatic First Down. Once the ball crosses midfield, the offense receives an automatic first down.
    • Midfield. The field will be divided into two halves. The offense must cross midfield within one first down (a first down is obtained by completing two passes beyond the line of scrimmage) and four additional plays. After the offensive team crosses midfield, the quarterback may no longer run the ball unless he is being rushed after the five second count.

 

Forced Gender Play

 

Acceptable Gender Plays Include:

 

  • A female player sets up as the quarterback and is sacked.
  • A female player sets up as the quarterback and attempts a pass.
  • A female player sets up as the quarterback and runs the ball across the line of scrimmage.
  • A female player receives a lateral or hand-off and runs the ball.
  • A female player receives a lateral or hand-off and attempts a pass.
  • A pass caught behind the line of scrimmage by a female player who does not successfully gain positive yards counts as a female play but not a completion.

 

Three Down Rule: An offense must use a female as the primary player within 3 consecutive downs. A primary player is one of the following:

 

  • The intended receiver according to the official
  • The primary runner (a gain is not required and the runner does not have to cross the line of scrimmage)
  • A quarterback who attempts a pass.  Please note that if a male quarterback is sacked or fumbles the snap on a forced gender play, the next play will be another forced gender play.

 

Unacceptable Gender Plays Include

 

  • A male quarterback intentionally throws the ball at a female player's feet.
  • A female quarterback spikes the ball to stop the clock or to continue to the next play.
  • A female player sets up as the quarterback and hands the ball off to a male player.
  • A female player snaps the ball into play.

 

Defense Coverage for a Forced Gender Play. On a forced gender play, the male defensive team must stand on the opposite side of the field from the female players, and the men cannot line up any further than 10 yards from the line of scrimmage, with the exception being the pass rusher. The pass rusher may shadow the quarterback and can still blitz after the 5 second count.  Male defensive players can only leave the 10 yard area after the ball has left the quarterback's hand or the quarterback has been blitzed and crossed over the line of scrimmage. Interceptions by a man cannot occur unless the woman has touched the ball first. Men may not cover women on a forced gender play.  Defenders may not deflect a pass at the line of scrimmage, only the rusher of the quarterback may knock the ball down at any time.  If the offense plays more than 3 women on the field for a forced gender play and the defensive team cannot match the number of women, men may cover the additional women. If there are more defensive female players than offensive female players the defense may only outnumber the offense by one person.

 

Exceptions When Team is Down A Female Player. If the defense is down a female player, it may cover the offense's female player with a male player on a gender play. The offense will designate to the referee which female is to be covered before the snap. Then, the defense must designate to the referee which male player is going to cover the extra female player.

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Scoring

 

  • Safety. A safety is worth 2 points.
    • Extra Extra Points. Teams can elect to go for a 5 point attempt from the midfield line if there is less than 5 minutes left on the clock in the second half of play. If a team scores, 5 points will be added to their score. If they fail however, one point will be subtracted from their score.
    • Extra Points. Extra points are worth 2 points for a 10-yard conversion and 1 point for a 5-yard conversion. PATs can be returned the length of the field for equivalent points. For example, if the offense is attempting a 2 points PAT and the defense intercepts a pass, the defense can run the ball back to their end zone on the opposite end of the field for a total of 2 points. Regardless of the outcome, the next play will be the first offensive play of the "defense" at the 5 yard line.
    • Touchdown. A touchdown is worth 6 points. To score, the ball carrier must have both feet cross the goal line (the ball does not have to be in the end zone). If the ball is caught inside the endzone, the receiver must have one foot inbounds and control of the ball for the score to count (NCAA rules).

 

Play Continuation

 

  • Ineligible Receiver. A receiver becomes ineligible if he/she steps out of bounds (before or during a pass).
    • Dead ball. Play stops when the ball touches the ground because of a fumble, punt, or incomplete pass.  Also play stops when the ball carrier falls and any part of their body (except feet or hands) is touching the ground.
    • Down. To stop the play, the opponent must the ball carrier's flag belt.

 

Turnovers

 

  • Interception. If a player catches an opponent's pass or fumble before it hits the ground then it is an interception. The player must have control of the ball inbounds if he/she catches the football in the air. The ball is live and can be advanced.  No stripping of the ball is allowed.
    • Lateral:  A lateral cannot be advanced if the ball hits the ground. It is then ruled a fumble.
    • Fumble: A fumble that touches the ground is not a turnover (dead ball at the spot of the fumble).

 

Scrimmage

 

  • Quarterback Run from Scrimmage. This rule applies if the line of scrimmage is in the opposing team's half of the field. The quarterback cannot run for positive yards unless he/she is rushed after the 5 second count in the opposing team's half.

 

Punts

 

  • Blocking. No blocking is allowed on punts.
    • Receiving Team. The receiving team may fair catch the ball or advance it. If the ball hits the ground, it becomes a dead ball. If the ball travels or is downed in the end zone, the ball is placed on the 1 point conversion line
    • Kicking. The offense must declare punts on fourth down, fake punts are not allowed.  The kicking team must stay on the line of scrimmage until the ball is punted. Five players from the receiving team must be on the line of scrimmage as well.

 

PENALTIES

 

Five Yard Penalties

 

  • Illegal Block of Ball during Forced Gender. The penalty can be a five yard penalty at the line of scrimmage or a spot foul if the pass is completed.  No male player (not including the defender covering the quarterback) can block a ball thrown by the quarterback prior to the female player touching the ball. The quarterback cannot throw the ball purposely at a male player to receive the penalty.
  • Intentional Grounding. The quarterback may not attempt a forward pass without a realistic chance of completion. There is an exception if the quarterback immediately spikes the ball to stop the clock. The penalty will be assessed from the line of scrimmage and results in a loss of down.
  • Illegal Forward Pass. If the quarterback crosses the line of scrimmage and throws a forward pass, the pass is incomplete and the penalty will be assessed from the line of scrimmage and include a loss of down.  Only one forward pass is allowed per play.
  • Delay of Game. A penalty will be assessed if a team takes longer than 30 seconds to snap the ball.
  • Defensive Encroachment. Encroachment occurs when any part of a defensive player's body is in the neutral zone and contacts an offensive player before the snap. The official must blow his whistle immediately. The penalty will be assessed from the line of scrimmage and a dead ball will occur.
  • Illegal Diving. No player may leave his/her feet to gain positive yards. The penalty will be assessed at the spot of the foul.
  • Illegal Player Participation. A team cannot have more than 8 players on the field or have more than 5 male players on the field.
  • Offensive/Defensive Offsides. The official will blow the whistle immediately on offensive offsides. A dead ball will occur, and the penalty will be assessed from the line of scrimmage. On defense offsides the play will be continued until its conclusion at which point the offense will decide whether to accept or decline the penalty.
  • Not Using a Female Player on a Forced Gender Play. The penalty will be reassessed until a gender play is used. If the penalty occurs on fourth down, a turnover will occur. The penalty also includes a loss of down.

 

Ten Yard Penalties

 

  • Defensive Face Guarding. When a forward pass is in the air, the defender may not use his/her hands or arms to screen the offensive player from catching the ball while his/her back is to the ball. If the penalty was on a gender play, then the gender count is reset. The penalty will be assessed from the line of scrimmage.
    • Defensive/Offensive Pass Interference. The penalty will be enforced as follows: first down at the spot of the foul; if the interference occurs in the end zone, the ball will be spotted at the 1-yard line. If the penalty occurs on a forced gender play, the gender count will be reset.
    • Illegal Contact/Defensive Holding. A defensive player may not make original contact with a receiver, use his/her hands or arms to hang onto a receiver, or extend his/her arms to cut off a receiver causing contact that restricts the receiver as the play develops. If the penalty occurs on a gender play, the gender count is reset. The penalty will be assessed from the line of scrimmage and result in a first down.
    • Offensive Picking. The offense may not initiate a pick/block while in motion. A pick is defined as any action, regardless of whether contact occurs, that delays or prevents an opponent from reaching their intended position. If a catch is made after a clear pick, it will not be ruled a catch. The penalty will be assessed from the line of scrimmage.
    • Arm Extension. The ball carrier may not extend an arm to prevent a defensive player from touching them, and may not charge into a defensive player when attempting to be tagged. The penalty will be assessed at the spot of the foul.
    • Flag Guarding. Flag guarding shall be defined as the ball carrier blocking the defender in any way from their flags. i.e. arms/hands going below the ball carrier's waist.
    • Blocking. No player may use their hands to block his/her opponent or run down the field to become a blocker.
    • Reckless Play. Players must avoid excessive contact at all times, a reckless player will be ejected from the game. If the referee determines that the player is being unsportsmanlike, the player will be ejected from the game. The penalty will be assessed from the line of scrimmage.

 

Fifteen Yard Penalties

 

  • Unsportsmanlike Conduct. The unsportsmanlike player could be ejected from the game and suspended from the next game if the referee finds his/her actions unsportsmanlike. If a suspended player plays the following week, his/her team will forfeit that game. The Commissioner has final say on all punishment decisions, and a player could be permanently ejected from all Beehive Sport & Social Club events. Unsportsmanlike conduct includes, but is not limited to, illegal tags (grabbing shirt, unnecessary roughness, tackling, pushing), contact with quarterback after the ball is thrown, foul language to a player or referee, and taunting the opposing team.
    • Personal Foul/Fighting. The penalty will be assessed from the line of scrimmage, and the player will be ejected from the game.

 

STANDINGS

 

  • ​​​​​​​Ties. During the regular season, there will be no overtime. If a tie occurs in a playoff game, the following format will apply:
    • Overtime (Playoffs Only). The coaches will again toss a coin, and the winning team will select whether to posses the ball first or second. Teams will attempt to score in the same end zone. Each team will have 4 downs to score from 10 yards (1 point conversion line) from the goal line. If a team scores, it will have the opportunity to go for a one point conversion or a two point conversion. A female must be used once within the first three plays. An interception will result in a team losing its possession and cannot be returned for points. The game will be decided when one team scores more points in the same rotation of possessions. No first downs will be awarded except if a penalty occurs.

 

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