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MUSC Intramural Sports

Flag Football Rules

Players and Substitutes

A team will consist of 7 players. At least 4 must be on the offensive line of scrimmage. Co-Rec teams must have 3 female players on the field at all times.

Unlimited substitution is permitted at any time the ball is NOT in play.   PENALTY – loss of 5 yards from the previous spot.   Down remains the same.


Players may wear tennis shoes or molded-rubber cleats (not screw in types).  No metal cleats.  Bare feet are not allowed.

Teams are required to wear jerseys of contrasting colors.  Officials have final decisions.

All players must wear a flag belt, properly clipped.  Securing belt by any other manner will result in a 15 yard penalty and ejection from the game.  If a player's flag comes off during play, the player is still eligible.  The defense must only touch the individual with one hand to consider him down.

Periods and Time Factors

There will be a coin toss prior to the start of the game.   Options: A) receive B) kick C) defend a goal D) defer option to second half.

The game consists of two 20 minute halves with a 5 minute half time (both regular season and playoffs).  The clock runs continuously throughout the game except for time-outs, touchdowns, extra points or referee judgments.  The clock will stop during the last two minutes of the game for time-outs, penalties, change of possession, out of bounds, touchdowns, and extra points.

Tie Game: If at the end of regulation play the score is tied, the captains of each team will meet, a coin will be flipped and the visiting captain will call it.  The team winning the coin toss will have the following options:   A) offense B) defense C) defend a goal D) choose which end of the field on which to play.   After coin is tossed and the winner chooses their option, the other team has their choice of the remaining options.  Each team will have four plays to score and then attempt extra points.  If the score remains tied after both teams attempt to score, the teams will have a two-minute intermission and the captains will again meet.  The loser of the first coin toss will have the right of first options. There will be no other coin tosses.


A) Each team is allowed 2 one minute time-outs per half.   PENALTY: Officials will deny extra time-out requests.

B) Each team is allowed 1 one-minute time-out in the overtime period.  Unused time-outs from the second half may be carried into the overtime period.

C) Referee time-outs may be called in the event of TD, FG, safety, injury, penalty, or ball in another field.  After penalty or injury, the clock starts when the ball is declared ready to play.

Flagging a Runner

Downs:  A series of 4 downs is allowed in which to move the ball 20 yards or to the next first down line.

Blocking:  An offensive player may “block” by obstructing the path of the defender; however, he/she:

A) Must have his hands behind his back

B) Cannot initiate contact

C) Cannot stick out leg/foot

Screening:   Screening is obstructing an opponent's path without physical contact.   PENALTY:  15 yards.

The Snap:   The snap must be made with the ball in contact with the ground.  It can be snapped to anyone in the backfield, but not down the line of scrimmage.  PENALTY:   5 yards from the previous spot.

A) Before the ball is snapped: The snapper may not make any unnecessary move of the ball attempting to draw a defensive player off sides.  

PENALTY:   5 yards.

B) When the ball is snapped: 4 offensive players must be on the line of scrimmage.  No one on the line can receive the snap.

Only one offensive player may be in motion and this must be laterally parallel to or backward from the line of scrimmage.  The player must remain in motion for one full count before the snap.  Other offensive players must be stationary in position with both feet on the ground.   PENALTY:   5 yards.

No offensive player may be closer than 5 yards to the sideline when the ball is snapped.  PENALTY:   5 yards.

There shall be no contact prior to the snap across the line of scrimmage.   PENALTY:  5 yards from the previous spot.

The offense has 25 seconds to put the ball in play.  The 25-second rule begins once the referee spots the ball and declares it ready for play.  PENALTY:   5 yards.


A) Only one forward pass may be made each down.  The player passing the ball must not cross the line of scrimmage.

B) There will be two lines of scrimmage marked on every play:  (1) an offensive line of scrimmage where the ball is snapped, and (2) a two-yard “cushion” from the line of scrimmage where the defense will be lined up.  This is to give the quarterback more time.

C) You may not pass to yourself to avoid being trapped.  (ie/ air dribble)   PENALTY:  Ball is dead from point of pass.

D) Only one foot must be in bounds for a reception to be complete on either the sidelines or the end zone.

E) Pass interference: By offense – PENALTY:  15 yards from succeeding spot and loss of down. By defense – PENALTY:  Automatic first down at point of infraction. Inside defense's end zone – PENALTY:   first down for offense on the 1 yard line.


The kicking team must kick from their own 20 yard line.  The ball must be kicked off the tee or punted.  The receiving team must have three men on the 40 yard line.  The remaining 4 men can be anywhere on the field.  No forward passes on kickoffs.


A successful punt is one which goes beyond the scrimmage line.  There will be no rushing of a designated punt.  The offensive captain notifies the official who, in turn, notifies the defense.   Both the offensive and defensive team must have 4 people on the line of scrimmage.  There will be no forward passes on punt returns, but a lateral pass is legal.


A) Values of Scores

Touchdown…..6 points (9 points for female scoring in Non-Comp League)

P.A.T. (2 ½)…..1 point

P.A.T. (10)…..2 points

B) Safety:    A safety is made when a ball which is legally in possession and control of a player guarding his own goal becomes dead; any part of it being on, above, or behind the goal line, providing the impetus which sent it to or across the goal line was given by a player on his own team.  After a safety is scored, the defending team shall put the ball in play on its own 20 yard line by a free kick.  Safeties may be scored in the following ways:

•  Tagging an offensive player with possession behind his/her goal line.

•  A blocked kick landing in the end zone or passing out of the end zone in the air.

•  An offensive player stepping out of his/her end zone while in possession of the ball.

C) Touchback:  A touchback shall be called when the ball crosses the opposing team's goal line.  The ball shall be brought out to the 20 yard line and put into play.


A Dead Ball :  

The ball is dead (out of play) when it goes out of bounds; when the ball carrier is legally touched by an opponent; when a touchdown, field goal, or safety occurs; when a fumbled ball at anytime touches the ground; when forward, backward, or lateral passes are incomplete; or when the referee rules the ball not in play.   Anytime a whistle is blown, even inadvertently, the ball becomes dead.

A Live Ball becomes Dead when:

A) The ball touches the ground after a snap, forward pass, lateral pass, backward pass, or fumble.

B) It is snapped over a player's head becoming dead at its point of contact with the ground.

C) When any part of a runner's body shall touch the ground other than his hands or feet.

Out of Bounds:  

A player is out of bounds when any part of his body touches anything other than another player (which is outside a boundary line).  For a pass to be considered complete, a receiver must have one (1) foot in bounds and no other part of his body touching out of bounds.

Previous Spot:  

The spot from which the ball was last snapped.

Succeeding Spot:  

The spot where the legal pass was thrown to.


The position of any player, other than the snapper or holder of a place or free kick, any part of whose body is beyond the line of scrimmage or restraining line.

Other Rules

Players should be instructed by their team managers to communicate with the officials through their team captains.  Arguing, debating, crowding, or intimidating an official will not be tolerated.

Two officials shall supervise each contest; keeping a record of time-outs, the score, and the number of players in the game.  Official 1 (head official) shall position himself to the left and on the offensive team's line of scrimmage during a series of downs; in the front and within earshot of the offensive team during all time-outs; and near the receiving team's safety man during all kick-off formations.  Official 2 shall position the line of scrimmage (5 yards from the ball, in front of the defensive team's huddle) during all time-outs, and even with the ball on all kick-off formations.  Official 2 shall keep the time; Official 1 shall keep the score and time-outs.  Official 1 is responsible for the conduct of the game. All protest must be registered with Official 1 through the team captain.  The decision of Official 1 is FINAL.

Twenty minutes of play will constitute a complete game in case of inclement weather.

Games will be played on Sunday afternoons according to the posted schedule, indicating time, location, and opposing teams.  Each teams roster, captain, and captain's telephone number are available in the Student Programs Office.

Season shall be six (6) games in length.  (subject to change)

Teams may add players to the roster at anytime during the regular season up to the stated deadline.  You must have seven (6) people at game time to start a game.  

Playoffs will be held after the regular season; the amount of teams taken are determined by the number of teams in the league.  During the playoffs, only those players on a team's roster may play.  No additional players may be picked up or added.

Any rules not covered in this rulebook will fall under the discretion of the game referee.  After the game a decision will be made by the rules committee and added to the rulebook.  Once again, the referee's decision is FINAL!   All calls will stand - good and bad. No games will be played under protest unless deemed necessary by the rules committee.

NOTE:   The rules committee is composed of the team captain for each team, the onsite referee and the intramural coordinators.

**CO-REC DIVISION:  All rules are the same, except their must be at least 3 females on the field at all times.

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