University of Wisconsin-Madison Intramural Sports 4-on-4 Flag Football Rules (Revised 11/11)

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1 University of Wisconsin-Madison Intramural Sports 4-on-4 Flag Football Rules (Revised 11/11) Note: Play is governed by current National Intramural Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) Flag Football Rules with the following modifications. Official rulebooks are available for sale at The Intramural Sports Policies govern policies and procedures of all play. 1. Eligibility a. Only UW-Madison students and faculty/staff with paid Recreation Membership fees are eligible to participate. See the Intramural Sports Policies for eligibility requirements. b. A current UW-Madison identification card must be presented at each game. NO VALID UW-MADISON I.D. - NO PLAY- NO EXCEPTIONS. 2. The Field, Players and Equipment A. The field shall be rectangle 60 yards by 30 yards, including two 10-yard end zones. There will be one hash mark that runs the length of the field down the center, dividing the field in half. All boundary lines in their entirety are out of bounds. B. Players 1. Four (4) players constitute a team. 3 players are required to start to avoid a forfeit. See Co- Rec summary for additional requirements. If fewer than 3 players are present after 10 minutes, the game will be declared a default or a no-show. See Intramural Sports Policies regarding defaults and no-shows. 2. All rosters are frozen after the completion of the team s first tournament game. C. Equipment 1. Each player on the field must wear a one-piece flag belt (provided by Recreational Sports) at the waistline with three flags permanently attached, one flag on each side and one in the center of the back. The flag belt must be free of any knots. Teams must provide their own equipment to warm-up. Recreational Sports will provide a game ball. 2. Shoes must be soft-soled soccer/football type cleats or cross-country, tennis, or astroturf shoes. NO HARD PLASTIC, LEATHER, OR METAL IS ALLOWED IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF CLEATS OR SHOES. WET TURF SOCCER SHOES (SCREW-IN CLEATS) ARE NOT ALLOWED. 3. Casual eye wear such as glasses or sunglasses are not permitted. If glasses are worn, they must be safety glasses with safety frames and must be worn with a retaining strap. 4. The use of headgear, jewelry, shoulder pads, body pads, or any unyielding or dangerous equipment is prohibited. Players may wear a knit or stocking cap and use soft, pliable gloves if they desire. No baseball style caps or bandannas may be worn at anytime. 5. Tape or bandage on the hand, wrist, forearm, or any other part of the body is prohibited except to protect an injury. Under no circumstances will a player wearing a cast or splint be allowed to play. Only braces worn below the waist are legal. Braces with exposed metal parts must be covered. 6. All players must wear a jersey or shirt long enough so that it will remain tucked in during each down, or cut at least 4" above the flag belt. Jerseys, which have an arm opening more than 4 below the armpit, are illegal. The referee will use a fist to measure the distance of the jersey opening. Each team must wear the same color jersey or shirt. The jersey must be tucked in to allow for grabbing the flag. Penalty Failure to wear required equipment, 5 yards. 7. Belt loops, pockets, exposed drawstrings, exposed metal on clothes or person, and hoods on sweatshirts are illegal. Players wearing such illegal equipment will not be allowed to participate until illegal equipment is removed. 3. Timing and Scoring 1

2 A. Playing Time and Intermissions 1. Games will begin at the scheduled time. Teams will be given a 10-minute grace period to have the required minimum of players before the game is declared a no-show or a default. The team will be dropped from further competition unless a $25.00 no-show fee is paid or a $10.00 default fee is paid within 48 hours to the Recreational Sports Office (Room 1180 Nat). See the Intramural Sports Policies regarding no-shows and defaults. 2. The game will consist of two halves of 15 minutes. The clock will run continuously during the first half and the first 14 minutes of the second half, except when a team or referee timeout is called. During the last minute of the second half, the clock will stop for an incomplete pass, when a player goes out of bounds, if a penalty occurs, change of possession, a score, and a first down. 3. Half time will be 3 minutes. The referee shall have discretion to reduce the length of the half time if conditions deem it necessary. 4. There will be no overtime during the regular season. In case of a playoff game ending in a tie, the Tie Breaker procedure will be used. The two captains will determine the options by a coin flip. The home captain will call the toss. The winner of the toss shall be given options of offense, defense, or direction. The loser of the toss shall make a choice of the remaining option. Teams will alternate choices if additional overtime periods are played. The entire Tie Breaker is PLAYED TOWARD THE SAME GOAL LINE. Each team will attempt to score by passing from the 3 yard line for 1 point or from the 10 yard line for 2 points. If the team on defense intercepts a pass or fumble, the attempt is over. 5. Mercy Rule: If a team is ahead by 28 or more (37 or more for CoRec) when the referee announces the 1 minute warning for the second half or anytime thereafter, the game shall be over. Also, if the point differential reaches 46 points or more (61 for CoRec) at the 5 minute mark of the second half, the game shall be ended. 6. Each team will be permitted 1 time-out per game. No additional time-out will be awarded for the tie breaker procedure. These time-outs shall be 1 minute in length. 7. The referee may start or stop the game clock whenever, in his/her judgment, either team is trying to conserve or consume playing time by using illegal or unfair tactics. B. Scoring Touchdown Safety Extra Point (Try) 6 points 2 points 1 point from 3 yards 2 points from 10 yards 3 points from 20 yards An intercepted pass or fumble recovery by the defense results in the ball being dead immediately. The defense cannot return an intercepted pass or recovered fumble for points on a try. 3. Pre-Game, Starting the Game, and Punts A. The Toss and Options Procedure: Prior to the start of the game, the referee shall toss a coin, and the visiting team captain shall call the toss. The captain winning the toss shall have choice of options for the first half or shall defer their option to the second half. The options for each half shall be: 1. To choose whether his/her team will start on offense or defense. 2. To choose the goal his/her team will defend. The captain not having the first choice of options for a half shall exercise the remaining option. B. The start of each half will begin by placing the ball on the 10-yard line. There will no longer be any kickoffs, this includes after a safety. C. A team will have 3 consecutive downs to advance to the next zone. 2

3 D. There are no punts. If the offense fails to advance the ball to the next zone, the defense will be awarded a new series. 4. Snapping, Passing, and Running the Ball A. Spotting the Ball 1. The ball shall be spotted at the hash mark. B. Prior to the Snap 1. Following the ready for play whistle and until the snap, no player on defense may encroach, touch the ball, nor may any player contact opponents or in any other way interfere with them. This includes standing in the neutral zone to give defensive signals, or shifting through the zone. After the snapper has placed their hands on the ball, it is encroachment for any player to break the scrimmage line plane, except for the snapper s right to be over the ball. Penalty: Dead Ball Encroachment, 3 yards from the succeeding spot. During the interval between downs if the defensive team commits two or more consecutive encroachment fouls, the penalty will be 5 yards for subsequent encroachment fouls. 2. No offensive player shall make a false start. A false start includes simulating a charge or start of a play. Penalty: Dead Ball Foul, False Start, 3 yards from the succeeding spot. C. Snapping the Ball 1. The player who receives the snap from the center must be at least 2 yards behind his/her scrimmage line. The snapper shall pass the ball back from its position on the ground with a quick and continuous motion of the hand(s). The center may not snap it to themselves. Penalty: Illegal Snap or Formation, 3 yards. 2. The offensive team must have a minimum of 1 player on the line of scrimmage at the time of the snap. A player in motion is not counted as on the scrimmage line. Penalty: Illegal Formation, 3 yards. 3. One offensive player may be in motion, but not in motion toward the opponent s goal line at the snap. Other offensive players must be stationary in their positions without movement of the feet, body, head or arms. Penalty: Illegal Motion, 3 yards. 4. After a huddle or shift (more than 1 player in motion), all offensive players must come to a complete stop and remain stationary in legal position without movement of feet, body, head, or arms for at least one full second before the snap. Penalty: Illegal Shift, 3 yards. 5. If on the snap or any other circumstances the ball is fumbled, it is immediately dead, at the spot, upon hitting the ground. Either team can make no advancement. A fumble going out of bounds without hitting the ground remains in possession of the fumbling team at the spot where the ball went out of bounds. 6. The offensive team has 25 seconds to snap the ball from the ready to play whistle. Penalty: Dead Ball - Delay of Game, 3 yards. D. The Forward Pass 1. All players are eligible to touch or catch a pass. During a scrimmage down and before team possession has changed, a forward pass may be thrown provided the passer s feet are behind Team A s scrimmage line (first ball spotter) when the ball leaves the passer s hand. The passer may catch his/her own forward pass provided another player has touched it first. Penalty: Illegal Forward Pass, 3 yards from the spot of the pass and loss of down. 2. If a legal forward pass is caught simultaneous by members of opposing teams, the ball is immediately dead upon returning to the ground and belongs to the offense. 3. A forward pass is a live ball thrown towards the opponent s goal line. A backward pass is a live ball thrown parallel or backwards. The initial direction of the pass will determine whether or not the ball is backwards or forwards. It is illegal to throw an untouched backward pass to him/herself. 4. It is illegal to attempt to strip the ball while in player possession by punching, striking or stealing. Once a player has obtained possession of the ball, his/her opponent must play the flag, not the ball. Penalty: Personal Foul, 5 yards. 3

4 5. Defensive players must not contact the passer at any time during or after the play. They may only go for the flag. Rushers may try to deflect the ball, but they may not contact the passer even if the ball is deflected. If the defender contacts the passer, it is considered roughing the passer. This includes the arm of the quarterback before, during or immediately following a pass. Penalty: Personal Foul-Roughing the Passer, 5 yards and Automatic 1 st Down. 6. Only one foot must touch inbounds in order for a pass reception to be considered legal. 7. Any player may hand the ball forward or backward at any time. 8. Forward Pass Interference- Contact which interferes with an opponents attempt to catch a legal forward pass, unless it occurs when 2 or more players make a simultaneous and bona fide attempt to reach, catch or bat a pass. Hindering an opponent s vision by placing one s hand or arm in the face of the opponent without making an attempt to catch, intercept or bat the ball is pass interference, even though no contact was made. 5 yards and Automatic 1 st Down. E. Running the Ball 5. Flags and Flag Guarding A. Flags 1. A runner cannot advance the ball through the offensive scrimmage line. There are no restrictions after a change of possession or once a legal forward pass has been touched beyond Team A s scrimmage line. Penalty: Illegal Advancement, 3 yards. 2. The runner shall be prohibited from contacting an opponent with extended hand or arm including to ward off an opponent attempting to deflag/tag. Penalty: Personal Foul, 5 yards. 3. A runner shall not charge into nor contact an opponent in his/her path nor attempt to run between two opponents or between an opponent and a sideline, unless the space is such as to provide a reasonable chance for him/her to go through without contact. If an opponent is able to legally establish a defensive position in the path of the runner, the runner must avoid contact by changing direction. Penalty: Personal Foul, 5 yards. 4. The runner shall not grasp a teammate or be grasped, pulled or pushed by a teammate. Penalty: Helping the Runner, 5 yards. 5. The defensive player shall not hold, grasp, or obstruct the forward progress of a runner when in the act of removing the flag belt or making a legal tag. Penalty: Personal Foul, 5 yards. 1. Each player on the field must wear a one-piece flag belt (provided by Recreational Sports) at the waistline with three flags permanently attached, one flag on each side and one in the center of the back. The flag belt must be free of any knots. 2. When a runner loses their flag belt accidentally, inadvertently, or on purpose, play continues. The deflagging reverts to a one-hand tag of the runner between the shoulders and knees. 3. An opponent may not intentionally pull a flag belt from an offensive player without the ball. Penalty: Personal Foul, 5 yards. 4. Tampering with the flag belt in any way to gain an advantage including tying, using foreign materials, or other such acts is illegal. Penalty: Personal Foul, 5 yards from previous spot and player disqualification. If committed by the offense, loss of down. If committed by the defense, automatic first down. B. Flag Guarding Runners shall not flag guard by using their hands, arms, or the ball to deny the opportunity for an opponent to pull or remove the flag belt. Flag guarding includes but not limited to the following: 1. Placing or swinging the hand or arm over the flag belt. 2. Placing the ball in possession over the flag belt. 3. Lowering the shoulder in such a manner, which places the arm over the flag belt. Penalty: Flag Guarding, 5 yards. 4

5 6. Screening, Rushing the Quarterback, and Contact 7. Protests A. Screening and Rushing the Quarterback 1. Screen blocking is legally obstructing an opponent without using any part of the body to initiate contact with him/her. 2. The offensive screen block shall take place without contact. The screen blocker shall have his/her hands and arms at his/her side or behind his/her back. Any use of the hands, arms, elbows, legs, or body to initiate contact during an offensive player s screen block is illegal. A blocker may use his/her hands or arms to break a fall or to retain his/her balance. Penalty: Personal Foul, 5 yards. 3. Defensive players must go around the offensive player s screen block. The arms and hands may not be used as a wedge to contact the opponent. The application of this Rule depends entirely on the judgment of the official. A rusher may use his/her hands or arms to break a fall or retain his/her balance. Penalty: Personal Foul, 5 yards. 4. These actions are judged similarly to the block/charge call in basketball. 5. Team players are responsible for retrieving the ball after a down has ended. Officials are not responsible for retrieving the ball. The offensive team may take the ball to the huddle after each play. 6. No player may use words similar to the offensive and quarterback cadence prior to the snap in an attempt to interfere with Team A s signals or movements. Penalty: Unsportsmanlike Conduct, 5 yards. A. Rule Interpretation: A team wishing to protest a rules interpretation must call a timeout. If the protest is ruled invalid the team will lose its timeout. If the protest is valid, the timeout will be charged to the officials. If a team has no timeouts remaining and wishes to protest they may do so, however, they will be charged with a 5-yard unsportsmanlike penalty if the protest is invalid. Protests must follow the protest procedure outlined in the Intramural Sports Policies. B. Player Eligibility: Protests concerning player eligibility must be made to the Intramural Sports Student Coordinator before, during, or immediately after the contest in question. The Assistant Director of Intramural Sports will make a ruling on the protest the following day. C. Judgment Calls: Inquiries into an official s decision regarding the game play, such as boundary line calls and game play infractions, are not valid protests. 8. Fouls, Penalties, and Special Enforcements A. If there is a foul by the offensive team, other than unsportsmanlike or non-player, during a down, which results in a successful touchdown or try, the acceptance of the penalty, nullifies the score. If there is a foul by the defensive team during a down, which results in a successful touchdown or try, the penalty will be enforced from the succeeding spot or at the 14 yard line. B. Loss of 3 yards: 1. Required equipment worn illegally 2. Delay of game (dead ball) 3. Illegally conserving or consuming time 4. Substitution rules infraction 5. Encroachment (dead ball) 6. False start (dead ball) 7. Illegal Snap (dead ball) 8. Offensive player not within 15 yards of the ball 9. Infraction of the scrimmage formation 10. Player out-of-bounds when the ball is snapped 11. Illegal motion 12. Player receiving the snap within 2 yards of the scrimmage line 5

6 13. Illegal shift 14. Illegal Advancement 15. Intentionally throwing a backward pass or fumble out-of-bounds (loss of down if by Team A) 16. Illegal forward pass (loss of down if by Team A) 17. Illegal forward pass 2 consecutive male to male forward pass completions (loss of down) (Co-Rec only) 18. Illegal forward pass male catches pass and runs beyond the scrimmage line (loss of down) (Co-Rec only) 19. Helping the runner C. Loss of 5 yards: 1. Illegal player equipment 2. Quick kick 3. Kick catch interference 4. Two or more consecutive encroachments during the same interval between scrimmage downs 5. Forward Pass Interference Offensive (loss of down) 6. Forward Pass Interference Defensive (automatic first down) 7. Illegally secured flag belt on a touchdown (loss of down if by the offense) (automatic first down if by the defense) 8. Unsportsmanlike player conduct 9. Spiking, kicking, or throwing the ball during a dead ball 10. Unsportsmanlike conduct by coaches, substitutes or others 11. Strip or attempt to strip the ball 12. Contact with opponent on the ground 13. Throw runner to the ground 14. Hurdle any player 15. Contact before or after the ball is dead 16. Unnecessary contact of any nature 17. Dive or run into a player 18. Position upon shoulders or body of teammate 19. Tackle the runner 20. Roughing the passer (automatic first down) 21. Illegal offensive screen blocking 22. Interlocked interference 23. Defensive use of hands 24. Flag guarding 25. Stiff arm 26. Obstructing or holding the runner 27. Batting a free ball 28. Illegal kicking 29. Illegal participation 30. Illegal substitute/replaced player 31. Pretended, unfair substitution 32. Illegal flag belt removal D. Disqualification Associated with certain 5 yard penalties: 1. Flagrant unsportsmanlike player conduct 2. Intentionally contacting an official 3. Flagrant personal fouls 4. Tackle the runner 5. Intentional tampering with flag belt offense (loss of down) 6. Intentional tampering with flag belt defense (automatic first down) E. Sportsmanship 1. All participants should read and be familiar with the Intramural Sports Policies listed on the Recreational Sports web page- The team captain will also be held responsible for the actions of their players and fans. 6

7 2. Two (2) unsportsmanlike conduct penalties given to a player will result in an ejection. 3. Three (3) unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on a team will result in the termination of the game. 4. Any unsportsmanlike behavior from the sideline will be penalized and assessed to the violator(s) and the team. 9. Safety Any player, who is bleeding or has an open wound, must leave the game until the wound is closed and bleeding has been stopped. Play will not continue until all blood has been removed from the playing area. SUMMARY OF CO-REC FLAG FOOTBALL RULES 1. The game: The game shall be played between 2 teams of 4 players, 2 men and 2 women. Teams with 3 players shall be 2 men and 1 woman or 2 women and 1 man. 2. The Ball: The regular, intermediate, junior or youth size football shall be used. 3. Minimum line players: The offensive team must have at least 1 players on their scrimmage line at the snap. 4. The term closed, means a male player may NOT throw a legal forward pass completion to any other male player. The term open means any player can complete a legal forward pass to any other player. Penalty: Illegal Forward Pass, 3 yards from spot of pass and loss of down. 5. If a crew of officials erroneously indicates open/closed status of a down, the play is nullified and the down will be repeated. This must be done prior to the next snap. 6. During the offensive team s possession there may not be 2 consecutive legal forward pass completions from a male passer to a male receiver. This rule applies to the try. Penalty: Illegal Forward Pass, 3 yards from spot of pass and loss of down. 7. If a male passer completes a legal forward pass to a male receiver, the next legal forward pass completion must involve either a female passer or female receiver for positive yards. The spot where the ball becomes dead by Rule must be beyond the Team A scrimmage line. There is NO foul for a female receiver being tagged or deflagged behind the Team A scrimmage line. The next legal forward pass completion remains closed. 8. There are no other restrictions concerning a male passer completing legal forward pass to a female receiver, or female to female, or female to male. 9. Any foul, whether accepted or declined, shall have no effect on whether the next forward pass completion is open or closed. 10. If a female passer completes a forward pass to a male receiver behind the Team A scrimmage line and any Team A runs beyond the scrimmage line, it is an illegal forward pass. Penalty: Illegal forward pass, 3 yards from the spot of the pass and loss of down. 11. Mercy Rule: If a team is 37 or more points ahead when the referee announces the 1 minute warning for the second half or anytime thereafter, or 46 or ore points ahead at the 5 minute mark of the second half or anytime thereafter, the game shall be over. 12. Touchdown Value: If a female scores a touchdown, the point value is 9. If a female player throws a legal forward pass and a touchdown is scored by any Team A player, the point value is 9. All other touchdowns will be 6 points. 7

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