Intramural Flag Football Rules

NCAA Football Rules, NIRSA Flag Football Rules, Intramural Flag Football Rules and the IM Code will govern intramural flag football play.

Department of Recreation staff reserves the right to make amendments to these rules deemed essential to the success of the program.

NO ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES will be permitted in any recreation or athletic facilities; smoking is also prohibited in all recreation and athletic facilities (indoor or outdoor). Violations will result in forfeiture of the game by the team in violation.


Penncards will be required to verify identification prior to each contest. Please refer to page 2 of the IM Code if you are a staff member who is not issued a PennCard.


Intramural eligibility rules, as outlined in the IM Code, are applicable to IM Flag Football. Protests of player eligibility must be filed in writing within 24 hours in the IM Office (Rm. 202 Hutchinson Gym) by the team captain. Written protest should include the date, team name, and player in question. The IM staff will review eligibility protests.


Game time is forfeit time. There will be no grace period. Games will start at the scheduled time, or the game will be a forfeit. After one forfeit a team will lose its performance bond; after a second forfeit a team will become ineligible to make the playoffs; after a third forfeit a team will be removed from the league.


Teams will be awarded points according to the following scale:
2 points awarded for each win
1 point awarded for each tie
0 points awarded for each loss
Playoff qualification will be determined by total point accumulation throughout the season.


Single Gender Leagues

A single gender team will consist of 7 players. A minimum of 5 players is required to avoid a forfeit. If for any reason a team drops below the minimum number of players, the game will be declared a forfeit.

Co-Rec Leagues

A co-rec team will consist of 8 players (4 male, 4 female). A minimum of 6 players is required to avoid a forfeit. At no point may a team have more than a one-player gender differential (a team with only 7 players could have the following gender ratios: 4 females-3 males or 4 males-3 females). If for any reason a team drops below the minimum number of players, or is unable to maintain the appropriate gender ratio, the game will be declared a forfeit.

Teams may add players to their rosters throughout the regular season, teams will not be permitted to add players once the playoffs begin.

The field

80 yards long with a 10-yard end zone at each end. There will be first down lines every 20 yards.


The game will consist of two 20-minute halves. Half time will be no longer than 3 minutes. Each team will be allotted one 30-second time out per half.


Points will be awarded according to the following table dependent on method of score:

Single Gender Leagues

Touchdown = 6 points
Successful 3 yard extra point try = 1 point
Successful 10 yard extra point try = 2 points
Successful 20 yard extra point try = 3 points

Co-Rec leagues

Male touchdown = 6 points
Female touchdown = 9 points
Female QB completes TD pass = 9 points
Successful 3 yard extra point try = 1 point
Successful 10 yard extra point try = 2 points
Successful 20 yard extra point try = 3 points

Tie games

If a game is tied after regulation time, it will be declared a tie. (See section titled "standings" for details).


All players must wear appropriate athletic gear that fits the following criteria:


Captain's Meeting

Game official will review rules and answer any questions.

Coin toss

A coin toss will decide which team will have the option to choose either the possession of the ball or the direction of play in the first half. The opposing team will have the same options at the beginning of the second half. The team that wins the coin toss may defer the option to the second half.

The Game


The clock will run continuously with the following exceptions: official's or injury timeouts; team time outs; the final 2 minutes of the game (see section below entitled "Final 2 minutes"). Teams may be penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct for using stall tactics.

Final 2 Minutes

During the final 2 minutes of the second half, the clock will operate according to NCAA rules. (Contact the IM office for details)

Advancing the ball

All leagues

Teams may advance the ball by any legal means with the following restrictions:
The ball carrier may not:

While carrying the ball in traffic, the ball carrier must carry the ball no lower than chest high.

Co-rec leagues

Teams may advance the ball by any legal means with the following restrictions:


There will be no contact allowed during the blocking process. Offensive players may cause interference for the ball carrier by using a screen block. A screen block will entail the blocker keeping his/her arms at his/her side or behind his/her back for the duration of the block. (The player may move his/her arms to break a fall or retain balance, but no contact may be made with a defender.) The blocker may not make contact while assuming a position near a stationary opponent; nor shall the blocker take a position so close to a moving opponent that the opponent cannot avoid contact. The speed of the player to be screened will determine where the screener may take his/her position. Teams may not use any form of interlocked interference (grasping of hands, arms, etc.) while screen blocking.

Defensive Responsibility

Defensive players must go around the offensive screen block. The arms, hands, and shoulders may not be used to contact the opponent in any way.

Flag Belts

Are to be worn around the waist and attached with the plastic clip only. Any attempt to attach the flag by any other means or conceal the flag will be considered unsportsmanlike conduct and may result in player disqualification.

If the ball carrier's flag belt comes off inadvertently, or is off prior to his/her receiving a pass or lateral, the player will be downed by a one-hand touch from a defender.
Defensive players may remove only the flag belt of the offensive player who is carrying the ball; intentionally removing the belt of an offensive player who does not have the ball is a violation of the rules. Any attempt to grab any part of the ball carrier other than the flag is a violation of the rules.


There will be no kick-offs, the 1st possession will start at the team's own 15-yard line. All subsequent situations that would call for a kick-off will start at the 15-yard line of the team that would receive the kick. There will be no field goal or extra point kicks, EP attempts will be the scoring teams option (see section below titled Extra Point Attempts)


If a team elects to punt the ball on 4th down, the following procedure must be followed:

Other rules specific to flag football


A ball that is fumbled becomes dead when it hits the ground. The team that was in possession of the ball prior to the fumble retains possession, unless it was fourth down and the necessary yardage to gain a first down had not been attained.


The snapper must pass the ball to the QB in a continuous motion from the ground at least two yards behind the line of scrimmage.


Chucking or bumping a receiver at the line of scrimmage is illegal.
All offensive players must line up within 15 yards of the ball. (10 yd. Penalty)

Penalties and enforcement

Offsides, neutral zone infractions, false starts 5 yards from previous spot
Illegal block, illegal use of hands, arms, shoulders by defense 10 yards from spot of foul
Offensive/defensive holding 10 yards from spot of foul
Offensive pass interference 10 yards from previous spot and loss of down
Defensive pass interference 10 yards from previous spot and automatic 1st down
Unnecessary Roughness 15 yards from previous spot and/or player ejection
Co-rec--Illegal forward pass
(2 consecutive male to male forward pass comp)
5yds loss of down
Illegally secured or altered flag belt 5 yards from previous spot and loss of down/ Player DQ
Flag guarding 10 yards from previous spot and loss of down

The referee has the discretionary authority to check flag belts for tampering or to ensure that they are secured legally. Violations will result in disciplinary actions.


Teams will not be allowed to add any new players to their rosters for the playoffs(including league ties). In order to be eligible for the playoffs, a player must have participated in at least one regular season game.

Tie games in playoffs

If a playoff game is tied after regulation time the following procedure will take effect:


As a rule, games will not be rescheduled. If the weather is bad, and games get rained out, they will not be rescheduled. Rained out games will be recorded as a win for both teams. In the case of rain, no decisions will be made until 4pm. After 4pm team captains will be emailed if the games are cancelled, team captains can also call 215-898-6100 for information. Team members should call their captains, not the Department of Recreation, for information.


Players are expected to display good sportsmanship towards fellow competitors, officials, and IM staff. Any display of poor sportsmanship will be met with disciplinary actions. The yellow/red card system will be in effect.


The intramural supervisor, on the field, will accept protests of rule interpretations only. Protests must be filed immediately after the play in question, once the ball is put back into play after the play in question, no protests will be honored. To file a protest, the team captain should ask the game official to get a supervisor, at this point the supervisor will hear the scenario, explain the rule that applies, and render a decision. Decisions made by IM supervisors are final. There is no further appeals process. Supervisors will not listen to protests of officials' judgment calls or competency.

For protests of player eligibility, please see section above titled Eligibility.

If you have any questions about the league, NCAA rules, IM rules, or the IM Code, please contact the Intramural Sports staff at 215-898-6100.