Flag Football Rules - 8v8

Any intramural policies not mentioned here may be found in the Intramural Handbook.  Unless specifically mentioned below, Intramural play is governed by NIRSA Flag Football rules. By participating in Intramural Sports, the participant agrees to abide by all Intramural rules and policies. 

You may suffer physical and/or mental injury from participating in Intramural Sports. There are certain risks of injury that are inherent to participation in sports and recreational activities. These types of injuries may be minor or serious and may result from the actions or inactions of themselves or others. By choosing to participate in Intramural Sports, you do so at your own risk. It is understood that most activities require a certain level of fitness and health, and that each person has a different capacity for participating in these activities. Participants of Intramural Sports are highly encouraged to have a physical examination and procure health insurance prior to play. UC Campus Recreation does not provide health insurance.

Intramural Supervisors undergo concussion recognition training. In the instance a participant is exhibiting any signs or symptoms of a concussion as a result of a head injury sustained during intramural play, he or she will be removed from the activity. This individual must provide a physician’s note clearing the individual to play by a specific date. This note may be e-mailed to intramural@uc.edu or faxed to 513-556-0601.

2.1

Following each game, each team will receive a sportsmanship rating between 0.0 and 4.0.

2.2

In order to qualify for playoffs, teams must obtain a 3.0 or higher sportsmanship average during the regular season based on the table below:

Sportmanship Rating
Score Player & Team Behavior  
4.0 Always respectful to officials and opposing team.
No complaining or arguing.
Does not comment about officials’ calls.
3.0 Usually respectful to officials and opposing team.
Minimal arguing or complaining about officials.
Maximum one unsportsmanlike penalty issued.
2.0 Consistent dissent or disrespect to officials/opposing team.
Consistent arguing and/or complaining about officials’ calls.
Maximum of two unsportsmanlike penalties or one ejection.
1.0 Excessive complaining, dissent or disrespect to officials/opposing team.
Contact or provocation of officials or opposing team members not inherent to the sport.
Any player involved in a fight.
Maximum of three unsportsmanlike penalties or two ejections.
0.0 Team and/or players are unsafe/out of control.
Multiple players on team fighting.
Destruction or abuse of UC property.

* A team that receives a "0" rating will be suspended from competition until its captain meets with the Assistant Director or Coordinator of Intramural Sports. The team may be removed from competition.

2.3

In addition to team ratings, any unsportsmanlike actions may be forwarded to Judicial Affairs and may include but is not limited to revocation of Intramural Sports and/or Campus Recreation privileges.

3.1

To be eligible for intramural sports, each player must be a current University of Cincinnati student [enrolled in at least one (1) credit hour], faculty, or staff member. Additionally, participants must have a valid and active Campus Recreation membership.

3.1.1

Uptown, full-time UC students receive a Campus Recreation membership through full payment of the Campus Life Fee. All other populations will need to purchase a membership in order to be eligible to play.

3.2

Participants may participate on one (1) mixed gender and one (1) non-mixed gender (i.e. men's, women's, open, fraternity, sorority) team per sport, per season. Substituting for another team in the same league is prohibited.

3.3

Every game, each participant must check in with the intramural official with a valid Bearcat card.

3.4

Intramural particpants must additionally meet all requirements of Section 3.4:

3.4.1

Teams are limited to two (2) competitive club sport participants (in the same or similar sport) on its roster.

3.4.2

Current varsity athletes and professional athletes are not allowed to play on an intramural team of the same or similar sport as their varsity sport.

3.4.3

Former varsity athletes must sit out 365 days from last appearing on a varsity roster to be eligible to play in the same or similar sport as their varsity sport. Teams are allowed one (1) former varsity athlete (in the same or similar sport) per roster.

4.1

Jewelry is not allowed during intramural play. This includes earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and fitness trackers, among other things.

4.1.1

Medical jewelry is allowed but must be taped down with athletic tape.

4.2

Headwear is not permitted during intramural play. This includes hats, bandannas, padded headgear among other things.

4.3

Athletic clothing and footwear is required. Prohibited items include but is not limited to: jeans, cargo pants/shorts, skirts, loafers, open-toed shoes, and boots.

4.3.1

Rubber molded cleats are the only cleats permitted. Removable or metal cleats are prohibited.

4.4

Towels & any obstructing objects may not be worn at the waist level. Jerseys/shirts must be tucked in to fully expose flags

4.5

Any casts, braces, or other protective equipment must be padded and secure.

4.6

Mouth guards are recommended, but not provided.

4.7

Jerseys are available for use at the playing location. Teams are not required to bring their own.

4.8

Flags are available for use at the playing location. Teams are not required to bring their own.

5.1

Prior to registration close, a team must have at least eight players confirmed on its IMLeagues roster. Teams that fail to do so may not be included in the league.

5.2

Once playoffs begin, players may not be added to the roster without direct approval of the Coordinator and/or Assistant Director of Intramurals.

5.3

Teams may have up to twenty-five (25) players on its roster.

5.4

No team shall participate with less than seven (7) players at any time

5.4.1

If injuries or ejections cause a team to drop below minimum players required, the team may continue, as long as they started with the minimum number of players.

5.4.2

At the approval of the supervisor and opponent, teams may participate below the minimum number of players needed to start a game if deemed competitive by the staff and the opponent agrees to waive protest rights under Section 5.4

5.5

Mixed gender teams may not have more than four players of one gender on the field

5.5.2

Mixed gender teams must adhere to section 5.5 regardless of injury or ejection - even if it results in a short handed scenario

6.1

Players may substitute freely between downs.

6.2

Players must exit the field on their own sideline, failure to do this is an illegal substitution

7.1

The length of the game is two 20-minute halves. Halftime will be three minutes, time permitting.

7.1.1

A running clock will be used until the last two-minutes of the second half, with excpetion for official’s and team timeouts.

7.1.2

In the case of inclement weather or other circumstances, a game is considered “official” after the first half is completed.

7.2

Each team receives three 30-second timeouts. These timeouts can only be called during a dead ball situation.

7.3

All checked-in players and coaches have the authority to call timeouts on behalf of their team.

7.4

Teams that arrive late to games and/or are not ready with the minimum roster by start time will receive the following penalty:

7.4.1

1-4 minutes late = Other team starts up 7-0 and gets possession to begin both halves

7.4.2

5-9 minutes late = Other team starts up 14-0 and gets possession to begin both halves

7.4.3

10+ minutes late = Game is forfeited

7.5

Teams that forfeit must pay a $20 non-refundable reinstatement fee prior to the end of the regular season to be eligible for playoff consideration [Refer to Section XII of the Intramural Handbook for more information]

7.6

In order to prevent forfeits, teams may also default once per season. Teams must give a minimum 48 hour notice of default to qualify by emailing intramural@uc.edu. [Refer to Section XII of the Intramural Handbook for more information]

8.1

There is no overtime during the regular season.

8.2

During playoffs, overtime will be decided by the following format:

8.2.1

Rock, Paper, Scissors will be performed. Winner gets choice of starting overtime on offense/defense or which side of the field to play on. Loser will decide the remaining option.

8.2.2

The offense will perform a 2pt attempt (10yd line). Offense will have one chance to score in the NCAA Overtime Shootout manner. Both teams will have a chance to score using the one-play format.

8.2.3

Should the defense intercept a pass for a pick-six, they win the game. If the interception is not returned for a touchdown, the attempt will be over and the defensive team will begin their 2pt attempt from the 10yd line. 

8.2.4

If the score is tied at the end of the first overtime, a second overtime period will begin in an identical format

8.2.5

If the score is tied at the conclusion of Section 8.2.4, the third and ensuing overtimes will be performed in identical format, however, from the 3pt (20yd) line. 

8.3

Each team will receive one (1) 60-second timeout for the entirety of all overtime periods. Timeouts do not carry over from the first 40 minutes of play.

8.4

All overtime periods are played toward the same goal line.

8.5

Offensive penalties do not end the attempt, but are enforced and replayed [Exception: Section 8.5.1]

8.5.1

Penalties that result in a loss of down shall result in the attempt being no good

9.1

The official will hold a pre-match Rock, Paper, Scissors. Winner gets choice of starting on offense/defense or which end of the field to head towards. Loser will decide the remaining option. 

9.1.1

In playoffs, the higher seed will have choice of starting on offense/defense or which end of the field to head towards.

9.2

For Mixed Gender divisions, the football size shall be NCAA mens for male & non-binary quarterbacks and Women's size for all female quarterbacks. 

9.2.1

Teams may elect to use a Women's size football for all quarterbacks if agreed upon in the Captain's Meeting

9.3

The quarterback must be female for the first play of all drives, as well as for every other legally completed down

9.4

There are no kickoffs. Drives beginning halves and following touchdowns/touchbacks will begin on the team's own 14yd line

9.4.1

Line to gain will be the team's own 20yd line on new drives beginning at the opponent's 14yd line

9.5

After each half teams shall change ends, and the team that did not begin on offense at the start of the first half will receive first possession beginning the second half. [Exception: Section 7.4]

9.6

Fumbles are marked down where the ball lands or where the runner fumbled if the ball progresses downfield on the fumble. Possession remains with the team in possession when the fumble occurred. 

9.7

A player who scores must immediately pull their flag belt for the nearest official to witness. Failure to do so results in an illegal secure belt penalty.

9.8

The offense is responsible for retrieving the football after each play.

9.9

The value of scores shall be:

9.9.1

Touchdown - 6pts

9.9.2

PAT 20yd line - 3pts

9.9.3

PAT 10yd line - 2pts

9.9.4

PAT 3yd line - 1pt

9.9.5

Safety - 2pts

9.10

Teams must declare what PAT value they are going for to the Head Ref immediately after a touchdown

9.10.1

Teams may only change the value of a declared PAT following a timeout by declaring to the Head Ref prior to the Ready for Play 

9.10

Mercy Rule – A game will be considered final if:

A team leads by 50+ at any point in the second half

9.10.2

A team leads by 36+ inside the final five (5) minutes of the second half

9.10.3

A team leads by 19+ inside the final two (2) minutes of the second half

10.1

The following penalties shall be Dead Ball penalties, and 5yds shall be enforced:

  1. Delay of Game
  2. False Start
  3. Encroachment
  4. Illegal Snap
  5. Illegal Procedure
  6. Illegal Motion
  7. Illegal substitution [Offense]

The following penalties shall be Live Ball penalties, and 5yds shall be enforced at the conclusion of the play:

  1. Forward Lateral [Additional loss of down]
  2. Illegal substitution [Defense]
  3. Aiding the Runner

The following penalties shall be Live Ball penalties, and 10yds shall be enforced at the conclusion of the play:

  1. Illegal Contact
  2. Flag Guarding
  3. Pass Interference [Offense & Defense]
  4. Personal Fouls
  5. Unsportsmanlike Conduct
  6. Kick catch interference
  7. Illegal flag belt removal
  8. Illegally secured flag belt [Additional loss of down & player disqualification]
  9. Illegal Participation

The following penalties shall be disqualification eligible penalties, and 15yds shall be enforced at the conclusion of the play:

  1. Unsportsmanlike Conduct

10.2

Inside two (2) minutes of the second half, the following penalties shall have the following enforcement:

  1. Delay of Game, 1st offense - Loss of down
  2. Delay of Game, 2nd offense - Loss of possession 

10.3

Officials and/or Intramural Staff reserves the right to eject any players whose actions are deemed flagrant or excessive. 

11.1

The offense shall adhere to all snap guidelines of sections of 11.1:

11.1.1

Teams have a 15-second play clock that begins at the Ready for Play whistle performed by the Head Ref

11.1.2

All offensive players must remain on or behind the offensive line of scrimmage cone prior to the snap

11.1.3

Centers are not required to snap the ball between their legs, but are required to remain fully behind the ball

11.1.4

Quarterbacks must receieve snaps a minimum two (2) yards behind center - under center is illegal

11.1.5

Snapped balls that are deemed to touch the ground are considered fumbles, and will be marked down at the ball's point of contact with the ground

11.2

The offense shall adhere to all motion guidelines of sections of 11.2:

11.2.1

Only one offensive player may be in legal motion during the snap

11.2.2

Should multiple offensive players be in motion prior to the snap, all players must come set for one (1) full second before the ball is snapped

11.2.3

A minimum of four (4) offensive players must be on the line of scrimmage at the snap

11.3

The defense shall adhere to all pre-snap guidelines of sections of 11.3:

11.3.1

All defensive players must remain on or behind the defensive line of scrimmage cone prior to the snap

11.3.2

Pressing receivers on the line of scrimmage shall be deemed illegal contact

11.3.3

Simulating the snap count shall be an unsportsmanlike conduct [Refer to Section 10.1]

12.1

A legal & completed pass shall adhere to all applicable guidelines of sections of 12.1:

12.1.1

All offensive players are eligible to touch or catch a pass.

12.1.2

The throwing player must have a minimum of one body part on or behind the line of scrimmage when the ball is released

12.1.3

Only one forward pass may be thrown per down

12.1.4

A completed pass is deemed as a ball caught in the air with one body part touching inbounds and possession maintained

12.1.5

If a pass is caught simultaneously by opposing players it is considered a completed pass, and belongs to the offense.

12.2

Backward passes/laterals that are deemed to touch the ground are considered fumbles, and will be marked down at the ball's point of contact with the ground

12.1

The quarterback is eligible to scramble at any point in the game/play

12.1

Parallel and backwards laterals are deemed legal & unlimited in usage for all ball carriers

13.1

A player is deemed down when one of their flags are removed by a defensive player

13.1.1

If an offensive player's flag falls off by itself, runner is not considered down until contact with one hand by a defensive player

13.2

A player is considered down by making ground-contact with any body part other than a foot or hand or by making any contact with out of bounds ground.

14.1

The punt procedure shall adhere to all applicable guidelines of sections of 14.1:

14.1.1

Teams must declare to the Head Ref prior to the Ready for Whistle that they elect to punt

14.1.2

Once declared, teams may not change their decision or fake punt [Exception: Timeout called]

14.1.3

The ball does not have to be snapped on punts, however the kicker must adhere to the 2yd minimum distance from the line of scrimmage

14.1.4

Both teams may not cross their lines of scrimmage until the ball is kicked

14.3

A punt landing inbounds shall be marked where it makes contact with the ground. 

14.3.1

Should a punt land out of bounds it will be marked where it crossed the out of bounds in the air. 

14.4

Any motion given deemed a fair catch by the official shall be ruled a fair catch and marked down at the point of catch

14.5

Touchbacks shall be marked at the 14yd line

15.1

Unless up by 19+ points, teams are free to attempt an onside at any point of the game

15.2

The scoring team must notify the Head Ref immediately after the PAT that they want to attempt an Onside

15.3

Teams may not change their decision once choosing to Onside [Exception: After calling a timeout]

15.4

The Onside procedure shall adhere to all applicable guidelines of sections of 15.4:

15.4.1

The onside attempt shall be one play from the 3pt line (20yd line)

15.4.2

If successful, the attempting team shall retain possession at midfield

15.4.3

If unsuccessful, the defending team shall gain possession at midfield

15.5

A successful onside kick is worth 0 points, and only results in retained possession

15.5.1

Should an onside be intercepted and returned for a pick-six, the value of the play shall be six (6) points for the returning team

15.6

Penalties during onsides shall be enforced in accordance to Section 8.5

15.7

The clock shall start on the snap of the onside attempt

15.7.1

The clock shall remain running at the conclusion of the attempt unless inside two-minutes left in the game