ASI Intramural Flag Football Rules

  1. The Game
    1. Start Time
      1. All players must check in with the ASI Intramural Sports supervisor before the game with their unique IMLeagues Virtual ID Card and any valid photo ID.
      2. If the minimum number of players is not present at game time, the game will be forfeited. Please refer to the ASI Intramural Sports Handbook for a detailed description of our forfeit policy.
    2. The Players
      1. Games shall be played by two teams of seven players. Five players are required at the start of game time to avoid a forfeit.
      2. If a team has four or fewer players at game time, that team will be assessed a forfeit fee.
      3. If at any time during the game a team has fewer than five eligible players, the game will be a forfeit.
        1. In the case of an injury, the team will be allowed to play down.
        2. In the case of an ejection, the team with the ejected individual will forfeit (no fee).
    3. Manager Meeting
      1. Prior to the start of the game, a meeting will between the two team mangers and officials will take place at midfield. The first half will start with a coin toss, or a similar decision-making method (odds/even). The winning captain shall have the option to defer to the second half—or a choice of the following options:
        1. Choose to receive
        2. Choose which side to defend
        3. *The other respective captain shall exercise the remaining option
      2. Team Spokesperson
        1. The team manager is the only person who may address the official and is the spokesperson for the team.
      3. Spectators
        1. Spectators who interfere with the field or play will earn their manager an unsportsmanlike penalty and ejection from the Sports Complex.
        2. Teams are responsible for their spectators. Poor spectator behavior may cause a team to receive a low behavior rating.
        3. Ultimately, it is at the discretion of the IM Flag Football Supervisor and/or the Field Supervisor(s) whether or not a spectator will be allowed to remain at the Sports Complex.
      4. Zero Tolerance Policy
        1. There is no alcohol or drugs allowed at ASI Intramural Sports games. If a player or fan is under the influence, they will be ejected immediately, and disciplinary action may follow. If an ASI Intramural Sports Staff feels that there is a threat to participant safety or suspects that a team might be under the influence, they are required to stop the game immediately. If there is no proof of substance use, the game will be rescheduled for another time.
    4. Sportsmanship
      1. Sportsmanship Ratings
        1. Teams receive a Sportsmanship Rating of 1 through 5 for each of their games, rated by the officials managing the game. Teams begin the game with a score of 4, the baseline, and their score is affected by their behavior throughout the game. The Sportsmanship Rating scale is outlined in the following subsection “Sportsmanship Rating Scale.”
        2. Sportsmanship rating scale
          1. (5) Five: Excellent Conduct and Sportsmanship
            1. Team members cooperate with and demonstrate good sportsmanship toward teammates, opponents, and all members of the Intramural Sports staff.
            2. Team captain exhibits control over his/her teammates and spectators; they converses calmly and rationally with officials regarding the interpretation of calls.
            3. Team members demonstrate proper respect for all equipment and the facility.
            4. Team members honor the spirit and intent of the intramural sport game rules and/or program policies.
            5. Team members accept judgment decisions made by the officials during the contest.
            6. The minimum number of team members needed to start the contest is present, checked in, and ready to play prior to game time. Teams who do not meet this standard are ineligible to receive a 5.0 rating.
          2. (4) Four: Good Conduct and Sportsmanship (Teams Begin at this Level)
            1. Team members exhibit good conduct and sportsmanship for the majority of the contest.
            2. Team members verbally complain about some decisions made by officials and/or show minor dissension which does not merit a technical foul/unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
            3. Team members do not show aggressive dissent toward the Intramural Sports staff or the opposing team.
          3. (3) Three: Average Conduct and Sportsmanship
            1. Team shows verbal dissent toward officials and/or the opposing team which may or may not result in a technical foul/unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
            2. Teams who receive multiple technical fouls/unsportsmanlike conduct penalties may not receive higher than a 3.0 rating.
            3. Team captain demonstrates minor control over teammates/spectators and/or does not actively promote good sportsmanship.
            4. Team members occasionally use profanity, although it is not directed toward staff/opponents. At game time, the team is not able to produce the minimum number of participants, resulting in a forfeit. The opposing team will automatically receive a 4.0 rating in this situation.
          4. (2) Two: Poor Conduct and Sportsmanship
            1. Team members continuously show dissent toward staff/opponents or use abusive/inappropriate language toward staff/opponents.
            2. Team members are continuously “trash talking” opponents and/or intimidating staff/opponents or playing dangerously/maliciously.
            3. Team captain is unresponsive and uncooperative in helping staff members to control teammates.
            4. Teams that have a player ejected may not receive higher than a 2.0 rating.
          5. (1) One: Disqualifying Conduct and Sportsmanship
            1. Threatening/making physical contact in an aggressive manner toward staff/opponents. Team members are out of control, intoxicated/under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, or show a complete disregard for authority.
            2. Team captain shows no control over the actions of his/her teammates.
            3. Multiple players are ejected from the contest.
            4. A team member misrepresents him/herself by using another student’s ID card.
            5. Team members damage/attempt to damage equipment or the facility.
            6. An ineligible player participates in the game.
            7. Any team whose member(s) take part in a fight, instigates a fight, or throws a punch (whether connected or not) will receive a 1.0 and those individual players will be indefinitely suspended from all Intramural Sports events. Those members must meet with the Intramural Sports Coordinator before they will be allowed to resume participation in any intramural sports event. Any team that receives 1.0 is subject to disqualification from participation for the remainder of that sport and possibly the semester or academic year. All players on a team receiving a 1.0 may be put on probation or suspended indefinitely and may be subject to further sanctions through Judicial Affairs.
    5. Playoffs
      1. The first criteria for playoff eligibility is win-loss record. Sportsmanship Rating is the second criteria for deciding which teams make playoffs. Third will be point differential, and the fourth is head-to-head record.
      2. At a minimum, an average Sportsmanship Rating of at least 3 is required for a team to be eligible to make playoffs. Ultimately, however, it is at the discretion of the Flag Football IM Sports Supervisors whether or not a team will be allowed to participate in playoffs.
      3. If at any point during playoffs, a team receives a sportsmanship rating of 1, they will not advance.
    6. The Field
      1. Games will take place at the Upper Sports Complex.
      2. To ensure the safety of participants, staff, and fans, spectators will be asked to stay on the near side of the turf fields while viewing games.
      3.  Flag Football Field Dimensions:
        1. The field will be 80 yards long by 40 yards wide from end line to end line.
        2. The area of the field inside the goal lines shall be divided into four twenty-yard zones; the end zones will be ten yards long.
    7. Player Restrictions
      1. Participants may only play on one team per league (e.g., one Open and/or one Co-Rec League). If a league does not fill due to an insufficient number of teams or is not offered, the participant will be allowed to play on two co-rec teams in separate divisions. This is the only time a player may play in multiple divisions within a sport (e.g., Open D2 and Open D3, or Co-Rec D2 and Co-Rec D3).
      2. If an Interfraternity Council (IFC) Division is offered, men may play in either the IFC or Open but not both. If a Panhellenic (PHA) Division is offered, women may play in either the PHA or Women’s Division but not both.
      3. Club sports players are only allowed to play in Division 1 or the highest division offered. There may only be two club players on the field at a time, but there is no limit to the number of club players on a team.
      4. A participant who appears on a club sports roster at any time during the academic year will be considered a club player for the sport similar to their Cal Poly club sport for the remainder of that academic year.
      5. Intercollegiate athletes may not participate in a sport similar to their Cal Poly sport until three academic quarters (not including summer) after they have been removed from that sport’s active roster. However, they are eligible to play an intramural sport dissimilar to the sport they play for Cal Poly.
  2. Equipment/Dress Code
    1. Uniform
      1. The home team wears white, and the away team wears black.
      2. Players must check their schedules on to know which color shirt to wear. If there is any doubt, bring both colors.
      3. If every member of the team has the same uniform, they will be allowed to play at the discretion of the supervisor.
      4. A player with blood anywhere on their uniform will be instructed to leave the game until the uniform has been changed or approved after an evaluation by an ASI Intramural Sports supervisor or an ASI facility supervisor
    2. Dress Code
      1. Closed-toe shoes must always be worn during play.
        1. Players are not permitted to wear metal cleated shoes. All cleated shoes must be of the one-piece molded rubber type.
      2. Athletic attire must be always worn during play.
      3. Wearing a hat is not allowed during play.
      4. Pants with any belts, belt loops, pockets, or exposed drawstrings are not allowed.
      5.  It is recommended that a mouthpiece be worn by all players.
      6. Players may not wear a towel hanging from their waists as it could be mistaken for a flag.
      7. ASI Intramural Staff can remove a player for improper dress code at their discretion.
    3. Jewelry
      1. Jewelry is not permitted; players must remove all jewelry before the start of a game.
    4. Flags
      1. Each player must wear a one-piece belt at the waistline with three flags permanently attached—one flag at each side and one in the center of the back.
      2. Opposing team flags must be of contrasting colors and will be distributed by intramural sports officials on the playing field.
      3.  Jerseys must be tucked inside the flag belt.
      4. Players may not wear a towel hanging from their waists as it could be mistaken for a flag.
    5. The Football
      1. The referee shall decide the legality of any ball. The game ball will be provided. Both teams will be responsible for retrieving the ball and having it ready for each play.
      2. The offensive team may keep the ball in their huddle. During an Open game, teams shall only use a regulation-sized ball. The regular or youth size ball can be used for Co-Rec games. The referee shall be the sole judge of any ball offered for play and may change the ball at their discretion. Teams providing their own ball must have it approved by the head official prior to the start of the game.
  3. Protected Scrimmage Line Formation
    1. Motion: Anyone who goes in motion must be only going parallel or backward at the snap, and only one player may be in motion at the time of the snap.
    2. Minimum Line Players
      1. The center must hold the ball on the line of scrimmage and maintain all other points of contact behind the ball prior to the snap.
  4. Penalties
    1. Five-Yard Penalty
      1. Enforced at the spot of the foul: Helping the runner.
      2. Enforced at the line of scrimmage: False start, offensive player illegally in motion, required equipment worn illegally, delay of game, encroachment, illegal snap.
    2. Five-Yard Penalty and Loss of Down
      1. Enforced at the line of scrimmage: Intentional grounding, illegal forward pass, illegal touching.
    3. 10-Yard Penalty
      1. Enforced at the spot of the foul: Clipping, guarding the flag belt, hurdling any player, fair catch interference, stiff arm, illegal offensive screen blocking, stealing/punching or attempting to steal ball, tripping an opponent, diving for advancement of the ball, diving for flag belt and contacting the ball-carrier.
      2. Enforced at the line of scrimmage: Offensive pass interference, illegal blocking, defensive use of the hands, throwing runner to the ground, unsportsmanlike conduct, foul language, sideline infractions, taunting, excessive celebration, intentional displacement of an official’s flag, intentional displacement of the line of scrimmage.
    4. 10-Yard Penalty and Loss of Down
      1. Enforced at the line of scrimmage: Illegally secured flag belt (offensive player).
    5. 10-Yard Penalty and Automatic First Down
      1. Enforced at the line of scrimmage: Illegally secured flag belt (defensive player), defensive pass interference, bull-rushing, roughing the passer.
    6. 10-Yard Penalty and Disqualification
      1. Enforced at the spot of the foul: Intentional tampering with flag belt, tackling the runner, throwing runner to ground.
      2. Enforced at the line of scrimmage: Unsportsmanlike conduct, intentional contact with an official, derogatory language directed at another individual.
  5. Flag Football Rules
    1. Game Length
      1. Games will be 40 minutes divided into two halves of 20 minutes. Half-time intermission is three minutes.
      2. During the first half, the game clock will run continuously.
      3. During the second half, the game clock will run continuously until the two-minute warning. During the final two minutes of the second half, the clock will stop for an incomplete pass, out of bounds, score, time-out, penalty, or change of possession. The clock will also be stopped after an offensive team gains a first down until the ball is marked ready for play by the official.
      4. Each team will be granted two timeouts (60 seconds each) per half.
    2.  Overtime (rules only apply to playoffs)
      1. Each team will be given four downs from the 20-yard line to score a touchdown going in the same direction. The team with second possession will always have an opportunity to score. A turnover results in a dead ball and a change of possession.
      2. If the game is still tied at the end of an overtime period, the team who was on offense first for the first overtime period will be on defense first for the second overtime period.
      3. Each team will be allotted one timeout per overtime period.
      4. Extra points will be attempted. Teams will play until there is a winner.
    3. Scoring
      1. Touchdown: 6 points
      2. Safety: 2 points
      3. Extra Points
        1. Running or passing from 3 yards: 1 point
        2. Running or passing from 10 yards: 2 points
        3. Running or passing from 20 yards: 3 points
        4. If a team intercepts a pass or aired fumble during the try, they can return it and will receive the point value of the try.
    4. Substitutions
      1. Substitutions can be made in between plays.
    5. Out of Bounds
      1. As soon as a player with the ball touches the sideline, the play is dead.
      2. Catches must be made with one foot landing in bounds before the player’s momentum takes them out of bounds.
      3. If a player goes out of bounds, they are ineligible to be the first player to receive the ball.
  6. Ball in Play, Dead Ball
    1. Ball declared Dead
      1. A live ball becomes dead, and an official shall sound the whistle or declare it dead when:
        1. Any part of the runner other than a hand or foot touches the ground.
        2. A backwards pass, fumble, or muff touches the ground. A snap which hits the ground before or after reaching the intended receiver is dead at the spot where it hits the ground. If the ball is fumbled forward, it is declared dead and spotted at the spot where the ball-carrier lost control.
        3. A runner has a flag belt removed legally by a defensive player. A flag belt is removed when the clip is detached from the belt. (The ball will be considered down where the flag belt was disconnected, regardless of where it may end up.)
          1. If a flag belt falls without it being physically pulled, the play will continue, and the runner must be touched by one hand to be considered legally down.
  7. Protected Scrimmage Kick (Punt)
    1.  The team captain may request a protected scrimmage kick on any down. The captain must declare to the referee if his/her team wants a protected scrimmage kick.
      1. This choice can only be changed if: (a) A timeout is called, (b) the period ends, (c) a foul occurs, or (d) an inadvertent whistle takes place.
    2. The kicking team must maintain at least 4 players within one yard of their scrimmage line until the ball is kicked. Neither team can cross their scrimmage line until the ball is in the air.
    3. The kicker must kick the ball immediately upon receiving the snap.
    4. The kicking team may also opt to throw the ball instead of kicking.
    5. A protected scrimmage kick which fails to cross the kicking team’s scrimmage line is dead where it hits the ground or is touched.
    6. A punt that travels out of bounds in the air will be spotted at the location in which the ball crossed the plane of the sideline.
    7. The ball is declared dead and spotted at the location where it took its second bounce. The receiving team may still pick up the ball and advance it from only one bounce. If the receiver touches the ball and then it hits the ground, the ball is declared dead where the player touched it.
    8. The ball may be advanced out of the end zone.
  8. Snapping, Passing and Handling the Ball
    1. Scrimmage Play
      1. Only the center is required to be on the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped.
      2. A backward pass or fumble which touches the ground between the goal lines is dead at the spot where it touches the ground and belongs to the team last in possession of the ball (unless there is a loss on downs).
      3. Center may snap the ball between their legs or outside their legs.
      4. The ball may only be moved with approval of the Referee due to poor field conditions.
    2. Forward Pass
      1. All players of either team 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 the team’s line of scrimmage when the ball leaves the passer’s hand. Only one forward pass may be thrown per down.
    3. Pass Interference
      1. Offensive Pass Interference: Offensive pass interference occurs beyond the offensive team’s scrimmage line while the ball is in flight. Contact is required for pass interference. Penalty: 10 yards from the original line of scrimmage and the down is repeated.
        1. Examples of Offensive pass interference include extending the arms to push the defensive player, grabbing of jersey, hands to the face, tripping, kicking, or any type of contact that is used to gain an advantage.
      2. Defensive Pass Interference: Defensive pass interference occurs beyond the offensive team’s scrimmage line while the ball is in flight. It is also pass interference if an eligible receiver is de-flagged/tagged prior to touching the ball on a pass thrown beyond the offensive team’s scrimmage line. Penalty: 10 yards from the original line of scrimmage and an automatic first down.
        1. Examples of Defensive pass interference include extending arms to push the offensive player, grabbing of jersey, hands to the face, tripping, kicking, de-flagging/tagging prior to reception, or contacting/blocking the vision of the intended receiver without facing the ball while it is in-flight.
  9. General Rules
    1. Start of Play
      1. Unless moved by penalty, the ball shall be snapped on the 14-yard line to start each half.
      2. The official shall use two rubber disks, one yard apart, to mark the offensive and defensive scrimmage lines.
      3. At the beginning of each down, only the center is required to be on the line of scrimmage.
      4. All offensive players must be at least five yards away from the sidelines and remain stationary for at least one full second before the snap, except for the player in motion.
      5. There may be only one player in motion at the time of the snap. The player in motion may not be moving toward the line of scrimmage.
      6. Once the official marks the ball ready for play, the offensive team will have 25 seconds to snap the ball. The center will hike the ball from the ground in a continuous motion—either through the legs or to the side—to a quarterback who must be at least two yards from the line of scrimmage. There are no direct snaps.
    2. A team in possession of the ball shall have four consecutive downs to advance to the next zone. Prior to the fourth down, the offensive team will be given the option of a protected scrimmage kick. Teams are not allowed to fake a kick. A kick may be run out of an end zone or downed for a touchback in which the ball will be placed on the 14-yard line.
    3. All players are eligible receivers. The line of scrimmage will be placed where the ball is spotted when the player is de-flagged or steps out of bounds, no matter their location on the field. Only one forward pass may be thrown per down. A player with the ball may not hurdle another player or dive to advance a ball. The ball will be spotted at the location of the ball at the moment the flag belt is pulled.
  10. Onside Kick
    1. After scoring and attempting the extra point, the scoring team may choose to attempt an “onside kick play”.
      1. The ball will be spotted at the defensive team’s 20-yard line. The attempting team will have one play to advance the ball into the end zone.
      2. If the attempt is converted, there will be no change of score, but the attempting team will retain possession of the ball and will begin a new drive on their own 30-yard line.
      3. If the attempt is not converted, there will be no change in score and the defending team will gain possession of the ball at the opposing 30-yard line.
    2. An onside kick play may not be attempted in the first half, or when the scoring team is ahead by 19 or more points.
  11. Mercy Rule
    1. If a team is up 19 or more points when the official announces the two-minute warning for the second half, the game shall continue with a continuous clock. (Only a timeout will stop the clock.)
    2. If a team scores during the last minute of the second half and that score creates a point differential of 19 or more, the game shall continue with a continuous running clock and will only stop during timeouts.
  12. Explanation of Terms and Rules
    1. Fumbles
      1. Loss of player possession other than by handing, passing, or kicking the ball.
      2. Any loose ball that is fumbled into the offensive team’s end zone is a safety.
    2.  Inadvertent Whistle
      1. An official blows the whistle before a play is over.
      2. Play will stop and the offensive team will have the option of taking the play or replaying the down—unless a penalty has occurred, which will then be assessed accordingly.
    3. Screen Blocking
      1. The offensive screen block shall take place without contact.
      2. Screen blockers shall have their hands and arms at their side or behind their back. Any use of arms, elbows, or legs to initiate contact during an offensive player’s screen block is illegal.
      3. Blockers may use their hands or arms to break a fall or retain their balance, however no contact is to be made during the fall.
    4. Bull-rushing
      1. An excessive use of force by rushing defenders to create space.
    5. Intentional Grounding
      1. When the quarterback is in the pocket and does not throw the ball within 10 yards of any eligible receiver.
      2. The players blocking on the offensive line are not considered eligible receivers until they have broken out of their blocking stance or moved past the line of scrimmage.


Individuals should play and participate with integrity and respect for others while engaging in ASI Intramural Sports. Good sportsmanship is vital to the success of the intramural sports program and the quality of experience for all participants. Teams are responsible for the actions of individual team members and spectators related to their team. Organizations will be held responsible for their behavior before, during, and after the match. In order to encourage proper conduct during the game, supervisors and administrative personnel will make decisions on whether to warn, penalize, or eject people and/or teams for poor sportsmanship. These decisions will be final. Any team receiving an unacceptable sportsmanship rating is required to have their manager meet with intramural staff before they are considered for continued participation. Any individual ejected from an intramural contest will have to meet with the intramural advisory committee before they can be considered to continue participating in intramural events.