Adult Flag Football League Rules & Format
FC Riverside County is committed to providing an exemplary flag football experience. This is accomplished by the enforcement of the following rules:
1. Season Championship & Playoff Tournament
- Each season is 8 weeks long.
- Three points are awarded for a win, one point for a tie, and zero points for a loss.
- The team with the most points at the end of the season will win the Season Championship.
- The winner of the Season Championship will receive a team trophy.
FC Riverside County will attempt to release the full season schedule before the season's first week. The season schedule may be adjusted throughout the season.
- All teams will qualify for the Playoff Tournament. Only the season's top eight teams will advance to the playoffs if nine or more teams are in a division. If possible, we will attempt to host a second tournament for the teams that do not qualify.
- The lower-ranked team in the top eight will compete with the highest-ranked team. Season point tiebreakers will be broken in the following order (1) point difference, (2) points for, (3) points against, or (4) a LIVE drawing. If a game ends in a tie, the overtime period will be three minutes.
- The winner of the Playoff Tournament will receive a team trophy. Each player will also receive an individual trophy.
Each team can have up to seven (7) players on the field. Teams may carry up to 20 (twenty) players on their roster during the season.
Players are required to register before playing in a season game. Guest players can play season games by paying a $5 temporary permit. Permits are non-refundable and expire on the issuing date. Any team found playing an unregistered player without a permit will result in a forfeit. ALL PLAYERS MUST SIGN FC RIVERSIDE COUNTY'S TERMS OF SERVICE AGREEMENT (17 & YOUNGER PLAYERS MUST ALSO RECEIVE A PARENT OR GUARDIAN SIGNATURE).
*Players can play in different divisions during the same season. Players may only play on one team in the same division during the season.
- $25 Fine – Players will receive a red card, a $25 fine, and a maximum of a 1-game suspension for any verbal abuse made to a referee (including but not limited to offensive, insulting, or abusive language.) or threatening to hurt another player.
- $100 Fine – Players will receive a red card, a $100 fine, and a maximum of a 2-game suspension for charging or pushing an opponent with both hands, making contact with a referee (softly tapping a referee with a hand[s] or finger[s] in a non-threatening manner), and any abusive language made to a staff member.
- $250 Fine – Players will receive a red card, a $250 fine, and a maximum of a 3-game suspension for touching a referee in a threatening way (slapping a card from a referee's hand.), any racial abuse, or deliberate foul play.
- $500 Fine – Players will receive a maximum of a 6-month suspension and a $500 fine for any retaliation fighting (including but not limited to kicking, punching, or spiting), violently touching a referee, making violent threats, or accumulating 3 Red Cards within the same season.
- $1,000 Fine – Players will receive a maximum of a 1-year suspension and a $1,000 fine for violent conduct (including but not limited to fighting, kicking, punching, or attempting to hurt another individual), spitting on another individual, or hitting a referee.
*Any team found having played any suspended player will receive a $25 fine.
*NO FIGHTING. No warnings will be given.
All decisions made by the referee are final. All players entering the field must receive permission from the game's assigned referee. Coaches cannot enter the field without the permission of the referee.
A team is required to have their players wear matching uniforms. Matching jerseys (no t-shirts allowed) are required and must be numbered. All teams must fulfill this requirement no later than game 3. Shorts and socks must at least be of similar color. Shorts cannot have pockets. The visiting side team will wear pennies/bibs if the opposing team has a similar or the same colored jersey.
Jewelry and hats are prohibited. Players may only wear basketball shoes or running shoes.
Supporters will be asked to leave the facility if they enter the field during a live game. Supporters will be asked to leave the facility if they disrupt an opponent during a live game. Supporters will be asked to leave the facility if they use inappropriate language or make inappropriate gestures. Teams are responsible for the conduct of their supporters. Failure to adequately supervise supporters will result in suspension and forfeiture of games.
7. The Game, Players, Equipment
- At the beginning of each game, the referee will call captains from both teams to meet at midfield for the coin toss to determine who starts with the ball. The away team gets to call the toss.
- Flag Football is played by two teams of seven (7) players on each team. The objective is for each team to throw, catch, or run the ball into its end zone and prevent the other team from scoring.
- The game should be played between two (2) teams of seven (7) players each.
- The game shall be played under the supervision of one (1) to two (2) officials.
- Each team must select a captain to make all game decisions on behalf of their respective team. The designated captain shall be the only one who addresses the officials.
- Team representatives, including players, substitutes, replaced players, coaches, trainers, and other persons affiliated with the team, are subject to our league rules and shall be governed by the decisions of the officials assigned to the game.
- The field should be a minimum of 40 yards in width and contain four (4) twenty (20) yard zones with a ten (10) yard end zone on each end. Field sizes may, at times, be slightly different.
- A one (1) yard-wide line should be marked at each end at the three-yard and ten-yard lines in the middle of the field. When a team scores a touchdown, these lines shall be used for the extra point try.
Game and Player Equipment
- Football. The official ball shall be pebble-grained leather or rubber covered and meet the size and shape recommendations for a regulation football. Men shall use a standard-size ball. Women shall use the intermediate, junior, or youth size. The referee shall be the sole judge of any ball offered for play and may change the ball during play at their discretion.
- Flag belt. Each player must wear a one-piece belt at the waistline with at least two (2) flags attached, with at least one flag on each side.
Penalty: Dead Ball Foul - Failure to have flag belt legally attached prior to the snap, 5 yards from the succeeding spot.
- Gloves. Players may wear gloves. Gloves must consist of a soft, pliable, and nonabrasive material.
- Headwear. Players are not permitted to wear bandanas. Players may wear knit or fleece stocking caps or elastic headbands. Hats/caps may not have a bill.
- Shoes. Shoes with cleats must be made of soft, pliable plastic or rubber. No exposed metal cleats or removable cleats are permitted.
- A player wearing illegal equipment shall not be permitted to play. This applies to any equipment, which in the opinion of the Referee, is dangerous or confusing. Any team found wearing illegal equipment will be penalized 15 yards, and the second warning results in a forfeit. Types of equipment or substances which shall always be declared illegal include:
- Headgear containing any hard, unyielding, or stiff material, including billed hats.
- Pads or braces worn above the waist.
- Shoes with metal, ceramic, screw-in, or detachable cleats.
- Shirts, Pinnies, or jerseys which do not remain tucked in.
- Any hood on a coat, sweatshirt, or shirt which does not remain tucked in.
- Pants or shorts with any belt(s), belt loop(s), pocket(s), or exposed drawstring(s).
- Leg and knee braces that are made of hard, unyielding material (unless covered on both sides and all edges overlapped), and any other hard substance that is covered with at least 1/2 inch of closed cell slow recovery rubber, or other material of similar thickness and physical properties.
- Towels attached to the player's waist (the center is the only player allowed to have a towel, which is considered part of the flag).
- An official timeout shall be declared to permit prompt repair of equipment that becomes illegal or defective through use (except for illegal shoes).
Periods, Time Factors, Substitutions
Captains Choice and Pinnies. The first team on the scoresheet shall be the home team, and the second team shall be the visitor's team. The visitor's team captain will have a choice of heads or tails during the coin flip. The team that wins the coin flip will have three (3) choices to choose from:
- Receive the ball
- Defer till the second half
Whichever team chooses from the three (3) options, the other team chooses the direction. If the team that wins the coin flip chooses to defer, the opposing team will select from "a or c," with the team winning the flip choosing the direction. At halftime, one team will choose from " a or c," and the opposing team will choose the direction.
Regular Season Games are played for a continuous 40 minutes, divided into two (2) halves of 20 minutes each. The intermission between halves shall be five (5) minutes. The Clock stops for the last two (2) minutes of each half, injuries, and the Officials' discretion. There will be a three (3) minute intermission when overtime is used.
- Shortened Periods. Before the start of the game, playing time may be shortened by mutual agreement of the Referee and Sports Administrator. Anytime during the game, the playing time of any remaining period(s) may be shortened by mutual agreement of the Referee and Sports Administrator.
- Extended Periods. A half may be extended by an untimed down when, during the last timed down, if one of the following occurs:
- If there is a foul by the defensive team.
- If there is a double foul.
- If there is an inadvertent whistle and the down is to be replayed.
- If a touchdown is scored, the try is attempted unless the touchdown is scored during the last down of the second half, and the point(s) would not affect the outcome of the game or playoff qualifying.
- Continuous Clock. The Clock will start when the offensive team snaps the ball. It will run continuously for the first 19 minutes unless it is stopped for:
- Team timeout (Clock resumes on the snap of the next play)
- Referee's Timeout (Clock resumes on official's ready-to-play whistle)
- 2–Minute Warning - Approximately two (2) minutes before the end of each half, the Referee shall stop the Clock and inform both captains of the remaining playing time. The referee will announce to the captains the remaining time and status of the Clock after every play during the final two (2) minutes.
- Stopped Clock - During the final two (2) minutes of each half, the Clock will stop for the following and resume on the snap of the next play unless otherwise noted:
- Incomplete Pass.
- Score (touchdown or safety).
- Team timeout.
- Fair catch.
- Penalty and administration.
- Referee's Timeout - starts at his/her discretion.
- Change of possession.
- A team attempts to conserve time illegally.
- Timing Errors. The Referee shall have the authority to correct obvious timing errors if discovery is prior to the second live ball following the error unless the period has officially ended.
- Tie Game. In case of a game ending in a tie score, the officials must bring all players and coaches of both teams to the center of the field. They will discuss the tiebreaker procedures and answer all questions prior to the coin toss. After this meeting, the field captains will stay while the remaining players and coaches return to their respective sidelines.
- A coin will be flipped, or an odd/even choice by the visiting team captain will determine the options as of the start of the game. The winner of the toss shall be given the options of offense, defense, or direction. The loser of the toss shall make a choice of the remaining options. Each overtime period will alternate who is on offense; the direction will not change.
- ALL OVERTIME PERIODS ARE PLAYED TOWARD THE SAME GOAL LINE.
- Unless moved by penalty, each team will start 1st and goal from the 20-yard line. The object will be to score a touchdown. An overtime period consists of one (1) series of downs. If the score is still tied after one period, they go to a second period or as many as needed to determine a winner. If the first team which is awarded the ball scores, the opponent still has a chance to win the game. If the defense intercepts the pass and returns it for a touchdown, they win the game. If they do not return the interception for a touchdown, the ball will belong to the defense, as the offense did not convert their chance. They must convert to win, or another period starts. Each team is entitled to one (1) timeout per overtime period.
- Penalties. The offense should be awarded a new series of four (4) downs when the penalty for defensive pass interference or roughing the passer is accepted. Dead ball fouls following a successful try will be penalized from the succeeding spot.
- Timeouts. Each team is entitled to one (1) charged Timeout per half.
Note: Timeouts do not carry over.
- The Referee shall declare Timeout when he/she suspends the play for any reason. Each Timeout shall be charged either to the Referee or one of the teams.
- The Referee shall declare an official's Timeout when a team is illegally conserving time and administer a 5-yard penalty.
- The Referee may declare an official's Timeout for any contingency not covered elsewhere by the Rules.
- Coach-Referee Conference. When a team requests a charged timeout for misapplication or misinterpretation of a rule, the Referee will confer with the Sports Administrator and team captain or coach. The request must be made prior to the time the ball becomes alive following the play to be reviewed unless the period has officially ended. At the end of the half, the team has until the first snap of the second half to protest.
- An injured or apparently injured player, who an official discovers while the ball is dead and the Clock is stopped, shall be replaced for at least one down unless the halftime or overtime intermission occurs. A player shall be considered injured if she/he is bleeding, has an open wound, or has blood on their uniform.
- Substitutions. No substitute shall enter during a down. All substitutions must enter the game during a dead ball.
- Illegal Participation.
- Having eight (8) or more players at the snap.
- To use a player, replace a player, or substitute in a substitution or pretended substitution to deceive opponents at or immediately.
- Disqualified player entering the game.
- When a player, replaced player, or substitute enters during a down.
- The quarterback throws a legal forward pass to a receiver, and the receiver steps on the sideline or out-of-bounds, return inbounds, and catches the pass.
Penalty: Illegal Participation, 10 yards from the previous spot.
- Delay of Game. The ball must be put in play promptly and legally, and any action or inaction by either team, which tends to prevent this, is a delay of the game. This includes:
- Failure to snap or free kick within 25 seconds after the ball is ready for play.
- Putting the ball in play before it is declared ready for play.
- Deliberately advancing the ball after it has been declared dead.
- Unfair Tactics. The Referee may order the game clock to start or stop whenever, in his/her opinion, either team is trying to conserve or consume playing time by tactics that are deemed unfair.
Penalty: Delay of Game, 5 yards from the previous spot.
Series of Downs, Number of Downs, & the Team Possession after Penalty
- Each team receives four (4) downs to pass the zone-line-to-gain or end zone.
- The zone line-to-gain in any series shall be the zone before the ball unless distance has been lost due to penalty or failure to gain. In such a case, the zone line-to-gain is the original zone in advance of the ball at the beginning of the series of downs. The most forward point of the ball, when declared dead between the goal lines, shall be the determining factor.
- A new series of downs shall be awarded when:
- A team moves the ball into the next zone on a play free from penalty.
- A penalty against the opponent moves the ball into the next zone.
- An accepted penalty against the opponents involves an automatic first down.
- Either team has obtained legal possession of a ball due to a penalty, free kick, protected scrimmage kick, touchback, pass interception, or failure to gain the zone before the ball.
- If offsetting fouls occur during a down, that down shall be repeated.
Exception: If each team fouls during a down in which there is a change of team possession, the team last gaining possession may retain the ball, provided its foul was not prior to the final change of possession, and it declines all penalties for its opponent's fouls, other than unsportsmanlike.
8. Kicking the Ball and Fair Catch
Protected Scrimmage Kick
- Before the start of each half, the receiving team will have 1st down on the 14-yard line with the gain line on the 20-yard line.
- Prior to making the ball ready for play on fourth down, the Referee must ask the offense if he/she wants a protected kick (punt). The Referee must communicate this decision to the defensive captain and the other officials.
- The offense must have all field players except the punter on the line of scrimmage. The defense must have at least three (3) players within one (1) yard of their scrimmage line. All players on the line of scrimmages must remain motionless until the kick is made. A line player may not raise his/her arms to distract the kicker or block the kick.
Penalty: Illegal Procedure, 5 yards from the previous spot.
- The kicker may take the snap directly from under the center. After receiving the snap, the kicker must back up five (5) yards and kick the ball immediately and continuously.
- Any kick caught by the kicking team behind the line of scrimmage cannot be advanced.
- It is illegal at any time for the receiving team to block the kicking team. The receiving team can stand in front of the kicking team or form a wedge without blocking.
Penalty: Illegal Blocking, 10 yards from the spot of the foul.
- The ball shall be dead and placed at the spot of the second bounce after making contact with the ground.
- Any receiver may signal for a fair catch while any kick is in flight and is beyond the kicker's free-kick line.
- If any receiver gives a valid signal for a fair catch and catches the kick beyond the kicker's line and between the goal lines, it is a fair catch, and the ball becomes dead.
- After a valid fair catch signal by any receiving team member, no receiver may advance the ball. The receiver may call for a fair catch when receiving a protected kick. The player must signal intention by extending one arm above his/her head and waving laterally from side to side more than once.
- An invalid fair catch signal is any signal by a receiver before the kick is caught or recovered that does not meet the requirements of a valid signal or after the kick has touched a receiver or the ground.
9. Snapping, Handling, Passing, Receiving, Running the Ball
Prior to the Snap
- Following the ready-for-play 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 his/her 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 Foul, Encroachment, 5 yards from the previous spot.
- After assuming the position for the snap and adjusting the ball, the snapper may neither move nor change the ball's position in a manner simulating the beginning of a play until it is snapped. An infraction of this provision may be penalized, whether or not the ball is snapped, and an opponent's penalty for any resultant encroachment or contact foul shall be canceled.
Position and Action during the Snap
- The offensive team must have at least three (3) players on their scrimmage line at the snap.
Penalty: Illegal Procedure, 5 yards from the previous spot
- All offensive players must be within 20 yards of the ball.
Penalty: Illegal Procedure, 5 yards from the previous spot
- One offensive player may be in motion but not in motion toward the opponent's goal line.
Penalty: Illegal Motion, 5 yards from the previous spot
- The player who receives the snap may take a direct snap from the center.
- In a snap preceded by a huddle or shift, all offensive players must come to a complete stop and remain stationary in legal position without movement of feet, body, head, and arms for at least one full second before the snap.
Penalty: Illegal Motion, 5 yards from the previous spot
Passing and Receiving
- There is no diving while running with the ball. A receiver may dive to catch a ball. A defensive player may dive to try to remove a flag.
- A runner may pass the ball backward except if intentionally thrown out-of-bounds to conserve time or to avoid being deflagged/tagged.
- 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 last team in possession unless lost on downs.
- A backward pass or fumble that goes out-of-bounds between the goal lines belongs to the team last in possession at the out-of-bounds spot. If out-of-bounds behind a goal line, it is a touchback or safety.
- If an offensive player fumbles the ball prior to reaching the end zone and the ball lands in the end zone, the offensive team shall retain possession at the spot of the fumble.
- All players are eligible to catch a pass.
- A forward pass is illegal:
- If the passer's foot is beyond the line of scrimmage.
- If intentionally thrown to the ground or out-of-bounds to save loss of yardage.
- If there is more than one forward pass per down.
- The line of scrimmage remains throughout the play. A team may advance the ball across the line of scrimmage by laterals or runs and then lateral the ball behind the line for a forward pass attempt.
- If a player attempts a catch or intercept while in the air, the player must contact the ground inbounds with the ball in his/her possession prior to touching out-of-bounds unless an opponent's contact causes him/her first to touch out-of-bounds.
- If one (1) foot first lands in bounds and the receiver has possession and control of the ball, it is a catch or interception, although a subsequent step or fall takes the receiver out-of-bounds.
- Losing the ball simultaneously with returning to the ground is not a catch or interception.
- While jumping in the air to attempt a catch, a player may pass (tip) the ball forward, provided he/she has not touched the ground yet.
Contact that interferes with an eligible receiver who is beyond the line of scrimmage is pass interference unless it occurs when two (2) or more eligible receivers make a simultaneous and bona fide attempt to reach, catch, or bat a pass. Additionally, it is pass interference if an eligible receiver is deflagged/tagged prior to touching the ball on a pass thrown beyond the line of scrimmage.
- Offensive Pass Interference - after the ball is snapped, and until any player has touched it, there shall be no offensive pass interference beyond the line of scrimmage.
Penalty: Offensive Pass Interference, 10 yards from the previous spot or result of the play
- Defensive Pass Interference - after the pass is thrown, and until any player has touched it, there shall be no defensive pass interference beyond the line of scrimmage while the ball is in flight.
Penalty: Defensive Pass Interference, 10 yards from the previous spot or result of the play
Roughing the Passer
Defensive players must make a definite effort to avoid charging into the passer after it is clear the ball has been thrown. Also, there should be no attempts to hit the player's arm during a throwing motion.
Penalty: Roughing the Passer, 10 yards, automatic first down.
Running and Flag Belt Removal
- Flag Belt Removal. When the flag belt is clearly taken from the runner in possession of the ball, the down shall end, and the ball is declared dead. A player who removes the flag belt from the runner should immediately hold the flag belt above his/her head to assist the official in locating the spot where the capture occurred.
- Players must have possession of the ball before they can legally be deflagged.
- Play continues when a runner loses his/her flag belt either accidentally, inadvertently (not removed by grabbing or pulling), or on purpose. The deflagging reverts to a one-hand tag of the runner between the shoulders and knees.
- When a flag belt is removed illegally, play should continue with the option of the penalty or the play.
- A defensive player intentionally pulling a flag belt from an offensive player without the ball is illegal. The official shall warn the team any further penalty will result in unsportsmanlike conduct.
- Tampering with the flag belt in any way to gain an advantage, including tying, using foreign materials, or other such acts, is illegal.
- A player may leave his/her feet when trying to remove the flag.
- Contact. In an attempt to remove the flag belt from a runner, defensive players may contact the body and shoulders, but not the face, neck, or any part of an opponent's head with their hands. A defensive player may not hold, push, or knock the runner down in an attempt to remove the flag belt.
Penalty: Defensive holding, 10 yards from spot.
- Flag Guarding. A runner 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. However, a player may use a spin move and must keep their arms away from their flag to avoid flag guarding.
Penalty: Flag guarding, 10 yards from the spot of the penalty.
- Face Guarding. A defensive player may not intentionally use their arms and hands to obstruct the receiver's view of the ball.
Penalty: Face guarding, 10 yards from the previous spot or result of the play.
- Stiff Arm. A runner shall be prohibited from contacting an opponent with an extended hand or arm, including using a "“stiff arm"” to flag guard.
Penalty: Stiff Arm, 10 yards from the spot of the penalty.
- Helping the runner. A player shall not grasp, pull, push, or aid any teammate runner.
Penalty: Helping the Runner, 5 yards from the spot of the penalty.
- Offense Blocking. The offensive blocking shall take place without hand contact. The blocker shall have his/her hands and arms behind their back or placed on their hips. Using the arms, elbows, legs, or body to initiate contact during an offensive block is illegal.
Penalty: Personal Foul, 10 yards from the spot of the penalty
- Interlock Blocking. Teammates of a runner or passer may interfere for him/her by screen blocking but shall not use interlocked interference by grasping or encircling one another in any manner.
- Defensive Rush and Use of Hands. Defensive players must attempt to go around the offensive blocker. Defensive players must not use any part of his/her arms, hands, elbows, or any part of the body to contact the offensive player.
Penalty: Personal Foul, 10 yards from the previous spot
10. Scoring Plays and Touchbacks
Mercy Rule (Only Applies to Youth Football)
- The game shall be officially called if a team is 36 or more points ahead with six (6) minutes to go in the second half.
- If a team scores during the last six (6) minutes of the second half and that score creates a point differential of 36 or more, the game shall end at that point.
- The game shall be officially called if a team is 24 or more points ahead with four (4) minutes to go in the second half.
- If a team scores during the last four (4) minutes of the second half and that score creates a point differential of 24 or more, the game shall end at that point.
- All touchdowns are six (6) points.
- A touchdown shall be scored when a legal forward pass is completed, the backward pass is caught behind the opponent's goal line, or when a player legally possesses the ball and penetrates the vertical plane of the opponent's goal line.
Extra Point Try = 1 or 2
- An opportunity to score one (1) point from the 3-yard line or two (2) points from the 10-yard line shall be granted to the team scoring a touchdown. While time is out, there shall be one scrimmage play unless changed by penalty.
- The Referee must speak to the field captain, asking him/her whether the try shall be from the 3-yard or 10-yard line. Once the scoring team makes their choice, he/she may change the decision only by taking a charged team timeout.
- The down shall be replayed if a double foul occurs during the down. When the offense incurs a distance penalty during a successful try, the down will be repeated if accepted. However, if the offense penalty carries a loss of down, the try has ended and will not be repeated.
Safety = 2 Points
- It is a safety when a runner carries the ball from the field of play to or across his/her own goal line, and it becomes dead there in his/her team's possession.
Exception: Momentum Rule
- Additionally, a safety is when an offensive player commits a foul for which the penalty is accepted, and the measurement is from the spot of the foul that is in the end zone.
- When a safety is scored, the defending team now becomes the kickoff-receiving team. The receiving team will have 1st down on the 20-yard line with the line of gain on the 40-yard line.
11. Conduct of Players and Others
- No player shall commit non-contact acts during a period or intermission. Examples include, but are not limited to:
- Any acts of unfair play.
- Using disconcerting acts or words prior to the snap in an attempt to interfere with the offense's signals or movements.
- Intentionally kicking at any opposing player.
- Intentionally swinging an arm, hand, or fist at any opposing player.
- Dead Ball Player Fouls
- Intentionally kicking the ball.
- Spike the ball into the ground.
- Throw the ball high into the air.
- Prohibited Acts. There shall be no unsportsmanlike conduct by players, substitutes, coaches, or others subject to the Rules. Examples include, but are not limited to:
- Attempting to influence a decision by an official.
- Disrespectfully addressing an official.
- Indicating objections to an official's decision.
- Holding an unauthorized conference or being on the field illegally.
- Using profanity, insulting, or vulgar language or gestures.
- Intentionally contacting a game official physically during the game by persons subject to the rules.
No player shall commit a personal foul during a period or an intermission. Any act prohibited hereunder or any other act of unnecessary roughness is a personal foul. No player shall:
- Punch, strike, strip, steal, or attempt to steal the ball from a player in possession.
- Trip an opponent.
- Contact an opponent who is on the ground.
- Throw the runner to the ground.
- Hurdle any other player.
- Contact an opponent either before or after the ball is declared dead.
- Make any contact with an opponent that is deemed unnecessary of any nature, including using fists, locked hands, elbows, or any part of the forearm or hand, except according to Flag Rules.
- Deliberately drive or run into a defensive player.
- Clip an opponent.
- Tackling the runner.
- A disqualified player is one who is barred from further participation in a game after receiving two (2) personal fouls or two (2) unsportsmanlike fouls.
- A team member who leaves the sideline area during a fight shall be disqualified and ejected.
- Officials shall notify the coach and then the player of any disqualification.
- When an official notifies the coach that a player is disqualified, that player becomes sideline personnel, except when the disqualified individual is ejected.
- A disqualified player shall be replaced within a 20-second time limit. A whistle shall be sounded both 15 seconds before the expiration of this time limit and at the end of the time limit, with the latter whistle indicating that play shall resume immediately.
- Ejection is the act of immediate dismissal of an individual from participation in a game because of a specific infraction of the rules. In addition to being disqualified, an individual who is ejected shall leave the playing field and facility as well.
- The following shall result in automatic ejection:
- Incurring the maximum number or combination of technical fouls (2). Participating in a fight.
- Leaving the bench area during a fight situation as bench personnel but not participating in the fight.
- Participating after having been disqualified for a reason other than ejection.
- All ejected personnel will serve at least one (1) game suspension.
12. Definitions of Playing Terms
- Catch. A catch is an act of establishing player possession of a live ball in flight.
- Clipping. Clipping is running or diving into the back, throwing or dropping the body across the back of an opponent's leg or legs of an opponent, or pushing an opponent in the back.
- Encroachment. Encroachment is a term used to indicate a defensive player is illegally in the neutral zone. An entering substitute is not considered to be a player for encroachment restrictions until he/she is on his/her team's side of the neutral zone.
- Fair Catch. A signal made by the receiving person of a punt in which the receiver cannot run after catching the ball, and the ball is immediately down when caught.
- Foul. A foul is a rule infraction for which a penalty is assessed.
- Fumble. A fumble is a loss of player possession other than by handing, passing, or kicking the ball.
- Goal Line. Each goal line is a vertical plane separating the end zone from the field of play. The plane of the goal extends beyond the sideline.
- Hurdling. Hurdling is an attempt by a player to jump with one or both feet or knees foremost over a player who is on his/her feet.
- Interception. An interception is a catch of an opponent's pass or fumble in flight.
- Live Ball. A pass or fumble, which has not yet touched the ground, is a live ball in flight and, therefore, can be caught and advanced by either team.
- Neutral Zone. The neutral zone is the area between the offensive and defensive line of scrimmage that has been established by the spot cone markers and extends to each sideline. It is established when the ball is ready for play.
- Pass (Forward and Backward) - A forward pass is a pass thrown with its initial direction toward the opponent's end line. A backward pass is a pass thrown with its initial direction parallel with or toward the passer's end line. A pass continues to be a pass until it is caught or strikes the ground. A backward pass that hits the ground is ruled the same as a fumble. It will be dead at the spot where it strikes the ground.
- Penalty. A penalty is a loss imposed by a rule upon a team that has committed a foul.
- Protective Scrimmage Kick. A punt in which prohibits either team from advancing beyond their scrimmage lines until the ball is kicked.
- Punting. A punt is kicking the ball by a player who drops it and kicks it before it hits the ground.
- Screen Blocking. Screen Blocking is when a player legally obstructs an opponent without initiating contact with him/her with any part of the screen blocker's body.
- Tagging. Tagging is placing one hand anywhere between the shoulders and knees of an opponent with the ball. The tagger may leave his/her feet to make the tag. Pushing, striking, slapping, and holding are not permitted. If a player trips the runner in his/her attempt to make a diving tag, it is a penalty.
- Tripping. Tripping is the use of the lower leg or foot to obstruct an opponent, including the runner, below the knee.
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