Flag Football Rules

LEAGUE POLICIES

TEAM ROSTERS:

There is no maximum number of players allowed on a team’s roster provided all players have signed the Team Roster and Waiver Form.  It is the responsibility of all team captains to ensure players are in compliance with this policy.  Teams have up until the third week of the season to make changes to their roster.  After the third week, rosters will be frozen.  Roster changes that require additional T-Shirts will be subject to availability.  All roster changes must be communicated to and approved by the league office.

WAIVERS:

To be eligible to participate in the league, each player must sign the team waiver form. Waivers can be downloaded by clicking here. Captains are required to turn in completed waiver forms to an SSC Coordinator prior to their first game.  Players not present for their team’s first game must still submit a signed waiver form prior to participating.

Players that register individually agree to the waiver policy electronically, so there is no need to submit a separate waiver form.

PLAYER RESTRICTIONS:

All SSC participants must be 21 years of age or older prior to their first scheduled game.

Players that have participated in Division 1 Collegiate or Professional sports must be a minimum of two years removed from participation to be eligible to play in a similar SSC sport.

Players may only be on one roster for any given sport on a given night, regardless of if multiple divisions are offered.  Violation of this rule may result in game forfeiture by both teams.

The SSC reserves the right to request a photo ID from any player at any time for any reason.

Roster checks will be performed by an SSC Gameday Coordinator at the request of the challenging team.  Only individual players may be challenged.  Entire teams may not be challenged.  The challenging team must provide legitimate reasons for submitting a roster check request.  Challenging teams must report their intention to initiate a roster check to an SSC Official as soon as possible to ensure the preservation of playing time.   Teams lose the ability to challenge a player’s eligibility at halftime, except in the case of a late-arriving player.

DYNASTY RULE:

Everyone loves a little competition, but one team dominating a league season after season can spoil the fun for everybody.

If a team retaining more than six players has won three championships in consecutive seasons for which they have been registered, the SSC will have the option to, in its discretion, request that team to form two or more separate teams to promote parity in the league or withdraw their registration. That team will then have the opportunity to form two separate teams with each subsequent roster approved by the SSC.

SPORTSMANSHIP:

We are all adults, and the SSC expects all participants to act like it. Unsportsmanlike behavior may result in that player being ejected from the game. An ejection may result in further suspension from participation in current and/or future SSC sports and events. Ejected players are required to leave the playing area immediately.  Refusal to leave the playing area may result in a team forfeit and/or further suspension.

OVERLY COMPETITIVE PLAYERS:

All SSC sports are intended to be recreational. Any player who is deemed to be excessively competitive and/or overly aggressive may be removed from competition at the discretion of an SSC staff member.

UNIFORMS:

SSC T-Shirts are your team’s uniforms.  All players must wear the appropriate color uniform with the current SSC front logo to participate.  Past season’s uniforms are not permitted, even if they are the correct color.  Any player not wearing the appropriate uniform will be sidelined for that game.

The SSC T-Shirt must be worn on the outside of any jacket or sweatshirt worn during play.

UNIFORM ALTERATIONS:

Players are permitted to modify their uniforms in any way provided they do not cover up or obscure any of the logos printed on the shirts.

FORFEITS:

If a team is short the minimum number of players to play a regulation game, the game will be ruled a forfeit.

FORFEIT FINES:

If the forfeiting team is short the minimum number of players to play an exhibition game, a $50 forfeit fine will be assessed. This fine is transferred in full in the form of a gift card or voucher to the offended team who showed up with no game to play. Provided the fine is paid on time, the offended team can collect the forfeit fine from an SSC Coordinator the following week.

Forfeit fines must be paid prior to the end of the offending team’s next scheduled game.  Payment can be made to an SSC Coordinator by either cash or check made payable to “Austin SSC”. Unpaid forfeit fines may result in additional forfeits and/or suspension from the league.  Teams with outstanding fines from past seasons will be barred from future registration in any SSC sport or event until they are paid in full.

If game forfeiture notice is submitted to the SSC via email (info@austinssc.com) by 5:00 PM on the preceding day (Friday for weekend games), no forfeit fine will be assessed.

The minimum number of players to play an officiated exhibition game, and avoid the forfeit fine, is four.

DIVISION PREFERENCE:

Whenever possible, the SSC will separate divisions based on playing experience and/or ability. In the event multiple divisions are not possible, all players will be placed into a single division.

Division placement for all teams will be at the sole discretion of the SSC.

Any team that wins a super social championship will automatically be placed in the social division for the next season in which they participate.  Top finishers from the previous season may also be moved up at the discretion of the SSC.

Any player, or team based on the majority of their players, that is determined to be in the incorrect division may, at any point during the season, be asked to switch divisions at the discretion of the SSC.

PLAYOFFS:

Whenever possible, the SSC will hold a single-elimination playoff tournament after the regular season has concluded.  The number of teams to advance to this playoff tournament will vary from season to season based on team records and available venue space.  The playoff tournament may be held on a day and time other than the normal day and time of regular season games.

GAME RESCHEDULING POLICY:

In the event of inclement weather or any other event that causes games to be postponed, the SSC will make every effort to reschedule all games. In the event of multiple cancellations, the SSC reserves the option to shorten the regular season and/or the play-off schedule. Make-up games may be scheduled on days other than the regularly scheduled days of the week. Neither refunds nor pro-rated refunds will be given if the season is shortened due to inclement weather or due to actions taken by the venue.

VENUE POLICIES

BEVERAGES AT FIELDS:

Visible alcoholic beverages and glass containers are not permitted in Travis County Parks. Any alcohol must be in an opaque plastic cup. This also includes carrying a 12-pack or case of beer uncovered to the field. Everything must be in a cooler or backpack at all times. Beverages may be consumed in the dugout, common area, and coach’s boxes, but not on the field of play itself. All players are responsible for removing all trash from team areas and the parking lot before leaving the park.

All Austin SSC participants, officials, and staff share the responsibility to leave all Travis County Park venues in a clean, trash-free condition.

GAMEPLAY RULES

RULE CHANGES EFFECTIVE 9/9/2014

Face Guarding is now considered Pass Interference (see Passing section).

Grounding the ball to stop the clock by a female QB is no longer considered Illegal Gender Defense, however this act will not reset the gender count.

Offensive Pass Interference is no longer a Loss of Down.

Defensive Pass Interference is no longer an Automatic First Down.

15-yard penalties have been removed.  10 yards is now the maximum penalty yardage for any single foul.  Multiple fouls can still be called, such as in the case of unsportsmanlike conduct, that result in a total penalty assessment greater than 10 yards.

Approved sunglasses are now permitted during play.  Frames that contain metal or glass should are discouraged.  The Head Judge shall be the sole determiner of the legality of any sunglasses worn by players.

PLAYING AREA:

Fields used for SSC Football are approximately 40 yards wide and 100 yards long.  The field is divided into four 20-yard line to gain zones and two 10-yard end zones.

OFFICIALS:

The SSC will provide officials for all games.  Excessive arguing with officials will not be tolerated.

EQUIPMENT:
The SSC will provide all field equipment and flag belts.  Players may use their own flag belts if approved by an SSC official.

Each team is responsible for providing their own football for use while they are on offense.  Balls must be regulation collegiate or NFL size.  Balls that are severely underinflated or undersized are not permitted.

***POCKETS ARE NOT ALLOWED!***

Shorts and pants with pockets pose a significant safety concern and are thus not permitted in any SSC Flag Football League or Tournament.  Taping down pockets or turning inside out does not make shorts or pants legal for play.

At their own risk, players may wear sunglasses made of a pliable, non-rigid material.

The following items are not permitted:

  • Shorts or pants with pockets
  • Shoes with metal or ceramic cleats
  • Athletic braces or casts made from hard, unyielding material (unless covered on all sides and edges with at least ½ inch of closed cell slow recovery rubber or similar material)
  • Headgear containing hard, unyielding, or stiff material (including billed hats)
  • Sunglasses made from any hard, unyielding material.
  • Jewelry (except for smooth wedding bands and stud earrings)

PLAYING ROSTER:

The maximum numbers of players on the field is eight.  The minimum number of players is six.  The maximum number of males is five.  The minimum number of females is two.

If a team is short the minimum number of players by game time, the game will be considered a forfeit and an exhibition played.

In the event of a recognized or otherwise reported event that causes a significant traffic delay to multiple teams, SSC officials will, in their sole discretion, allow an additional five minutes for players to arrive.

FORMAT:

Each game consists of two 22-minute halves separated by a three-minute halftime intermission.  Regular season games may end in a tie.

Possession and direction shall be determined by Rock, Paper, Scissors prior to the beginning of the game.  The winning captain will have the option of choosing possession or direction for the first half or to defer that option to the second half.  The other captain will have the remaining option.

Once the second half is underway, the game shall be considered final if cancelled for any reason.

The clock shall run continuously until the final two minutes of the second half.  During this time, the clock will only stop for a time-out or injury.

During the final two minutes of the second half, the clock will stop for the following:

  • A team or official time-out
  • Runner steps out-of-bounds before being deflagged
  • Incomplete Pass
  • Injury
  • Turnover
  • Penalty Enforcement
  • Touchdown (clock remains stopped during the try)

The clock will not stop for first downs or when a runner is deflagged in-bounds.

If, during the final two minutes of the second half, one team maintains a scoring advantage of 19 points or more, the clock will continue run, stopping only for a time-out.  In this situation, only the trailing team or an official may call a time-out.

READY FOR PLAY:

Prior to any offensive down, the referee will declare the line of scrimmage and mark the ball ready for play by announcing the down, zone-line-to-gain, and gender status.  Once the ball has been made ready for play, the offense shall have 25 seconds to legally snap the ball.  The offense shall not snap the ball prior to it being made ready for play.

On a change of possession, the referee will not make the ball ready for play until the defense has had an opportunity to get set (15-seconds maximum).

EXTENSION OF PERIOD:

A half may be extended by an untimed down if any of the following occurs as time expires:

  • A foul for which there was an accepted penalty by either team, except that which calls for a loss of down
  • A double foul (offsetting penalties)
  • A touchdown (The try will be attempted unless in the second half of a playoff game when the points do not affect the outcome.)

TIME-OUTS:

Each team is entitled to two one-minute time-outs per game.

If an injury occurs for which the clock is stopped, that player must leave the game for at least one scrimmage down.

SCORING:

The following point values are awarded in SSC Flag Football:

  • Touchdown:  six points (seven points for female to female touchdowns)
  • Safety:  two points
  • Try:  one point if from the five yard line; two points if from the ten yard line
  • Intercepted try returned for touchdown:  two points (regardless of the initial attempted value)

After a touchdown, the offense shall declare their attempted try value to the referee. Once this declaration is made, it can only be changed if no attempt has been made and that team calls a time-out.

In the case of a safety, the scoring team will next put the ball in play from its own ten yard line, unless moved by penalty.

LINE OF SCRIMMAGE:

Except in the case of a penalty or turnover, teams shall begin each possession at their own ten yard line.

At the snap, no offensive players may be within five yards of either sideline.  At least five offensive players must be on the line of scrimmage.

If a snap count is used, whether verbally or nonverbally, only the player that initiates the count may receive the snap.

The offense is allowed to have a single player in motion at the snap.  The player may only move parallel to or away from the line of scrimmage.  This player may not receive the snap directly from the center.  All other players must be stationary for at least one second prior to the ball being snapped.

No defensive players may cross the line of scrimmage until the referee’s five-second count has elapsed.

END OF RUN:

Once a runner has been legally deflagged, the new line of scrimmage shall be determined by the position of the ball when the action to remove the flags occurred.

If a runner’s flags fall off on their own, the runner will remain live until he or she has been touched with at least one hand between the shoulders and the knees.

Fumbles become dead immediately and cannot be recovered.  If fumbled backward, the line of scrimmage on the ensuing down will be the point where the ball first touched the ground.  If fumbled forward, the line of scrimmage on the ensuing down will be the point where the ball was fumbled.

PASSING:

A forward pass is completed or intercepted when the first part of the receiver to make contact with the playing area after the catch, usually one foot, touches inbounds.

If a player steps out-of-bounds, that player becomes ineligible to touch the ball unless first touched by any other player.

An offensive player may advance the ball across the line of scrimmage if:

  • the offensive series has not yet crossed midfield.
  • the defense crosses the line of scrimmage, whether legally or illegally.
  • the player did not receive the snap.

An offensive player may not advance the ball across the line of scrimmage if:

  • the offensive series has crossed midfield, the defense has not yet crossed the line of scrimmage, and the player received the snap.
  • it is a gender play and that player is male.

Jumping or hurdling over players is not permitted unless absolutely necessary to avoid contact.

Diving is not permitted by a ball carrier in an attempt to gain yardage or otherwise avoid being deflagged.

Turnovers can only occur in the case of an interception, punt, or if the offense fails to advance to the next zone line-to-gain in four or fewer downs.

The following constitutes Pass Interference:

  • Contact beyond the line of scrimmage with an eligible receiver during a legal forward pass unless two or more eligible receivers make a simultaneous and bona fide attempt to reach, catch, or bat a pass.
  • Hindering an opponent’s vision without making an attempt to catch, intercept, or bat the ball, even though no contact is made (also known as “Face Guarding”).  Note:  The player must place one or both hands in front of the opponent’s face or wave their hands or arms near the opponent’s face.
  • An eligible receiver is deflagged or tagged prior to touching a forward pass beyond the line of scrimmage.

FIRST DOWNS:
First downs are awarded when a team advances the ball to the next zone line-to-gain in four downs or less (except if affected by a penalty), as prescribed by penalty enforcement, or either team obtains legal possession following a punt, penalty, score, or turnover.

FOURTH DOWN AND PUNTS:
On fourth down, the offensive team must declare their intention to punt the ball or attempt to advance to the next zone line-to-gain.  After this declaration, the referee will not make the ball ready for play until the defense has had a reasonable opportunity to get set.  Once the defense has set, the offense may not change their declaration unless they call a time-out.

The defense must have five players on the line of scrimmage throughout the return.  Remaining players may drop back to receive the punt.  If the returner advances past the original line of scrimmage, players originally on the line may trail the runner to receive a backward pass.

The punt may be played off of a bounce if there are no other punting team players in the area.  However, the ball becomes dead immediately if it hits the ground after touching any player.

Fake punts are not permitted.  Punt blocks are not permitted.

BLOCKING AND CONTACT:
The following is not permitted in SSC Flag Football:

  • Blocking (either at the line or in front of the ball carrier)
  • Screen Blocking (Running in front of the ball carrier)
  • “Chucking”, “Bump and Run” and any other contact at the line
  • Excessive Contact

All players must attempt to avoid contact at all times.

CO-ED PLAY:

The referee will declare the gender status prior to each play.

Teams must use a female as an operative player within three consecutive downs.

To be considered operative, a player must:

  • have been targeted for an attempted forward pass
  • attempt a forward pass that crosses the line of scrimmage
  • receive a forward pass that crosses the line of scrimmage
  • receive the snap and run the ball, regardless of whether or not positive yards are gained

If a female has not acted as an operative player after two consecutive downs, the succeeding down shall be a gender play.

Any other play, and all extra point attempts, shall be considered open.

The gender count shall reset once a female has been used as an operative player or after a change of possession has occurred.

OFFENSE DURING GENDER PLAY:

The offense must declare who will receive the snap on a gender play.  Only that player may attempt a forward pass or, as allowed by rule, advance the ball across the line of scrimmage.  The referee will not make the ball ready for play until the defense has had a reasonable opportunity to get set.

Handoffs and backward passes are not permitted during gender plays.

If the ball is grounded to stop the clock on a gender play, the ensuing down will remain a gender play, regardless of who received the snap.

If a male is in position to receive the snap on a gender play:

  • All other offensive males must remain stationary until the ball has crossed the line of scrimmage.
  • Once the ball has crossed the line of scrimmage, any offensive player may trail the runner in order to receive a backward pass.
  • If the snap is fumbled or the quarterback is sacked, the ensuing down will remain a gender play.

If a female is in position to receive the snap on a gender play:

  • All offensive players are permitted to participate as if the status of the play was open.
  • If the snap is fumbled or the quarterback is sacked, the gender count shall reset and the ensuing down will be an open play.

The following shall reset the gender count:

  • A female is determined by an official to be the intended target of a legal forward pass that crosses the line of scrimmage.
  • A female catches a legal forward pass that crosses the line of scrimmage.
  • A female receives the snap and attempts a legal forward pass that crosses the line of scrimmage.
  • A female receives the snap and advances the ball across the line of scrimmage.
  • The offense accepts the penalty for an Illegal Gender Defense foul, but declines the yardage.

The following shall not reset the gender count:

  • A female snaps the ball to a male player.
  • A female not in position to receive the snap advances the ball across the line of scrimmage.
  • A quarterback intentionally throws the ball to the ground near a receiver without a reasonable expectation of a reception.
  • A forward pass is deflected by a stationary defensive male during a gender play.

The following shall be considered Illegal Gender Offense:

  • A male receives the snap and advances the ball across the line of scrimmage.
  • Any male offensive player leaves the line of scrimmage prior to a legal forward pass crossing the line of scrimmage.
  • A player not receiving the snap attempts a forward pass.
  • A male player receives the snap and intentionally throws the ball to the ground near a female receiver without a reasonable expectation of a reception.

If a male quarterback intentionally throws a pass into a defensive player in an obvious attempt to draw a penalty, an Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalty will be assessed against the quarterback.

DEFENSE DURING GENDER PLAY:

If a male is in position to receive the snap on a gender play:

  • The defense must declare only one player to guard the quarterback.  This player may move laterally across the line of scrimmage with the quarterback until the five-second count has elapsed, after which the player may cross the line of scrimmage only in an attempt to deflag the quarterback.
  • All other male defensive players must individually line up against male offensive players and remain stationary with their arms down until the ball has crossed the line of scrimmage.
  • Except where allowed by rule, male defensive players may not touch a forward pass until it is first touched by a female offensive player.
  • An interception is only possible if a forward pass is first contacted by a female offensive player and caught by a male defensive player who was originally restricted to the line of scrimmage during the play.

If a female is in position to receive the snap on a gender play:

  • All defensive players are permitted to participate as if the status of the play was open.

The following shall be considered Illegal Gender Defense:

  • A male defensive player makes contact with a legal forward pass unless first deflected by a female offensive player.
  • Any male defensive player leaves the line of scrimmage prior to a legal forward pass crossing the line of scrimmage.
  • A male defensive player does not allow a female offensive player reasonable opportunity to catch a forward pass except where allowed by rule.

UNEVEN RATIOS ON GENDER PLAYS:

The following situations assume a male quarterback during a gender play.

Two female offensive players; three female defensive players:

  • The defense may use all female players to guard the female offensive players .
  • Four or more female offensive players; three female defensive players:
  • A male defensive player may cover an additional female offensive player one-on-one without a cushion.  The male may make contact with a pass intended for his receiver only, but an interception will result in an incomplete pass.

Three offensive female players; two defensive female players:

  • A male defensive player may cover a female offensive player one-on-one with a three yard cushion and must allow a reasonable opportunity to catch a pass.
  • If a female offensive player first contacts the ball and it is subsequently recovered by a defensive male in coverage, the result will be an incomplete pass.
  • Three offensive female players; four or more defensive female players:
  • The additional female defensive players must individually lien up against a male offensive player and remain stationary with her arms down until the ball has crossed the line of scrimmage.

 SUMMARY OF FOULS AND PENALTIES:

Any penalty may be declined.  Unless otherwise noted, acceptance of a penalty does not change the gender status.

 SSC Flag Football Penalty Table

OVERTIME (PLAYOFFS ONLY):

If at the end of regulation both teams are tied, the game will proceed into overtime.

Overtime periods are untimed.  The game is over when the tie is broken at the conclusion of an overtime period.

Scoring rules do not change in overtime periods.  Gender rules do not change in overtime period.

Prior to the first overtime period, both team captains will play Rock, Paper, Scissors.  The winning captain will have the option of choosing possession or which side of the field the overtime periods will take place.  The other captain will have the remaining option.

Each team will have the opportunity to score from the opposing team’s 20 yard line in four or fewer downs, unless affected by penalty.

If a pass is intercepted in overtime, the ball becomes dead and the defense will begin its possession from the 20 yard line.

Teams will change the order of possession after each overtime period.

Starting with the third overtime period, any team that scores a touchdown must attempt a two point conversion on the try.

Any rules not specifically mentioned here follow those set forth by NIRSA governing co-rec play.

PLAYOFF TIEBREAKERS:

1. Head to Head (3 or more clubs: best won-lost-tied percentage in games among the clubs.)
2. Strength of Schedule
3. Record vs. Common Opponents
4. Points against
5. Point differential

Print a copy of the SSC Flag Football Rules