The game consists of four quarters of 15 plays each, with teams switching sides each quarter. Teams will have five downs to score a touchdown.
The field of play is a rectangular level surface with dimension of 90 yards by 40 yards in width. There is one midfield stripe (free kick receiving line), two stripes at the 17.5-yard (free kick line), and two stripes at the 10-yard mark (goal lines).
The designated “away” team shall call heads or tails for a coin toss to determine starting offense and defense. The winner of the coin toss shall decide between starting on offense, defense, or choosing the goal to defend. The other team may select whichever option the winner of the coin toss did not select. At the start of the second half, the team which started on defense in the first half will start on offense. Teams change goals at the end of the first and third quarters.
There are six players on each team along with unlimited substitutes. Four players may start a game and late-arriving players must be entered on the score sheet before joining play. A maximum of four players of either gender are permitted on the field, with a minimum of two players per gender. Substitutions are permitted at any stoppage of play. An offensive and defensive captain for each team should be identified prior to the start of play and are the only players permitted to discuss with the officials matters pertaining to the match
All undergraduate students and persons officially associated with a residential college who meet general eligibility requirements except former varsity football award winners, current varsity, or junior varsity football team players are eligible to participate. Current players are those players who practiced, played or are on the active team rosters after September 25. Any instances involving special exceptions require a review by the Athletic Secretaries Ad Hoc Eligibility Committee or the Head IM Secretary and the Director of Intramurals.
Teams are expected to be at the fields and ready to begin play at the time designated on the schedule. If at the starting time a team has the minimum number of players, then the game must begin as soon as possible. If a team has fewer than the minimum at the designated starting time, then the start of the game will be delayed until enough players arrive. However, if the late team does not have the minimum number of players up to 15 minutes after the original starting time, then the game is reduced by 15 plays, and seven points are awarded to the opposing team along with possession of the ball at their twenty-yard line. If at 30 minutes past the scheduled starting time the team does not have the minimum number of players, then the game is forfeited.
A belt with three flags will be provided for each player on the field. Each member of the team must wear the same color as the rest of the team. The belt must be fastened so the Velcro on the belt is facing away from the body. The entire belt must be above any and all clothing (shirts must be tucked under the belt), and should be snug around the waist to prevent the flags from moving. The flags should be worn at the sides of the player, over the hip, and should hang loosely from the belt. It is the player’s responsibility to comply with this rule. Players should avoid wearing loose clothing or clothing with pockets if at all possible, as this increases the chances of clothing being ripped.
DEFINITIONS AND RULES
Catch: The act of establishing possession of a live ball in flight. A catch is complete when the receiver has possession of the ball and one foot in bounds.
Defense: The team defending against a score.
Down: A single play by the team in possession of the ball. It starts with a snap from center and ends when the ball becomes dead.
Downed: A player with the ball is downed when their flag has been pulled, steps out of bounds or touches a knee to the ground NOTE: A non-ball carrier with a flag or belt that has fallen off without being touched will be still be eligible if the flag is immediately picked up by that player and reattached without stopping play.
Fumble: Inadvertent loss of the ball by the player in possession. The ball is dead immediately upon contact with the ground and remains in the possession of the team which dropped it. If the fumble occurs at the snap, behind the passer or behind the line of scrimmage then the next play starts at the spot where the ball hit the ground. If the fumble occurs beyond the passer then the next play starts at the spot where possession was lost. A fumble in the offensive team’s end zone is a safety. A kick or punt that contacts the ground before being possessed by the receiving team is not a fumble and may be advanced by the receivers. A kick or punt that contacts the ground and is recovered by the kicking team must be whistled dead and possession is given to the receiving team at the spot where the ball was first touched by the kickers.
Huddle: Players grouped together usually for receiving instructions for the next play.
Interception: When the defensive player gains possession of a pass. The defensive team may move the ball forward using runs and forward or backward passes and laterals.
Kickoff: A free kick or punt that follows a score. The kicking team may down the ball to stop play, however, the receiving team gains possession. The receiving team may move the ball forward using runs or backward passes, but, may not pass the ball forward. If a kickoff goes out of bounds before it is touched, the receiving team has the option to accept the ball where it left the playing field or request a re-kick from the original line of scrimmage.
Line of Scrimmage: The unmarked yard line that passes through the point of the ball and designates the spot where the play begins. The offensive team must place at least three players on the line of scrimmage prior to the snap of the ball. The Center may straddle the line to snap the ball.
Motion: Offensive players moving before the snap of the ball. Players can be in motion behind the line of scrimmage so long as three players are set and on the line of scrimmage before the snap of the ball. Only one player may be in motion at a time and may not move towards the line of scrimmage.
Muff: A misplay of a kick-off or punt when the receiver contacts the ball but does not gain full possession. A muff is not a fumble therefore if it hits the ground a receiver may regain possession to advance or the kicking team may down the ball and the receivers start their series at that spot. A muff by the receivers in their end zone may be advanced to the field of play or may be downed with play starting at the twenty. A muff recovered by the kickers in the receiver’s end zone is a safety.
Offense: The team in control of the ball with the intent of scoring.
Overtime: If the scored is tied after regulation then each team gets an equal number of play series from the midfield line to score. When the team going first scores a touchdown they must also attempt an extra point try, then, the opponents get their play series to attempt to tie the score. First possession is determined by a coin flip. Any fumble, interception or defensive score ends the series.
Pass: A live ball thrown forward from behind the line of scrimmage, overhand or underhand to another player. No more than one pass is allowed per play.
Lateral: A live ball thrown backward or directly horizontal, overhand or underhand to another player. An incomplete lateral is to be considered a fumble. There are no limits on the quantity of lateral passes per play.
Play: The ball is put in play at the middle of the field at the spot where: the ball was downed by the kicking team; the ball carrier’s flag was pulled; an incomplete pass thrown providing it is beyond the line of scrimmage; the ball or ball carrier went out of bounds; the ball carrier touches a knee to the ground; or, an incomplete backward pass hits the ground. Once dead the ball may not be put back in play until the official declares it ready for play and sounds a whistle. It then must be put in play within twenty seconds to avoid a delay of game penalty.
Play the Whistle: When an official blows their whistle, the ball and play are dead. Failure to comply will result in a penalty.
Possession: The moment when a player holds or controls the ball.
Punt: A punt may be used on the fifth down and denotes a change of possession. The defense may not rush the punter but may place players on the line of scrimmage who may attempt to block the punt. The receiving team may move the ball forward using runs or backward passes, but, may not pass the ball forward.
Release: The moment when the ball ceases contact with hands during a hand-off or pass. A play is ended and spotted at the point of contact when the thrower’s flag is pulled before the ball is released from the hand.
Rushing: Defensive players must wait three seconds, counted out loud by the official, ONE-ONE THOUSAND, TWO-ONE THOUSAND, THREE-ONE THOUSAND, GO! before crossing the line of scrimmage. However, the rusher must attempt to avoid contact with the screener. If the ball is passed, handed off, or lateraled, the official should immediately yell GO regardless of the count. Initiating direct contact with players without the ball is illegal.
Safety: When an offensive play concludes in the defensive team’s end zone or when an offensive penalty is committed in their own end zone. The defensive team is awarded two points. Following a safety, the offensive team (having just yielded points), must put the ball into play from its own twenty-yard line by a free kick.
Snap: A quick, continuous backward motion from the ground by which the ball is handed or lateraled from the line of scrimmage to a player in the backfield to begin the play.
Stop: The down is stopped when: the ball carrier’s flag has been pulled; an incomplete pass touches the ground; the ball or ball carrier goes out of bounds; the ball carrier or receiver touches a knee to the ground; a team scores; the ball is fumbled; or, the official’s whistle is sounded.
Touchback: When the ball becomes dead in an end zone after a change of possession kick or an interception. The defending team takes over the ball at the twenty-yard line.
Touchdown: When a player in possession of the ball penetrates the opponent’s goal line. The value of a touchdown is six points.
Extra Point: The Extra Point is an opportunity for a team after scoring a touchdown. The team has the option of going for one or two points with the ball placed at the three- or ten-yard line respectively. Once the decision is transmitted by the offensive captain to the official, the decision cannot be changed.
Blocking: Loss of 10 yards. An offensive player purposefully getting or staying in the way of a defensive player. However, if the offensive player makes an immediate attempt to get out of the way the block is to be considered incidental and not penalized. Play is allowed to continue. Accepted penalty will be assessed from the spot of the foul.
Contact: Loss of 10 yards. An attempt to block or move an opponent involving the use of hands, arms, legs or head. Play is allowed to continue. Accepted penalty will be assessed from the spot of the foul.
Defensive Pass Interference: Spot of the Foul Penalty. When a defensive player contacts an offensive player attempting to catch a catchable pass. If the pass in uncatchable, the Contact penalty shall be assessed. Play is allowed to continue until the ball is dead.
Delay of Game: Loss of 5 yards. When a team fails to start a play within the twenty second limit. Penalty is assessed from the previous spot.
Encroachment: Loss of 10 yards. When a defensive player crosses the line of scrimmage before the snap of the ball AND contacts an offensive player. The play is immediately stopped.
Flag Guard: Loss of 5 yards from the spot of the infraction. When a ball carrier uses their hands, legs, or feet in an attempt to avoid their flag from being pulled. The play is immediately stopped.
Offsides: Loss of 5 yards. When a defensive player crosses the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped WITHOUT touching an offensive player. The play is immediately stopped.
Offensive Pass Interference: Loss of 10 yards from the previous spot or 10 yards from the end of the play, whichever is more advantageous to the offended team. When an offensive player contacts a defensive player attempting to catch a catchable pass. If the pass is uncatchable, the Contact penalty shall be assessed. Play is allowed to continue until the ball is dead. Penalty is assessed from the previous spot.
Playing After the Whistle: No play after the whistle will be counted. The ball will be returned to the spot of the ball when the whistle was blown.
False Start: Loss of 5 yards. When an offensive player makes a move in the forward direction towards the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped. The play is immediately stopped.
Rough Flag Pull: Loss of 10 yards. When a defensive player uses, by the official’s judgement, unnecessary force or aggressiveness at an attempt to or to pull the flag of another player. Play is allowed to continue. Accepted penalty will be assessed from the spot of the foul.
Unsportsmanlike Conduct: Loss of 15 yards. Certain behavior deemed inappropriate by the referee. Examples of this behavior include: persistent infringement of the rules; foul or abusive language; violent or dangerous actions; and/or serious foul play. When a player is ejected he/she is indefinitely suspended from all intramural sports and may be reinstated only after a hearing with the Intramural Director and Head IM Secretary or an Ad Hoc Disciplinary Committee.
Illegal Set: Loss of 5 yards. When the offense snaps the ball with less than three players on the line of scrimmage. The play is immediately stopped.
Loss of 5 yards: The play is immediately called dead by the official and the ball is moved back towards the offensive team’s end zone five yards from the previous spot except in the case of flag guarding, which is assessed from the point of the infraction. Penalties shall include: Delay of game; offsides; false start; and illegal set.
Loss of 10 Yards: The official notes the time of incident and discusses the options with the team captain at the conclusion of the play following the infraction. If the penalty is accepted, then it is assessed from the point of the infraction except in the case of offensive pass interference, which is assessed from the previous spot or 10 yards from the end of the play, whichever is more advantageous to the offended team. Penalties shall include: Blocking; contact; offensive pass interference; and rough flag pull.
Loss of 15 Yards: The official may determine that the actions of a player or team are inappropriate or overly aggressive and are cause for a personal foul. The penalty is assessed from the previous spot, the spot where the play ended, or the spot where the infraction occurred, whichever is more advantageous to the offended team.
Spot of the Foul Penalty: The offended team is awarded the ball at the spot of the foul or fifteen yards from the previous spot, whichever is more advantageous. Penalties shall include: Defensive pass interference.
Offensive Penalty in the End Zone: If the offense commits a penalty in their own end zone, the defensive team is awarded a safety.
Defensive Penalty in the End Zone: If the defense commits a penalty in their own end zone, the standard penalty yards are to be used UNLESS, the offensive team is within that distance to the goal, then the ball is placed at the 1-yard line.
Disqualification: When a player is ejected from the game by an official they must immediately leave the field, then the team is penalized by losing any progress made on the previous play with a 15-yard penalty and must play shorthanded for the remainder of the game.