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Campus Recreation

Flag Football

The University of Southern Mississippi

Intramural Sports Program

Flag Football


All Intramural participants are responsible for their own medical expenses. Any participant unsure of his/her physical condition should check with their physician or the University Clinic before participating in an Intramural Sports contest.

Teams are responsible for keeping their spectators under control. Misconduct of participants, coaches or spectators can result in an unsportsmanlike penalty, ejection or forfeiture of the game. Team Captains will be held responsible for spectator, team and sideline misconduct.  Two ejections from any contest will result in an automatic forfeiture.

Intramural Officials are in absolute control of the game.  Officials and Supervisors shall have the power to make decisions on all matters and questions not specifically covered in the rules.


Eligibility and Roster Information

A current Southern Miss I.D. must be presented to the supervisor at game time.       


Teams must have a minimum of 5 players to start a game.  7 players shall play in the field. 

Forfeit Policy

If a team fails to appear with the required minimum number of players, ready to play, at the scheduled location at the scheduled start of the game, a member of the Intramural Sports Staff will declare the contest a forfeit.  Teams that forfeit will receive an ‘C’ for sportsmanship and will be required to pay $15 to the Recreational Sports Office prior to the registration of any other intramural sports teams. 

Teams are only allowed one forfeit per sport per season.  If a team forfeits twice, it will be removed from the league for the remainder of the season.

Default Policy

If a team knows that they will be unable to play a scheduled game, the Team Captain must contact the Intramural Sports Office by 12:00 PM the day of the contest to declare a default.  The defaulting team will receive a loss and a ‘B’ for sportsmanship.  There is no re-entry fee for a default.


A rule interpretation protest must be made before the next play.  Once the ball has become live, a protest from the previous play will not be valid.

Official’s judgment calls cannot be protested.



  • Participants cannot wear any jewelry during the game.  The only exception is properly-secured medical alert jewelry. 
  • Each player on the field must wear a one piece flag belt (provided by Recreational Sports) at the waistline with three flags permanently attached, one flag on each side and one in the center of the back.  The flag belt must be free of any knots.
  • Every Participant must wear proper athletic attire, including athletic footwear—no open-toed shoes may be worn and players cannot play barefoot.  Rubber cleats may be worn, but cleats with metal spikes will not be allowed.
  • Shoes must be soft-soled soccer/football type cleats or cross-country, tennis, or Astroturf shoes.  NO HARD PLASTIC, LEATHER, OR METAL IS ALLOWED IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF CLEATS OR SHOES.  WET TURF SOCCER SHOES (SCREW-IN CLEATS) ARE NOT ALLOWED.  Molded one-piece screw-ins with a cleat length of ½" or less are permitted
  • The use of headgear, shoulder pads, body pads, or any unyielding or dangerous equipment is prohibited.  Players may wear a knit or stocking cap and use soft, pliable gloves if they desire.  No baseball caps, metal or bandanas with knot may be worn.


  • Tape or bandage on the hand, wrist, forearm, or any part of the body is prohibited except to protect an injury.  Under no circumstances will a player wearing a cast or splint be allowed to play.  Braces with exposed metal parts must be covered.
  • All players must wear jerseys (shirts), long enough so that they remain tucked in during each down or cut at least 4” above the flag belt.  Each team must wear the same color jersey.  If not, jerseys will be provided.  The jersey must be tucked in to allow for grabbing of the flag.  Players of opposing teams must wear contrasting jerseys, without pockets, and with numbers either on the front or back.
  • Players must wear proper athletic attire.  Belt loops, pockets, exposed drawstrings, or untucked hoods on sweat tops are illegal.  Players wearing such illegal equipment will not be allowed to participate until illegal equipment is removed. 



The Toss and Options

  • Three minutes prior to the start of the game, the referee shall toss a coin, and the visiting team captain shall call the toss.  The captain winning the toss shall have choice of options for the first half or shall defer their option to the second half.  The options of each half shall be:

      A.) To choose whether his/her team will start on offense or defense.

      B.) To choose the goal his/her team will defend.

The captain not having the first choice of options for a half shall exercise the remaining option.

  • The start of each half will begin by placing the ball on the 14 yard line.  There are no kickoffs, including after a safety. 


  • Prior to a punt the offensive team must make the referee aware of the intentions.  After such announcement, the ball must be kicked.
  • Exceptions: A) Team A or Team B call a time-out, or B) a foul occurs anytime prior to or during this down after Team A captain’s decision which results in the kicking team having the right to repeat the down again, the referee must ask the Team A captain whether or not he/she wants a punt and communicate this decision to the Team B captain.
  • Kicking the Ball:  After receiving the snap, the kicker must kick the ball immediately and in a continuous motion (snap, catch, kick).  If a kicker drops the ball, it is considered a fumble, and the ball becomes dead at the spot. 
  • Neither kicking nor receiving team may advance beyond their respective scrimmage line until the ball is kicked.  Note:  All scrimmage line rules regarding the snap, stance, false start, minimum line players, motion an shift apply to punt situations
  • Teams may punt the ball only once per down.
  • Teams may only advance a punt if a team blocks the punt and catches it behind the line of scrimmage.
  • A kicked ball that hits the ground may be advanced as long as has not hit a player first.

Snapping and Passing the Ball

  • The player who receives the snap from the center must be at least 2 yards behind his/her scrimmage line.  The snapper shall pass the ball back from its position on the ground with a quick and continuous motion of the hand(s).
  • The offensive team must have a minimum of 4 (5 for CoRec) players on the line of scrimmage at the time of the snap.  A player in motion is not counted as one of the 4 or 5 on the scrimmage line.
  • If on the snap, punt or any other circumstances the ball is fumbled, it is immediately dead upon hitting the ground.  No advancement can be made by either team.  A fumble going out of bounds without hitting the ground remains in possession of the fumbling team at the spot where the ball was fumbled or wherever the ball went out of bounds.
  • All players are eligible to touch a forward pass after it is thrown.  The passer may catch his/her own forward pass provided it has been touched by another player first.
  • If a legal forward pass is caught simultaneously by members of opposing teams, the ball immediately becomes dead upon returning to the ground and belongs to the offense.
  • A forward pass is a live ball thrown towards the opponent’s goal line.  A backward pass is a live ball thrown parallel or backwards.  The initial direction of the pass will determine whether or not the ball is backwards or forwards.
  • It is illegal to attempt to strip the ball while in player possession by punching, striking or stealing.  Once a player has obtained possession of the ball, his/her opponent must play the flag, not the ball.
  • Defensive players must not contact the passer at anytime during or after the play.  They may only go for the flag.  Rushers may try to deflect the ball, but they may not contact the passer even if the ball is deflected.  If the defender contacts the passer, it is considered roughing the passer.  This includes the arm of the quarterback before, during or immediately following a pass.
  • Only one foot must touch inbounds in order for a pass reception to be considered legal.

Screening, Rushing, and Contact

  • Offensive players may “block” defenders only by utilizing the screen blocking technique
  • Screen blocking is legally obstructing an opponent without using any part of the body to initiate contact with him/her.
  • The offensive screen block shall take place without contact.  The screen blocker shall have his/her hands and arms at his/her side or behind his/her back.  Any use of the hands, arms, elbows, legs, or body to initiate contact during an offensive player’s screen block is illegal.  A blocker may use his/her hands or arms to break a fall or to retain his/her balance.
  • Defensive players must go around the offensive player’s screen block.  The arms and hands may not be used as a wedge to contact the opponent.  The application of this rule depends entirely on the judgment of the official.  A rusher may use his/her hands or arms to break a fall or retain his/her balance.  These actions are judged similarly to the block/charge call in basketball.
  • The offensive team is responsible for retrieving the ball after a down has ended.  Officials are not responsible for retrieving the ball.  The offensive team may take the ball to the huddle after each play.
  • No player may use words similar to the offensive and quarterback cadence prior to the snap in an attempt to interfere with Team A’s signals or movements.
  • If a runner’s flag belt falls off during a play, a one handed tag between the shoulders and knees will stop the play.
  • Flag guarding is not allowed. If your natural running style causes you to guard the flag, it must be changed. Tip: Hold the ball forward because it can’t be stripped from your possession and it gives you forward progress.


Length of Game and Timing

  • A game will consist of two halves of 20 minutes.  The clock will run continuously for the first half and first 18 minutes of the second half, except when a timeout is called, or at the referee’s discretion.  During the last 2 minutes the clock will stop for an incomplete pass, running out of bounds, called timeouts and at the 2 minute warning.
  • Each team will be permitted 2 time-outs per half.  These time-outs shall be 1 minute in length and first half time-outs do not carry over to the second half.
  • The referee may start or stop the game clock whenever, in his/her judgment, either team is trying to conserve or consume playing time by using illegal or unfair tactics.
  • The clock shall run continuously, except if there is a serious injury or a protest/clarification question requiring a Supervisor or other Intramural Staff.
  • Half-time will be 5 minutes.  The referee shall have discretion to reduce the length of the half-time if conditions deem it necessary.
  • Overtime will NOT be played during the regular season

Mercy Rule

  • If a team is 45 or more points ahead at anytime during the second half the game shall be over.
  • If a team is 19 (25 for CoRec) or more points ahead when the referee announces the 2 minute warning for the second half or anytime thereafter, the game shall be over.

Touchdown and Extra Try

  • Touchdowns will be worth 6 points (or 9 see CoRec rules). Following the touchdown the offensive captain must choose to go for 1, 2, or 3.
  • 1 point extra try from the three yard line, 2 point extra try from the ten yard line, 3 point extra try from the 20 yard line.
  • On a Try if Team B intercepted, the ball is immediately dead.




Co-Rec Clarifications

  • The game shall be played between 2 teams of 8 players, 4 men and 4 women.  A team must have at least 6 players (3 men and 3 women, 4 men and 2 women, or 4 women and 2 men) to start and continue a game.
  • The regular, intermediate, junior or youth size football shall be used.
  • The offensive team must have at least 5 players on their scrimmage line at the snap.
  • A Team A male runner cannot advance the ball beyond Team A’s scrimmage line.  There are no restrictions concerning:  runs by a female runner; during a run by a male runner once the ball is beyond the Team A scrimmage line; and after a change of possession. 
  • The term “close” means a male player may NOT throw a legal forward pass completion to any other male player.  The term “open” means any player can complete a legal forward pass to any other player.
  • If a male passer completes a legal forward pass to a male receiver, the next legal forward pass completion must involve either a female passer or female receiver for positive yards.  The spot where the ball becomes dead by Rule must be beyond the Team A scrimmage line.  There is NO foul for a female receiver being tagged or de-flagged behind the Team A scrimmage line.  The next legal forward pass completion remains “closed.”
  • There are no other restrictions concerning a male passer completing legal forward passes to a female receiver, or female to female, or female to male.
  • Any foul, whether accepted or declined, shall have no effect on whether the next forward pass completion is “open” or “closed.”  If a crew of officials erroneously indicates “open/closed” status of a down, then Team A has the option to repeat the down or take the result of the play.  This must be done prior to the next snap.
  • Mercy Rule:  If a team is 25 or more points ahead when the referee announces the 2 minute warning for the second half or anytime there after, the game shall be over.
  • Touchdown Value:  If a female scores a touchdown, the point value is 9.  If a female player throws a legal forward pass and a touchdown is scored by any Team A player, the point value is 9.  All other touchdowns will be 6 points.
  • Extra Try Value: Regardless of who is involved in the try the extra try will always be worth 1, 2, or three points.







Recreational Sports Website:

Intramural Sports Office: 601.266.5409

Revised 8/1/11

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Campus Recreation
Payne Center
118 College Dr. #5155
Hattiesburg, MS 39406

Hattiesburg Campus

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