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CYAS Flag Football Rules

©2019 CYAS, all rights reserved, last rev. 06-20-2019


Any rules not expressly written in this document follow NIRSA flag football rules.





Sportsmanship is required in this league. Such as:

       The officials are volunteers that give time to make your game more enjoyable; please thank them after every game for offering their time! We encourage you to buy them food/drinks after the games (it doubtfully will help you on the field, but can’t hurt).

       All games are in the hands of the officials. Any questions/discussions about the rule interpretations should go through the team captain.

       Pray before and after games (optional if not Catholic), and shake hands after games

       Be conscious of who you are guarding so as to avoid injury

       Go out to the socials and co-mingle with other teams

       Encourage and engage players that are not as athletic/skilled, these are rec. leagues!

Unsportsmanlike conduct will not be tolerated and may result in ejection from games or the league. This includes:

       Recruiting stacked teams (in casual leagues) & running up the score

       foul language (including the Lord’s name taken in vain), racial slurs and verbal abuse

       unnecessary roughness and/or physical abuse

       acting out of anger, including throwing equipment or personal items

       arguing with officials, staff, participants, or fans

       abuse of the honor system

       show good sportsmanship whether victory or defeat

       Respect the integrity and judgment of CYAS representatives and be responsible for your own actions

       failure to provide volunteer referees/scorekeepers when assigned

Sportsmanship Rating:


      The Sportsmanship Rating will be added into the league standings.  The end of the season tournament standings are determined on the point system that a win is worth 6 points, a tie is worth 3 points, and a loss is worth 0 points.  With the sportsmanship rating, during each game, every team is able to receive a maximum of 10 points per game.

      Sportsmanship Policy:  Teams will be given a sportsmanship rating by the officials & commissioner after each game.  The scores are determined as follows:

    4 - Excellent Conduct and Sportsmanship – Players cooperate fully with the officials and the opposing team’s members.  The captain calmly converses with officials about rule interpretations and calls.  The captain also has full control of his/her teammates.

    3 – Good Conduct and Sportsmanship – Team members verbally complain about some decisions made by the officials and/or show minor dissension.  Teams that receive 1 severe behavioral penalty will receive no higher than a 3.0 rating

    2 - Average Conduct and Sportsmanship – Team shows verbal dissent towards officials and/or the opposing team.  Captain exhibits minor control over his/her teammates but is in control of their own temper.  Teams receiving multiple behavior fouls will receive no higher than a 2.0 rating.

    1 – Below Average Conduct and Sportsmanship – Teams constantly comment to the officials and/or the opposing team from the field and/or sidelines. The team captain exhibits little or no control over teammates and/or himself/herself.  A team which receives an ejection can receive no higher than a 1.0 rating.

    0 – Poor Conduct and Sportsmanship – Team is completely uncooperative.  Captain has no control over teammates, and/or their own temper.  Any team causing a game to be forfeited, other than by not showing, or receives multiple ejections shall receive a 0.0 rating.

      A team that receives a 0.0 rating must have their captain meet with a CYAS representative before they are eligible to play their next contest.

      A team winning a contest by Forfeit or Honest Effort Forfeit will receive a 4.0 rating

      A team that does not provide any required refs/timers/scorekeepers where assigned will receive a 0-sportsmanship point rating on their previous game, or next game if it is the first week.

Team Substitutions- If a team does not have enough players to field a team, they may get a substitute:

        From another team (a “League Registrant”), if the game is not a tournament game.

        From outside the league, but they must sign a liability waiver (even if they have played in another season).

        If the substitute is from outside the league, they may only play in two (2) regular season games without registering on a team’s roster. An outside player must register and officially join the team roster online in order to play in any tournament game, and they must have played in at least one (1) season game (as evidenced by having a sub waiver on file).


      In order to exhibit respect for the spirit of the game and fellow players, protesting after a call is not allowed. Captains are encouraged to email the commissioner and/or CYAS staff after the games to voice complaints/suggestions with courtesy.

      Captains are the only people able to discuss calls with the refs.  Please remember that there is a difference between discussion and arguing.  Arguing will result in a technical foul, but discussion or seeking explanation is okay.

      Officials have the right to eject a player from a game with or without warning for unsportsmanlike behavior, including complaining, arguing, vulgar language or any other unsportsmanlike conduct. 



Start of the Game

        The officials watch will be the timepiece used to decide game time. 1st possession and half-time possession will both be awarded to a team required to wait for their opponents before starting the game. Game time will be decreased, up to 10 minutes, beyond that is a forfeit.

        Play begins with the ball on the defenses 20 yd line, at the beginning of a half and after an extra point attempt. There are no kickoffs.

Game Time, Play Clock and Time Outs

        Games will be two 24-minute halves of running time. 

        A game or half cannot end on a defensive penalty unless the penalty is refused.

        Half time will be 3-minutes.

        Play clock will be 25 seconds from the time the line marker is set by the officials 

        First Half Clock

o    The clock will run continuously in the first half.

o    The clock will stop in the first half only when:

          A team attempts an extra point inside of the two-minute warning.

          When there is a change of possession.

        Second Half Clock

o    The clock will run continuously through the second half until the 2-minute warning.

o    At the 2-minute warning, the clock will automatically stop and then restart once the ball is hiked. The clock will stop on the following instances inside of the 2-minute warning:

          Incomplete pass

          When a player steps out-of-bounds


          All types of scoring

o    The clock will not stop for first downs after the two-minute warning in the second half.

        Other Clock Stoppages

o    The referee has the authority to stop the clock at any time.

o    Mercy rule (see below)

        Each team has one 1-minute timeout per half…the official will blow the whistle to indicate that the play clock has started after 1-minute (the game clock starts on the snap) – timeouts will be fully taken even if their intent is only to stop the clock.

        MERCY RULES (team is up by 24+ points): The game clock will not stop in the last 2 minutes. The losing team will receive all first offensive possessions five yards behind the mid-field mark (except when that would be worse, such as on punts and interceptions) and the winning team will be allowed only one attempt to score inside their 10-yd. line. Teams are expected to refrain from running up the score out of good sportsmanship towards struggling teams. Any unwarranted attempts to do so could result in unsportsmanlike penalties.

Number of Players & In-Game Substitutions

        There is a minimum of five players required to start a game and a maximum of eight players to continue a game.

        Teams will field 8 players, with a maximum of 6 males/females on the field at any one time. Captains may agree to adjust the coed requirement and/or teams are allowed to play short players.

Coed Rules

        There is no minimum required “girl” play; however to ensure coed participation, any female used as an operative player that scores a touchdown will receive bonus points (as defined in the scoring section)

o    An “operative” player is defined as a player who: (1) makes the catch and advances the ball (2) runs the ball as the primary runner (3) receives the snap as the QB and initiates the ball crossing the line of scrimmage (4) receives a punt and returns it for a TD (5) makes an interception and advances it for a TD

o    An “operative” player is NOT defined as a player who: (1) snaps the ball into play (2) is pitched the ball by a male AFTER he crosses the line of scrimmage.


o    A pass deflected by a male and caught by a female IS a female play

o    A pass thrown by a male, received by a male and immediately pitched to a female (the “hook and ladder”) WILL NOT constitute a female play – no matter how far the female advances with the ball after the pitch.


Flag Belts and Downs

        Every player must have their shirt tucked in and flags on the sides and behind.

        If a player loses his/her flag belt and has possession of the ball, the defense must touch them with one hand between the shoulders and knees to make a legal "tackle."

        A flag guard penalty will be called if a ball carrier uses his/her hands, arms, the ball or clothing to hide or prevent an opponent from pulling the flag belt.

        Stiff arming is not allowed (contact is to be avoided).

        Any ball carrier caught wearing the belt illegally will be ejected from the field of play.

        The play is dead if anything other than hand or foot of the ball carrier touches the ground at any time.



        All players are eligible to receive a pass.

        At the time of a pass reception, the receiver needs to have only ONE foot in bounds for a complete pass (ball must be in complete control though).

        Pass interference will be called when a receiver or defender has position (jumps to receive it) and there is contact by an opponent. This is not the case when both players are clearly going for the ball and have equal opportunity on playing it. (standard NCAA pass interference rules)

        Passed the line of scrimmage, all passes must be behind player w/possession.

        No handoffs. The ball must completely leave the hands of the passer before the passee may receive the ball.



        All balls touching the ground are dead immediately where they first land.

        The team fumbling the ball retains possession of the ball (except on a 4th down non-conversion).

        A fumbled ball by an offensive team in their end zone constitutes a safety.

        The offensive team may not fumble a ball forward in mid-air to advance the ball.

        No stripping of the ball, all strips are fumbles and result in a downed play.



        The kicking team shall notify the referee and opposing team of intent to punt (with sufficient time for the opposing team to prepare). There are no fakes allowed.

        All players must remain at the line of scrimmage until the ball is kicked.  Defensive players may put their hands up and/or jump to attempt to block the punt as long as they do not cross the line of scrimmage.

        The punter must lineup approx. 5 yds (shotgun formation) from the line of scrimmage and kick the ball immediately upon receiving the snap; no intentional time wasting after the snap.

        Bad snaps are not penalized on punts (league charity rule), just punt it.


        A player may not deliberately jump, dive or run into an opponent, or lower their head or shoulders causing any contact.

        Two players may be in motion at any one time before the ball is snapped. Forward motion is allowed.

        The snap must be between the legs of the snapper.


        Attempting to steal or strip the ball from a player is illegal.

        Holding, pushing, or tackling a runner is illegal.

        There will be a 1-yard neutral zone from the ball, except near the goal-line where it will be on the goal-line in situations that won’t allow for 1-yard.

        Receiver jamming is not allowed (avoid contact).



Rushing the Quarterback

        To rush the quarterback, the defense can rush the passer after a player on the line of scrimmage clearly counts to 5 Mississippi.          

o    Only two defensive players may rush the quarterback at a time.

o    The defensive player(s) is/are not allowed to cross the line of scrimmage until they clearly count to 5 mississippi. Both officials and quarterback should hear the count. 

        Each team is allowed one (1) untimed rush or blitz per four downs. On this play, the defense does not need to count to 5 and may cross the line of scrimmage immediately following the snap. During an untimed blitz any number of defensive players may rush. 


Safety and Touchbacks

       Following a safety, the ball shall be placed on the 20-yard line of the team credited with the safety.

       An offensive penalty inside the end zone is a safety.

       A safety will result in two (2) points awarded to the defensive team.



        Touchdown: 6 Points (with female contribution 8 points-see coed section)

        Safety: 2 Points (a safety by a female on a male QB is 3 points)

        Turnovers: A return by the defensive team is worth two(2) points during a conversion attempt, and scoring as above for non-conversion returns. Any deliberate attempt to prevent a return by committing a foul will result in (2) points for the return team.

        Point After Touchdown (PAT):

o    From 5-yard line: 1 Point (1 point bonus with lady)

o    From 10-yard line: 2 Points (1 point bonus with lady)

o    An interception returned on a PAT will result in the points being attempted (1 or 2) awarded to the intercepting team (not applicable to overtime situations – and bonus lady points are not included).

        Female Scoring

o    If a female is involved in a scoring play then the scoring team will be awarded a maximum of one (1) bonus point. This applies to all touchdowns and extra point conversions. Scoring involvement includes:

          Throwing the ball across the line of scrimmage on a scoring play

          Running the ball into the end zone on a touchdown or extra point

          Catches the ball on a scoring play

          Intercepts the ball and returns it for a touchdown, even on a PAT

o    A bonus point is not awarded on the following scoring involvement:

          Throwing the ball behind the line of scrimmage on a scoring play.

Tie and Overtime Games

        Games that end in a tie during season play will remain as a tie on the standings.

        The Four-Down and Out format will apply to all tournament game ties. A coin toss, or paper-rock-scissors, will decide the pick of first or second possession. Teams will attempt to score in the same end zone (chosen by the loser of the coin toss). Each team will then have 4 downs to score from 20 yards out. If a team scores, they will have the opportunity to go for one or two on the PAT. An interception will result in a team losing its downs and may not be returned for any points. There are no overtime time-outs. If after each team makes the first attempt the game is still tied, they will then continue until a winner is determined.



        Teams may use their own ball if it is an official size NCAA or NFL ball. The refs will not manage football changes. The play clock will run even if the offense forgets to get a ball in a change of possession. The league will not provide game balls.

        Flag Belts will be provided.

        No metal spikes, bare feet or jewelry (rings, necklaces, or earrings – you may tape rings or bracelets completely if you wish to keep them on).

        Shirts must be tucked in or tied off above the waistline. Please wear shirts long enough that they do not un-tuck easily. No midriffs please, either gender.

        Hats must be soft bill or worn backwards.

        No cargo shorts. No items in the pockets. PLEASE WEAR CLOTHING WITHOUT POCKETS to help avoid finger injuries. There should be no clothing article that players may snag their fingers on when grabbing at flags.


Field Dimensions and Downs

        The field will be approximately 80-yards long by 40-yards wide total, with 10-yard end zones.

        Lines at 20-yard and 40-yard(mid-field) will be marked with cones.

        Hash marks for extra points will be at 5 yards (1 point conversion) and at 10 yards(2 point conversions) and will be marked off with cones on the sidelines.

        A team has four downs to cross the mid-field marker, after which they will receive 4 more downs. If a team has a penalty, or loss of yards, which pushes the line of scrimmage behind the marker the offense will not receive another first down attempt.