Flag Football Rules
2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th Grades
KIDSPORTS flag football games will be played by the National Federation of State High School Athletic Association football rules. Some of the federation rules have been changed and/or modified by the KIDSPORTS Football Advisory Committee, then approved by the program staff. These modifications are listed herein.
GAMES (Artificial Turf Field Rules)
1(a) Official Schedule
A schedule of games for each KIDSPORTS team will be drafted by the KIDSPORTS program Staff. Once a schedule is published by KIDSPORTS, the schedule will not be changed, altered, modified, etc., except for those situations deemed to be of an extraordinary nature. All schedule changes must be approved by a Program Director.
1(b) Team Arrival
One (1) registered coach or his/her appointed representative must be at the game site at least fifteen (15) minutes prior to game time. Coaches may not have team players arrive at the game site earlier than 45 minutes prior to the scheduled game time.
Five (5) minutes prior to scheduled game time, coaches shall meet with officials for pre-game conference, coin flip and exchange of line-up cards. A minimum of eight (8) players must be present at the game starting time.
NOTE: Penalty for Violation Failure to have eight (8) players present and/or failure of coach to have pre-game duties completed at scheduled starting time will cause the referee to award a win by forfeit to the team ready to play. If both teams are in violation, the game will be declared "no contest" and each team charged with a loss.
1(c) Home/Visiting Team: The home team is the team on the left side of the game schedule (or on-line, the team with the house icon). The home team is responsible for providing the down marker and chains and is responsible for providing adults to run them.
1(d) Line Up Cards
1. Line-up cards will be issued to all coaches by the KIDSPORTS office.
2. Completed line-up cards with the players names and numbers will be given to the opposing coach and game referee five (5) minutes before the game begins. Coaches must indicate on the line-up card:
a. Players who will be designated as playing either offense or defense for at least three (3) quarters.
b. Players who will be designated as "play runners" for all four (4) quarters.
PENALTY-Failure to provide the line-up cards as specified may result in a forfeit being awarded to the opposing team. If both teams fail to provide the line-up cards as specified, a double forfeit may be awarded and a loss recorded for both teams.
WEIGHT LIMITS AND RESTRICTIONS
2(a) Any child enrolled in grades 2, 3, 4, & 5, regardless of weight, is eligible to play in the flag league.
3(a) Following completion of the regular season schedule, KIDSPORTS will conduct a championship event for each league.
THE GAME, PLAYERS & EQUIPMENT
Flag football consists of nine (9) players on the field at one time. The tackle position is eliminated.
4(b) Official Ball
KIDSPORTS issues a ball that shall be used for all flag football games. If an alternate ball is used it must be of the same size issued by Kidsports.
4(c) Shirt Numbers
Any digit is permissible for KIDSPORTS jerseys.
4(d) Protective Equipment
With the exception of mouthpieces, individual players may not provide their own protective equipment, unless the KIDSPORTS Equipment Manager grants specific written permission.
4(e) Shoes - Cleated shoes are legal, provided the cleats do not exceed one-half inch (½ inch) in length and are not metal or metal tipped.
PERIODS & TIME FACTORS
5(a) Quarters -
4th/5th grade: Four (4) 12 minute running clock quarters. Clock stops on time outs, penalties, injuries and after a PAT. Stop clock will be used in the last 2 minutes of the game if the score is within 7 points.
2nd/3rd grade: Four (4) 15 minute running clock quarters. Clock stops on time outs only. Stop clock will be used in the last 2 minutes of the game if the score is within 7 points.
5(b) Time-Outs - Each team may have a maximum of four (4) time outs per game.
5(c) Half-Time - Half-time shall not be more than five (5) minutes.
5(d) Tie Breakers (Regular Season) - All regular season games which are tied at the end of regulation play shall be a tie. Playoff games will be decided by "The KIDSPORTS Tie-Breaker Plan."
5(e) Called Game - If a game is called for darkness after three (3) full quarters of play, the game will be considered complete.
5(f) Time Clock - A KIDSPORTS game official will furnish the official time clock.
6(a) Offense - Exactly five (5) offensive players shall be on the line of scrimmage at the snap. Exactly two (2) offensive players shall be on the line on each side of the center at the snap, one offensive guard and one offensive end. The distance between the center and the offensive guards cannot be greater than three (3) feet. This offensive line formation will be a balanced set. Specifically, an unbalanced line, (i.e., having more than two players on the line of scrimmage to either side of the center), is illegal, and will be penalized with a penalty of five (5) yards for illegal procedure.
6(b) Defense - The defense must have exactly four (4) players on its line of scrimmage (within twelve inches of scrimmage line) at the snap. Defensive guards must line up head to head with the offensive guards at the snap and must use a three point or four point stance. Defensive ends must line up outside the defensive guards and may use any stance.
2nd/3rd Grade: Defensive linebackers and defensive backs must be at least four (4) yards behind the defensive scrimmage line until the ball is snapped. Once the ball is snapped, it is legal to rush the backfield from any defensive position.
4th/5th Grade: Defensive linebackers and defensive backs must be at least two (2) yards behind the defensive scrimmage line until the ball is snapped. Once the ball is snapped, it is legal to rush the backfield from any defensive position.
THE KICK-OFF & OTHER FREE KICKS
7(a) Coin Toss
Before the starting time the referee shall toss a coin. The team winning the coin toss has their choice of receiving the kick-off in the first half or the second half.
7(b) Any player on the receiving team is eligible to advance the ball on a kick return regardless of flag color.
7(c) Free Kicks
1. If three (3) or more players from the receiving team are not ten (10) yards from the ball when it is declared ready, and until it is kicked, it is a free kick infraction.
2. If any member of the kick-off team touches or recovers a free-kick, the ball is dead and belongs to the receiving team at the spot it was first touched by the kick-off team.
7(d) Scrimmage kicks
1. Punting - If a team decides to punt, it must be announced and the punt must be made. Time will be allowed for substitutions before another ready to play signal will be given.
2. Once set, neither team may move or cross the line of scrimmage until the ball is kicked. Penalty for violation will be five (5) yards.
3. A blocked punt by the receiving team at the line of scrimmage shall be ruled down at the line of scrimmage.
4. Any player of the receiving team is eligible to advance the ball on a punt return regardless of flag color.
8(a) Extra Points - Extra points shall only be scored by passing or running. A team will be awarded one (1) point for a conversion from the three (3) yard line and two (2) points for a conversion from the ten (10) yard line.
8(b) Field Goals - Field goals are not allowed in flag football.
Each player must wear two (2) flags attached to flag belt and positioned on each side of player. Flags and flag belts must be issued by KIDSPORTS. All shirts must be tucked inside the pants or shorts. Any tampering that affects the force necessary to pull flags is illegal. No player shall wear yellow or red pants, shorts or pants or shorts with red or yellow stripes on them. Long sleeves that are red or yellow are not allowed. Extended portions of the belt must be tucked into the pants or shorts.
ADVANCING THE BALL
9(a) Illegal Use of Hand & Arm (flag guarding) - No runner shall use their hand or arm to interfere with a defensive player's attempt to pull their flag. Penalty: five (5) yards from the point of infraction and loss of down.
9(b) Offensive Linemen - Red Flags - The three (3) interior offensive linemen must wear red flags. All other players on offense must wear yellow flags. An offensive player with red flags may only advance the ball when possession is obtained by a forward pass that has been deflected by the defense and caught by the offense before touching the ground. On a change of possession any defensive or special team player may advance the ball regardless of flag color. If the offense should line up with players wearing flags incorrectly, only running plays are allowed. Any pass or simulated pass will result in a 5 yd. illegal procedure penalty being assessed.
9(c) Avoiding Collisions - In an open field situation, the ball carrier must take evasive action and not deliberately run over a defender. Penalty for doing so will be ten (10) yards.
TACKLING THE FLAG
10(a) Illegal Tackle - If a defensive player intentionally knocks the runner out of bounds or intentionally holds the runner until the flag can be removed, a 10 yard penalty shall be imposed from the point of infraction and an automatic first down awarded. If, in the opinion of the official, such an intentional illegal act by a defensive player prevented a score, the score shall be awarded.
10(b) Accidental Hold - If a defensive player accidentally holds the runner or accidentally knocks the runner out of bounds in an attempt to pull a flag, a penalty of five (5) yards shall be imposed from the point of infraction.
10(c) Illegal Flag Pull - Intentionally pulling the flag of a potential pass receiver is illegal. If, in the opinion of the official, such an intentional illegal act prevents a score, the score shall be awarded.
BLOCKING - Blocking below the waist is illegal in all flag games.
DEAD BALL AND END OF DOWN
11(a) General Rule - With the exception of #1, #2, and #3 below, all balls touching the ground after the snap are immediately dead. The ball is placed at the spot where it was last touched.
1. The ball is dead on the snap at the spot it hits the ground if the ball strikes the ground before getting back to the quarterback.
2. Whenever a team announces that it will punt and the exchange from the center is fumbled, dropped, or not touched at all, the ball may be picked up and kicked without penalty.
3. The punt or kick return team has one additional chance to pick up the ball and advance it if it is not fielded cleanly on the first attempt.
11(b) Ball Carrier's Forward Progress
1. When a runner goes out-of-bounds, or allows any part of their body other than a hand or foot to touch the ground, or loses a flag, the runner shall be declared down and the play declared dead. Should a flag drop or be out of position on a player advancing the ball by either a run or pass; the ball is dead when a defensive player is in position to make a flag pull.
2. The official will stop play and blow the play dead when the defender has a firm grip on the flag and slows or stops the forward progress of the ball carrier.
11(c) It is illegal for a defensive player to take the ball out of the grasp of an offensive player. The ball will be declared dead at the point of infraction.
11(d) It is illegal for a defensive player to knock the ball out of the hand of an offensive player who is in the act of throwing a forward pass or to hit the forward passer's arm. The ball shall be declared dead and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty will be called on the defensive player, marked from the offensive line of scrimmage.
FLAG SUBSTITUTION RULES
12(a) Requirement - Every player suited up for a game shall play in that game. It is mandatory that each player start and play every play in at least three quarters on either offense or defense, excluding special teams. Prior to the game, the coach must submit a line-up card designating each player's position on either offense or defense for each of their three designated quarters.
Example: A player who starts on offense in the first quarter must play every offensive play in that quarter. Said players could then switch to defense for the second quarter, and would play every defensive play in the quarter.
KIDSPORTS playing requirements for minimum playing time are not intended as recommendations for maximum playing time or to limit a player's time due to ability. Do not sacrifice a child's positive experience by not playing that child as much as possible beyond the minimum requirements in every game.
12(b) Play Runners - A coach may designate offensive "play runners" for the purpose of communicating information from the bench to the huddle as directed below. Play runners may not be designated on defense to meet playing time requirements.
Teams with less than 14 players: Teams with less than 14 players must designate players who fulfill their minimum play requirements [Section 9(a) above] on defense.
Teams with 14 to 18 players: Teams with 14 to 18 players may be allowed to designate two (2) play runners on offense who must play every other offensive play for the entire game. These players do not have to play on defense.
Teams with 19 players: Teams with 19 players must designate two (2) play runners on offense who must play every other offensive play for the entire game. These players do not have to play on defense.
Teams with 20 or more players: Teams with 20 or more players must designate four (4) offensive play runners who must play every other offensive play for the entire game. They do not have to play defense.
12(c) Injury/illness re-entry - When a player is forced to leave the game due to illness or injury, a substitute may replace the ill or injured player until the ill or injured player is able to return to the game.
12(d) Penalty - Any time that substitution violations occur, the first step that should be taken is to CORRECT the violation. Plays will not be played over, but the correct players must be placed into the game. Repeat or flagrant violations MAY be penalized by KIDSPORTS with penalties including possible forfeiture of the game or suspension or termination of the coach. All decisions by KIDSPORTS staff as to the penalties for substitution violations will be FINAL. It is important that coaches learn and apply the proper substitution rules.
13(a) If any player, coach or spectator is removed from the game by disciplinary action of an official, said person must leave the field. He or she may not sit on the team bench or in the stands.
Any player or coach ejected from a game will be suspended from the next scheduled game. Further ejections will result in further suspensions or termination.
KIDSPORTS POLICY PROHIBITS THE USE OF ALL TOBACCO PRODUCTS, ALCOHOL AND ILLEGAL DRUGS!