Download PDF Copy of Rules

Official Playing Rules of the

Upstate Flag League

BLU.png

Scott Dahl, Commissioner


PREFACE

Overview

Field Dimensions

Number of Players

Rushing the QB

Blitzes

Blocking

Fumbles

Overtime

Mercy Rule

Default

Draft, Teams & Players

Teams

Combine

Draft

Position Minimums

Position Maximums

Player Movement & Eligibility

Trades

Keepers

Undrafted Free Agents

Injured Reserve

Absent Player

Suspension/Ban

Waiver Order

Field

Dimensions

Ground Rules

Sidelines (Team Area)

The Ball

Rain Rule:

Definitions

Dead Ball

Fumble

Live Ball

Loose Ball

Muff

Player in Possession

Possession of a Loose Ball

Game Timing

Length of Game

Time Between Plays

Stoppage of the Clock

Time Outs

Two Minute Warning

Halftime

Coin Toss

Players, Substitutes, Equipment, General Rules

Number of Players

Number of Players in a Huddle

Substitute Becomes a Player

Legal Substitutions

Illegal Substitutions

Disqualified and Suspended Players

Unsportsmanlike Conduct

Illegal Equipment

Legal Equipement

Flags

No (or Hidden) Flag belt:

Jerseys

Items Colored Like Football

Adhesive, Slippery Substances

Scoring

Types of Scoring Plays

During a Try, the following shall apply:

Offense

Formations

Eligible Receivers

Motion

Passes

Legal Catch

Carrying the Ball

Going Out of Bounds

Bad Snaps

Offensive Line

Centers Exchange

Tackle Eligible

Sleeper Plays

Ball Retrieval

Defense

Rushing the QB

Formations

Legal Contact Within 5 Yards

Pass Defense

Tackling

Pushing Out of Bounds

Obstruction

Free Blitz

Simulating the Snap

Special Teams

Kickoff Line of Scrimmage

Kickoff

Onsides Kick

Return Team

Punts

Field Goals

Fake Field Goals

Defending a Field Goal

Placement After Missed Field Goal

Returning a Field Goal

Blocked Place Kicks

Instant Replay

Officials

Ground Rules

Inadvertent Whistles

Instant Replay

Authority

Gameday Information

Cleanup

Prohibited Items

Rain Outs

Forfeits

Flags

Waivers

Prohibited Behavior

UFL Staff

Fighting

Illicit Behavior

Tie-Breaking Rules

Two teams

Three or More teams

Penalties

5 Yard Penalties

10 Yard Penalties

15 Yard Penalties

Other Penalties

Non-Penalties

Penalty Annotations

Official Signals

PREFACE

This edition of the Official Playing Rules of the Upstate Flag League contains all current rules governing the playing of flag football that are in effect for the 2017 UFL season. Any intra-League dispute or call for interpretation in connection with these rules will be decided by the Commissioner of the League, whose ruling will be final.

Where the word “illegal” appears in this rule book, it is an institutional term of art pertaining strictly to actions that violate UFL playing rules . It is not meant to connote illegality under any public law or the rules or regulations of any other organization.

This rulebook is covered by the Free Documentation License (FDL). The purpose of this License is to make a manual, textbook, or other functional and useful document "free" in the sense of freedom: to assure everyone the effective freedom to copy and redistribute it, with or without modifying it, either commercially or noncommercially. Secondarily, this License preserves for the author and publisher a way to get credit for their work, while not being considered responsible for modifications made by others.

https://www.gnu.org/licenses/fdl.html


Overview

Field Dimensions

The field is 100 x 40 yards with fixed first downs at the 20 and 40 yard lines.

Number of Players

8 players per team on the field

Rushing the QB

Full rush.

Blocking

All blocking must be open handed and must be between the waist and shoulders. Blocking in the back or side is illegal. All blocks must be initiated in the front.

Fumbles

Fumbles can be recovered if they are clean and unchallenged but players must stay on their feet for a legal recovery. Falling or diving to the ground for a fumble will result in a 15 yard penalty. The ref can make the judgement that if this penalty had not occurred the other team would have recovered the ball and the other team will be awarded the ball at the spot of the recovery with a first down in lieu of the penalty. Forward fumbles recovered by the fumbling team are spotted at the point of the initial fumble. If two players of opposite teams are within two yards (judgement of ref) of each other and the ball, the fumble is considered a dead ball and the whistle shall end the play immediately.


Overtime

If a game is tied after four quarters, the teams will play extra periods until the game finds a victor. Each period consists of one possession for each team, the order of which is decided by a pre-overtime coin toss. After each period, the order of possession flips. Each drive starts at the defense's 25-yard line. If the teams remain tied at the end of a period, they play another. Each team receives one time out during the entire overtime period. Field goals are allowed. No extra points are allowed, only two-point conversions in overtime.

Mercy Rule

If a team is ahead by 21 points at or after the 2nd half two-minute warning, the game shall be terminated immediately.

Default

If a scenario is not covered by the UFL rulebook, revert to NFL rules.


Draft, Teams & Players

Teams

Teams are started with one coach/gm and up to three “core” players, then filled out via the draft. We anticipate most coaches to play, but it’s not a requirement. There will be 16 players per team in addition to the coach.  Core players must pay prior to the draft.

Combine

The combine will take place one week prior to the draft. Players are not required to participate in any combine events and are welcome to participate in any or all combine events. Players must be registered in order to participate in the combine. The purpose of the combine is to give coaches information on the players available for the draft. We do encourage players to attend so that at the very least we can get there official height/weight/measurements and photo for their player profile.

Draft

The draft order for the first season will be determined randomly. This will be a snake draft, so the order will be reversed after each round. Therefore, the last team to pick in round 1 will be the first team to pick in round 2 and the first team to pick in round 1 will be the last team to pick in round two. That pattern will continue throughout the 16 round draft.

Core players are considered draft picks in the sense that your team will not draft in the first N  rounds where N  equals the number of core players a team is started with.  The same is true for keepers. Therefore, if your team is started with 3 players, you will not be able to draft a player until round 4. If your teams is started with 2 players, you will not be able to draft until round 3 … so on and so forth.

Teams will have 5 minutes to make their pick in the first 2 rounds, then 2 minutes in each additional rounds. If a team fails to make their pick in time the draft will continue as scheduled and the missed pick can be made at any time. In the event that a team has been passed over in 2 consecutive rounds, the commissioner can either appoint an alternate drafter or make the picks for the team at his discretion.

Players must have paid in order to be eligible for the draft.

Position Minimums

At the conclusion of the draft teams must have the following minimum positional counts:

Offense:

QB - 1

WR/TE/RB - 5

OL - 3

DL - 3

CB/S - 5

LB -1

Position Maximums

There are no specific maximums per position except that the draft pool cannot be depleted to a number that doesn’t allow a team to reach its positional minimums. IE, the minimum for offensive line is 3. If we had a team that had only taken one offensive lineman and only 2 offensive linemen remained in the draft, no other team would be allowed to draft offensive linemen at that point. The number of teams drafting will be limited to ensure that positional minimums can be achieved.

Player Movement & Eligibility

Once a player is added as a core player or drafted to a team they are eligible for the playoffs regardless of number of games played. During the season players can only move to another team via a trade. Players can be put on season ending IR if agreed upon by the coach and player. This is one scenario where an undrafted free agent can be picked up on waivers.

Trades

Players and draft picks can be traded between teams prior to the trade deadline. The trade deadline is Friday at 10PM prior to the week 5 games. For a trade to be valid it must meet the following criteria:

  • Approved by both coaches
  • Approved by all players involved
  • Approved by the commissioner
  • Not vetoed by 50% or more of the teams (coaches)
  • The resulting player counts must remain at 16 + coach.

Future draft picks can only be traded by coaches who have pre-registered and paid for the next season. The resulting draft pick count must remain equal.

Keepers

Teams are allowed to keep up to 4 players (keepers) for the next season in addition to the coach. Keepers must be specified at least 1 month prior to the combine for the coming season.

Undrafted Free Agents

Teams that fall below the 16 player requirement may be eligible to backfill those slots via UFA’s. UFA’s must pay a pro-rated league fee based on the number of weeks remaining in the regular season prior to being picked up. UFA waiver claims are due by Wednesday at 11:59PM. A team can add an undrafted free agent in the following scenarios:

Injured Reserve

If a player is injured and unable to return for the season, a coach may designate them as injured reserve. The player must agree to this designation. An IR player cannot play for the remainder of the season.

Absent Player

If a player stops attending games and is not responding to a coach, they can be replaced. Absent players are ineligible for UFA status for the remainder of the season. Coaches must support this claim with evidence.

Suspension/Ban

Players who are suspended or banned for the remainder of the season can be replaced.

Waiver Order

The order in which teams can add available players is as follows. IR gets precedence. Any team with an IR player gets first choice. If more than one team has an IR player, the team with the worst record gets first choice. Normal tie-breaker rules apply when determining worst record. After IR slots are filled, absent player slots can be filled with the same rules. Lastly, suspended or banned players using the same rules.

The commissioner reserves the right to deny any UFA pickup if he believes an incident was manufactured for the purpose of improving a team. IE - fake injury (etc) to add a player that will improve a team. Coaches found abusing this may be considered ineligible for running UFL teams in the future at the discretion of the commissioner.


Field

Dimensions

The game will be played on a 100 yard by 40 yard field with 10 yard end zones on either end for a total of 120 yards in length.

Ground Rules

On fields where ground rules are necessary, because of fixed conditions that cannot be changed, they will be made by the Commissioner.  In the absence of the commissioner, the head official will make the call.

Sidelines (Team Area)

Teams on the sideline are required to stay between the 20 yard lines, at least 2 yards away from the sideline and must yield to any UFL staff. UFL staff includes referees, camera crew, sideline reporter, stat keepers, etc.


The Ball

The Ball must be a “Wilson,” bearing the signature of the Commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell. The ball shall be made up of an inflated (12½ to 13½ pounds) urethane bladder enclosed in a pebble grained, leather case (natural tan color) without corrugations of any kind. It shall have the form of a prolate spheroid and the size and weight shall be: long axis, 11 to 11¼ inches; long circumference, 28 to 28½ inches; short circumference, 21 to 21¼ inches; weight, 14 to 15 ounces. The Referee shall be the sole judge as to whether all balls offered for play comply with these specifications.

Rain Rule:

In the event of rain, the head official can make the judgement that it is OK to use an alternate ball provided it is the same size and weight.  


Definitions

Dead Ball

A Dead Ball is one that is not in play. The time period during which the ball is dead is Between Downs. This includes the interval during all timeouts, including intermission, and from the time the ball becomes dead until it is legally put in play.

Declaration

The declaration is the announcement made by the quarterback that notifies the officials and defense what point after touchdown (PAT) they will attempt. The following points apply:

  • The offense may only change its declaration by calling a timeout. They cannot change the declaration after a penalty has been assessed, even if they call time-out.
  • After a touchdown, the quarterback (only) will be asked for a declaration and given a five second visual count. If a declaration is not made within the five-second period the team will be required to run or pass for one point on a PAT.

Fumble

A Fumble is any act, other than passing, handing, or legally kicking the ball, which results in a loss of player possession. The use of the term Fumble always means that the ball was in possession of a player when the act occurred.

Note: An intentional fumble that causes the ball to go forward is a forward pass and may be illegal

Live Ball

A Live Ball is a ball that is in play. A Dead Ball becomes a live ball when it is:

  • legally kicked on a Free Kick Down or
  • legally snapped on a Scrimmage Down or
  • legally kicked on a Fair Catch Kick Down.
  • It continues in play until the down ends.

Loose Ball

A Loose Ball is a live ball that is not in player possession, i.e., any ball that has been kicked, passed, or fumbled. A Loose Ball is considered to be in possession of the team (offense) whose player kicked, passed, or fumbled it. It is a Loose Ball until a player secures possession or until the ball becomes dead. If it has not yet struck the ground, a Loose Ball is In Flight.

Muff

A Muff is the touching of a loose ball by a player in an unsuccessful attempt to obtain possession of it.

Note: Any ball intentionally muffed forward is a bat and may be a foul.

Touching the Ball refers to any contact with the ball. There is no distinction between a player touching the ball with his hands, or with any other part of his body, except as specifically provided for.

Note: The result of the touching is sometimes influenced by the intent or the location.

Simultaneous touching by two opponents in an attempt to establish possession of a ball that has been kicked is treated as a first touch by the kicking team.

Player Possession

Player in Possession

A player is in possession when he is inbounds and has a firm grip and control of the ball with his hands or arms.

Possession of a Loose Ball

To gain possession of a loose ball that has been caught, intercepted, or recovered, a player must have complete control of the ball and have both feet or any other part of his body, other than his hands, completely on the ground inbounds, and then maintain control of the ball long enough to clearly become a runner. A player has the ball long enough to become a runner when, after his second foot is on the ground, he is capable of avoiding an opponent, tucking the ball away, turning up field, or taking additional steps. If the player loses the ball while simultaneously touching both feet or any other part of his body to the ground, there is no possession. This rule applies in the field of play and in the end zone.

Note: If a player goes to the ground in the process of attempting to secure a loose ball, it is a 15 yard unsportsmanlike penalty. If the referee makes the judgement that the ball would have been recovered by the opposing team had this not happened, they can award possession to the other team in lieu of the 15 yards.


Note 2:  If a player has control of the ball, a slight movement of the ball will not be considered loss of possession. He must lose control of the ball in order to rule that there has been a loss of possession.


Game Timing

Length of Game

Games are 60 minutes long with two, 30 minute halves. Each half has a two minute warning.

Time Between Plays

There are 30 seconds between plays including between extra points and kickoffs. The 30-second clock begins when the linesman sets the ball for the next play. The linesman will issue a 10-second warning.        

Stoppage of the Clock

Prior to each two minute warning, the only time the clock stops is after scores, during timeouts, instant replays, injuries, and official's discussions. After extra points the clock will start on the ready whistle until the two minute warning of each half.

Time Outs

Each team receives three time outs per half. Only the head coach or players legally on the field may call time outs. Injured players causing officials stop the clock may not participate in the next play unless the team elects to takes a timeout. Teams may take a time out to avoid a 10 second runoff.  If a team uses an instant replay challenge, they lose a timeout regardless of the result.

Two Minute Warning

A two-minute warning is given to both head coaches and the clock is stopped. The clock restarts at the next snap. Instant replay challenges cannot  be made after the two-minute warning.

Halftime

Halftime is a 5 minute intermission between halves.

Coin Toss

Before the kickoff of the game, the Referee, in the presence of both team’s captains (limit of three per team, active, inactive or honorary) shall toss a coin at the center of the field. Prior to the Referee’s toss, the call of “heads” or “tails” must be made by the captain of the visiting team, or by the captain designated by the Referee if there is no home team. Unless the winner of the toss defers his choice to the second half, he must choose one of two privileges, and the loser is given the other. The two privileges are:

The opportunity to receive the kickoff, or to kick off; or

The choice of goal his team will defend.

For the second half, the captain who lost the pregame toss is to have the first choice of the two privileges listed in (a) or (b), unless one of the teams lost its first and second half options, or unless the winner of the pregame toss deferred his choice to the second half, in which case he must choose (a) or (b) above. Immediately prior to the start of the second half, the captains of both teams must inform the Referee of their respective choices.

Official Clock

The linesman has the official clock.


Players, Substitutes, Equipment, General Rules

Number of Players

The game is played by two teams of 8 players each.

If Team A has more than 8 players in its formation for more than three seconds, or if Team B has more than 8 players in its formation and the snap is imminent, it is a foul. Once the ball is made ready for play, if either team has more than 8 players in its formation prior to a free kick, it is also a foul. In these instances, game officials shall blow their whistles immediately and not allow the snap or kick to occur.

Penalty: For more than 8 players in the formation prior to the snap or free kick: Loss of five yards from the succeeding spot.

If a team has more than 8 players on the field of play or the end zone when a snap, free kick, or fair-catch kick is made, the ball is in play, and it is a foul.

Penalty: For more than 8 players on the field of play or the end zone while the ball is in play: Loss of five yards from the previous spot.

Note: It is not a foul if a team has fewer than 8 players on the field of play or the end zone when a snap, free kick, or fair-catch kick is made.

Number of Players in a Huddle

There can never be more than 8 players in the offensive huddle while the play clock is running. It is a foul, the whistle is blown immediately, and the ball remains dead.

Substitute Becomes a Player

A substitute becomes a player when he:

  • Participates in at least one play (including a play negated by penalty prior to the snap or during the play)
  • is on the field of play or the end zone when a snap, fair-catch kick, or free kick is made, or when a snap, fair-catch kick, or free kick is imminent.

A player becomes a substitute when he is withdrawn from the game and does not participate in at least one play. A play negated by penalty prior to the snap or during the play counts as a missed play.

Legal Substitutions

Any number of substitutes may enter the field of play or the end zone while the ball is dead.

Illegal Substitutions

If a substitute enters the field of play or the end zone while the ball is in play, it is an illegal substitution. If an illegal substitute interferes with the play, it may be a palpably unfair act. In this scenario if the officials judge that a score would have occurred had the palpably unfair act occurred, they can change the result of the play to the score in lieu of the penalty.

Disqualified and Suspended Players

A player must be withdrawn and substituted for when he is ejected. An ejected player must leave the playing field within a reasonable time and may not return. Suspended players are not allowed at the field. Suspended coaches may be at the field prior to the game but not during.

Unsportsmanlike Conduct

Using entering substitutes, legally returning players, substitutes on sidelines, or withdrawn players to confuse opponents, or lingering by players leaving the field when being replaced by a substitute, is unsportsmanlike conduct. The offense is prevented from sending simulated substitutions onto the field toward its huddle and returning them to the sideline without completing the substitution in an attempt to confuse the defense.

Illegal Equipment

  • No pads allowed
  • Metal Cleats
  • Helmets
  • Casts
  • Other than securely attached sports glasses, glasses are not allowed.

Legal Equipement

  • Molded Cleats
  • Knee Braces
  • Gloves (no pads)
  • Players may use, and in fact are encouraged to use their own securely mounted GoPro or other securely mounted camera

Flags

All players except offensive linemen will wear league provided pop flags. Offensive linemen are not allowed to wear flags. Any player caught with a manipulated flag belt will be ejected from the game. Any player pulling his flag to stop or disrupt play will be ejected and a 15 yard penalty will be assessed.

It is illegal to put any substance of any kind on flags or the flag belt. Flags are to be returned to the referees at the conclusion of each game.

No (or Hidden) Flag belt:

If the ball-carrier loses his flag belt because of a defender, the play is dead at the point where the belt separated. A player wearing a towel, playbook or any other item covering a piece of the flag belt will be considered down if a defender pulls the item out. The following conditions result in one-hand touch:

  • the ball-carrier has no flag belt
  • the ball-carrier loses his flag belt without it being pulled
  • the ball-carrier's jersey covers the flags and the defense cannot pull the flag with ordinary effort
  • one of the pop flags falls out or is missing
  • the ball-carrier’s flags fall below the waist.

Jerseys

All players must wear a jersey with a number starting week 1. This is required for stat taking. Players must keep the same number throughout the season unless they change teams. If a player's jersey rips during a game the player is responsible for reporting to the stat keeper the number of the ripped and the replacement jersey number or if none is available, just the ripped number.

Note: Jerseys cannot cover flag belt. C ut-off style jerseys must end at least four inches above the flag belt.

Items Colored Like Football

Headgear or any other equipment or apparel which, in the opinion of the Referee, may confuse an opponent because of its similarity in color to that of the game football. If such color is worn, it must be broken by stripes or other patterns of sharply contrasting color or colors.

Adhesive, Slippery Substances

Adhesive or slippery substances on the body, equipment, or uniform of any player; provided, however, that players may wear gloves with a tackified surface if such tacky substance does not adhere to the football or otherwise cause handling problems for players.


Scoring

Types of Scoring Plays

Points are scored as follows:

  • Touchdown: 6 points
  • Field Goal: 3 points
  • Safety: 2 points;
  • Try after touchdown: 1 point (FG or TD from 5 Yard Line) or 2 points (TD from 10 Yard Line)

During a Try, the following shall apply:

  • If a kick results in a field goal by the offense, one point is awarded.
  • If a Try from the 5 results in a touchdown by either team, one point is awarded.
  • If a Try from the 10 results in a touchdown by either team, two points are awarded.
  • If the Try results in what would ordinarily be a safety against either team, one point is awarded to the opponent.
  • If any play results in a touchback, the Try is unsuccessful, and there shall be no replay.
  • The Try ends when:
  • either team scores
  • the ball is dead by rule
  • a fumble by either team is recovered by a teammate of the fumbling player


Offense

Formations

The offense must have at least 5 men on the LOS.

Eligible Receivers

Of the players on the line of scrimmage, only the ones on each end are eligible. Other players must be off the line of scrimmage by one yard to be eligible. These other receivers may be between the tackle and the end, between the end and the sideline, or in the backfield. Each tackle must be covered by an eligible receiver.

Motion

Any receiver in motion will be considered off the line of scrimmage. Only one man is allowed in motion at the snap. More than one man in motion at the same time is considered illegal motion.

Passes

One forward pass is allowed per play. A forward pass is a ball thrown or handed forward. A lateral is a ball thrown parallel to or backwards from the line of scrimmage. The quarterback can ground the ball to stop the clock immediately after taking the snap from any legal formation. It is an illegal forward pass if the pass is thrown with any part of the body beyond the line of scrimmage.

Legal Catch

For a legal catch, the player must secure control of the ball in his hands or arms prior to the ball touching the ground; and touch the ground inbounds with both feet or with any part of his body other than his hands

Carrying the Ball

The ball-carrier shall not :

  • flag shield
  • charge (attempt to run through defender)
  • dive to advance the ball
  • toss the ball to self

A ball-carrier that goes to the ground may get up and advance the ball unless touched by a defender before being on both feet again. A stiff-arm between the upper chest or shoulder is legal.

Going Out of Bounds

Any receiver who has by any means gone out of bounds may not catch, or be the first to touch, any pass. Re-establishing himself in bounds makes the pass complete, but his touching of the pass remains illegal.  

Bad Snaps

Snaps that hit the ground are considered fumbles.

Offensive Line

Offensive lines must have the center between the tackles. Offensive linemen are ineligible to take handoffs or catch passes unless tipped by a defensive player first. It’s ineligible receiver downfield if an offensive lineman is more than three yards past the line of scrimmage on a pass that crosses the line of scrimmage.

Centers Exchange

The ball must be snapped through the center's legs where possession of the ball must be transferred from the center to another player. Center sneak plays are illegal.

Tackle Eligible

T here are no restrictions on player numbers and eligible receivers. As long as the formation is legal, any player who is an eligible receiver may catch a pass. This includes players wearing numbers typically designated for offensive linemen.

Additionally, either or both of the “tackles” may go out for a pass provided their position is immediately filled by another offensive player who immediately becomes ineligible. A tackle intending to go out for a pass must report to the linesman prior to the snap. Failing to report will result in an ineligible tackle eligible penalty.

Sleeper Plays

Sleeper plays are illegal. To be eligible to participate in a given offensive play, a player must have been in the previous huddle and no player changes can occur during a no-huddle offense. These are illegal procedures.

Ball Retrieval

The offense is responsible for retrieving the ball and bringing it back to the linesman after each play. Any attempt by the defense to prevent or delay this can be considered delay of game on the defense.


Defense

Rushing the QB

Full rush.

Formations

Defenses may choose any defensive scheme they please with no restrictions on linemen.

Legal Contact Within 5 Yards

Within the area five yards beyond the line of scrimmage, a defensive player may chuck an eligible receiver in front of him. The defender is allowed to maintain continuous and unbroken contact within the five-yard zone, so long as the receiver has not moved beyond a point that is even with the defender.

Pass Defense

The defender cannot use contact to break up a pass play.

Tackling

Tackling is illegal and results in a 15 yard penalty. An official may deem a tackle as preventing a TD and award the TD in lieu of the penalty. This can happen anywhere on the field.

Pushing Out of Bounds

Pushing out of bounds is allowed with open hands between the waist and shoulders. Players already obviously heading out of bounds are not to be pushed. This rule is not to be abused as a way of “jacking up” a player, rather, it should be used only as a means of ending the play by directing the offensive player out of bounds. Unnecessary roughness will be called if in the judgement of the ref the defender used excessive force.

Obstruction

Holding the ball carrier in any way will be considered obstruction and result in a 10 yard penalty. An official may deem obstruction as preventing a TD and award the TD in lieu of the penalty. This can happen anywhere on the field.

Free Blitz

A free blitz is in effect, when any of the following occurs:

  • The quarterback moves outside the tackle box
  • An offensive player engages with a defensive lineman
  • The ball is handed-off.

If the blitz occurs before any of the above situations, it is not a free blitz.

Simulating the Snap

Simulating the cadence of the quarterback is considered an unsportsmanlike conduct foul.


Special Teams

Kickoff Line of Scrimmage

Teams kickoff from their own 40 yard line.

Kickoff

  • A kickoff puts the ball in play at the start of each half, after a try, and after a successful field goal. A dropkick or placekick may be used for a kickoff.
  • Note: During a placekick on a kickoff, the kicking team may use a manufactured tee that is one inch in height and approved by the League. Once the ball has been placed on the kicking tee, the kicking tee cannot be moved. If the ball falls off the tee, or the tee is moved, the covering officials must stop play and restart the timing process without penalty to the kicking team. If the ball falls off the tee a second time during the same free kick down, the kicking team then must either use a player to hold the ball or must kick it off the ground. The ball may be placed on the ground leaning against the tee, provided the tee is in its normal upright position.
  • A safety kick puts the ball in play after a safety. A dropkick, placekick, or punt may be used for a safety kick. A tee cannot be used for a safety kick. Safety kicks occur from the kicking team's 20 yard line.

Onsides Kick

The ball must travel past the opposing team's restraining line prior to a member of the kicking team touching it. Once it has traveled past the restraining line it becomes a live ball and normal live ball or fumble rules apply. The kicking team cannot advance a recovered onsides kick. If players of opposite teams become within two yards of each other and a live ball that has hit the ground, the play shall be whistled dead and the receiving team will be awarded possession.

Return Team

Muffs are fumbles. The receiving team must have four men on the restraining line prior to the kick. Fair catches are legal and indicated by the receiver waving one arm above his head while the ball is in the air.

Punts

  • Fake punts are legal. Offensive formation rules apply to punts.
  • The defense can rush and block punts. There is no diving to block a punt. Diving results in a 15 yard penalty and an automatic first down .
  • If the kicked ball is blocked and fails to cross the line of scrimmage, it may be picked up and advanced by either team according to the fumble rules. However, if it is picked up by the kicking team, the play is treated as any other play from scrimmage; i.e., if it is the team's final down, it must advance the ball beyond the first down marker in order to avoid a turnover on downs.
  • All muffs are considered fumbles, in which case the receiving team may advance the ball but the punting team may not. The receiver is allowed a 3-yard neutral zone to make the catch. Fair catches are legal and indicated by the receiver waving one arm above his head while the ball is in the air.

Field Goal s

A Field Goal or extra point kick is made by kicking the ball from the field of play through the plane of the opponents’ Goal, which is an area either between the goal posts and above the cross bar, or, if above the goal posts, between the outside edges of the goal posts. A Field Goal is made by a drop kick or a place kick  from (a) on or behind the line on a play from scrimmage. Kicking blocks less than or equal to two inches in height are legal. Where field goal posts do not exist, 2 members from the offensive team must hold up portable goal posts.

Fake Field Goals

Fake field goals are legal. Normal offensive formation and eligibility rules apply.

Defending a Field Goal

  • Normal defensive rules apply with the exception that players may not rush the “A” gap. Rushing the “A” gap is a 5 yard penalty. If the offense fires out into the “A” gap, the defense can then rush.
  • There is no diving to block a FG. Diving results in a 15 yard penalty and an automatic first down.
  • If the defense comes in high-impact contact with the holder, center or kicker, a 15 yard personal foul will be charged on the kickoff, and the player(s) involved may be ejected.

Placement After Missed Field Goal

If a missed or blocked field goal was attempted inside the 20, the ball comes out to the 20. If a missed field goal was attempted outside the 20, it comes back to the previous line of scrimmage. The exception is any returned field goal.

Returning a Field Goal

If a missed or blocked field goal or extra point is caught in the air by a defender before or in the end zone, it may be returned in the same manner as a punt. Missed or blocked field goals can  be returned for touchdowns and missed or blocked extra points for two points. In this case, it doesn't matter who (if anyone) touched the ball prior to the catch.   If a blocked field goal is in or behind the neutral zone, it is treated like a fumble  (normal fumble rules apply) and can be advanced by either team. Beyond the neutral zone, a blocked kick is treated like a punt and can be advanced only by the defense, unless a defensive player fumbles the ball, after which an offensive player can advance it.

Blocked Place Kicks

If a place kick is blocked and is caught in the air by a member of the kicking team on the kicking team’s side of the line of scrimmage, it may be advanced. If it is caught in the air by a member of the kicking team on the defensive side of the line of scrimmage, the play is dead at that spot. On a field goal, the offense cannot gain a new first down on a blocked kick except by penalty.


Instant Replay

The head coach, and only the head coach, can challenge the result of any play provided they have a timeout remaining and the game clock is not inside the two minute warning. For tim ing reasons, an instant replay challenge will charge a time-out regardless of whether it changes the result of the play. The head coach must specify what it is about the play he is challenging and there must be indisputable evidence to overturn a call. Coaches may purchase a red challenge flag or otherwise get the attention of either official to challenge a call. The coach may challenge anything about the play including whether a penalty did or did not occur. A challenge cannot change what happened after the whistle has been blown.

Only official UFL video is admissible to instant replay challenges.


Officials

The officiating crew will consist of a referee and a back judge. The referee is the head official and is also the linesman. The linesman is responsible for the line of scrimmage and offensive backfield. The back judge is responsible for the defensive backfield.

Ground Rules

On fields where ground rules are necessary, because of fixed conditions that cannot be changed, they will be made by the Commissioner. In the absence of the commissioner, the head official will make the call.

Inadvertent Whistles

If the whistle is blown prematurely, the team in possession at the time of the inadvertent whistle will have the choice of the play to the point of the whistle or the down over. If the ball is loose by punt, pass or kick at the time of the inadvertent whistle, the down is replayed.

Instant Replay

Both officials will review instant replay to determine the result of the play. The head official will make the final call.

Authority

The head official has the authority to eject players, coaches and fans from the game and the grounds. The head official also has the authority to suspend or end any game at any time if in their judgement it becomes necessary.


Gameday Information

Cleanup

Teams are responsible for cleaning up their own sidelines. Fields are difficult to secure, please do not put our fields at risk by leaving a mess.

Prohibited Items

There is to be no pets, radios, smoking, alcohol, drugs, weapons or any items prohibited by law on the premises. Anyone found violating these rules will face suspension and ban from the league. Legal action will be taken as is necessary. We are filming all of this, so don’t be stupid.

Rain Outs

The league does not own the fields and so we will need to cancel games due to weather as we’re told. We will publish on the league facebook page by 7:30 AM gameday if games are cancelled.

Forfeits

If the minimum number of players (6) is not present 15 minutes after the scheduled start time (even if the previous game ends late), a forfeit is declared. If players arrive late, but before the forfeit time, the time spent waiting is deducted from the first half, the team on time wins pre-game toss, and a 15-yard personal foul is assessed on the kickoff against the late team. Teams winning by forfeit will win by their average margin to zero. If their average margin is less than 2, they will win by a score of 2-0.

Flags

Referees will supply flag belts & flags to the head coach of each team prior to the game. The head coach is responsible for returning the flags to the ref at the end of the game. Teams not returning all the flags are responsible for purchasing the missing flag belts.

Waivers

Players must sign a waiver prior to participating in any game. Any player found participating without signing a waiver will face suspension and ban. Teams found playing with players who have not signed waivers can be forced to forfeit if the commissioner determines the act was intentional or otherwise deems it necessary. Waivers must be provided to the head official prior to the coin toss. Late players can provide one during a timeout by either team (not instant replay), or at halftime.

Prohibited Behavior

Any individual or team violating any of these items will face suspension and/or ban as is deemed necessary by the commissioner. No refunds will be given to individuals or teams violating any of these items.

UFL Staff

Threatening, harassing, assaulting or verbally abusive behavior towards UFL staff including referees, camera crew, sideline reporter, stat keepers, etc is strictly prohibited. This rule applies on and off the field (in public).

Fighting

Any and all fighting is strictly prohibited. Coaches are responsible for breaking up any fights involving their team and reporting any players involved. We do have a film crew but coaches may be asked for additional information.

Illicit Behavior

Anything that violates local ground rules or laws is strictly prohibited.


Tie-Breaking Rules

Two teams

  • Head-to-head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games between the teams).
  • Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the division.
  • Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games.
  • Strength of victory.
  • Strength of schedule.
  • Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
  • Best net points in common games.
  • Best net points in all games.
  • Best net touchdowns in all games.
  • Coin toss

Three or More teams

Note: If two teams remain tied after third or other teams are eliminated during any step, tie breaker reverts to step 1 of the two-team format.

  • Head-to-head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games among the teams).
  • Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the division.
  • Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games.
  • Strength of victory.
  • Strength of schedule.
  • Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
  • Best net points in common games.
  • Best net points in all games.
  • Best net touchdowns in all games.
  • Coin toss

Penalties

5 Yard Penalties

Penalty

Enforce From

Down

Delay of Game

5

Scrimmage

Replay

Encroachment

5

Scrimmage

Replay

False Start (dead ball)

5

Scrimmage

Replay

Helping the Runner

5

Spot

Counts

Holding Receiver

5

Scrimmage

First

Illegal Blitz

5

Scrimmage

Replay

Illegal Contact

5

Scrimmage

First

Illegal Equipment

5

Scrimmage

Replay

Illegal Formation

5

Scrimmage

Replay

Illegal Forward Pass

5

Spot

Counts

Illegal Motion

5

Scrimmage

Replay

Illegal Procedure (dead ball)

5

Scrimmage

Replay

Illegal Substitution

5

Scrimmage

Replay

Illegal Tackle Eligible

5

Scrimmage

Replay

Ineligible Player Downfield

5

Scrimmage

Replay

Intentional Grounding

5

Spot

Counts

Not Enough Players on LOS

5

Scrimmage

Replay

Simulating the Snap

5

Scrimmage

Replay

10 Yard Penalties

Penalty

Enforce From

Down

Block In Back

10

Spot

Counts

Blocking Downfield (ball in air)

10

Scrimmage

Counts

Charging

10

Spot

Counts

Diving with the Ball

10

Spot

Counts

Flag Shielding

10

Spot

Counts

Holding 1  

10

Scrimmage

Replay

Illegal Blocking

10

Spot

Counts

Ineligible Receiver Touching Ball First

10

Scrimmage

Replay

Obstruction 2

10

Play

Replay

Offensive Pass Interference

10

Scrimmage

Counts

Toss to Self 3

10

Spot

Counts

Tripping

10

Spot

Replay

15 Yard Penalties

Penalty

Enforce From

Down

Ball Stripping

15

Play

First

Block Below Waist (Defense) 4

15

Play

First

Block Below Waist (Offense) 4

15

Spot

Counts

Breaking-Up Pass with Contact (Def.)

15

Spot

First

Breaking-Up Pass with Contact (Off.)

15

Spot

Counts

Clipping

15

Spot

Counts

Flagrant Foul Defense

15

Spot

First

Flagrant Foul Offense

15

Spot

Counts

Going to Ground to Recover Loose Ball 5

15

Spot

Counts

Illegal Flag Pull

15

Play

First

Illegal Participation

15

Scrimmage

Replay

Illegal Sleeper

15

Scrimmage

Replay

Illegal Stiff Arm

15

Spot

Counts

Personal Foul (Defense)

15

Scrimmage

First

Personal Foul (Offense)

15

Scrimmage

Replay

Roughing the Holder/Center/Kicker

15

Play

First

Roughing the Passer

15

Play

First

Tackle 6

15

Play

First

Taunting (Dead-Ball or Defense)

15

Play

Counts

Taunting (Live-Ball Offense Only)

15

Spot

Counts

Unsportsmanlike Foul

15

Scrimmage

Replay

Other Penalties

Penalty

Enforce From

Down

Defensive Pass Interference

Spot

First

Non-Penalties

  • Celebrating is not a penalty unless a player is directly taunted with the celebration.
  • It is not a penalty to jump with the football as long as the player lands on his feet.

Penalty Annotations

1 - Holding in endzone is a safety.

2 - Obstruction is holding the ball carrier to prevent them from moving forward instead of pulling their flag.

3 - Tossing the ball in the air to avoid being the ball carrier when the flag is pulled.

4 - Automatic Ejection.

5 - The official can make the judgement that the opposing team would have recovered the loose ball had the penalty not been committed. In this case, the official can award possession to the other team in lieu of the penalty.

6 - The official can make the judgement that had the tackle not occurred the ball carrier would have scored a TD. In this event, they official shall reward the TD in lieu of the penalty.


Official Signals

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Upstate Flag League - 2017

Dynamic League Ops

Rulebook Version 1.0.1

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