Intramural Sports 4-on-4 Flag Football Rules

General Eligibility

  1. Participation is limited to currently enrolled students and members of the faculty and staff of the University of North Florida. All areas of eligibility are covered in the Intramural handbook which are available online and through the Campus Recreation Office.
  2. In order to participate in an Intramural contest each player must present their validated Osprey1 Card. NO ID, NO PLAY. NO EXCEPTIONS!!!
  3. Game time is forfeit time. 1 forfeit will result in a team being ineligible for the playoffs. A second forfeit will result in the team being dropped from the league.
  4. All participants must register with IMLeagues to play any sport. Instructions on how to register is located on the Intramural Sports website. Captains must have the minimum number of players needed to play 4 on 4 Flag Football before they are allowed to sign up for a time slot.
  5. Adding Players – Players must be added on their team’s roster using IMLeagues (players must register first, then request to join a team, or team captains can send invitations to players to join their team) prior to participating in an Intramural contest. Players can be added at the field/court. Players may be added through the playoffs.

Team Composition

  1. Roster limit is 10 players. Players can compete on only one men's/women's team, regardless of league classification. However, players can compete on a men’s/women’s team and a CoRec team. Suspended players may not be replaced. Roster additions can be made on the field before a game provided that player has not already played for another men’s/women’s team. If a player signs up and plays for another team after he/she has already played for their original team, the second team the player plays for will receive a forfeit and be ineligible for the playoffs. Team rosters are locked at the end of the regular season.
  2. Each team consists of four (4) players, one of whom is captain. Only the captain may address an official on matters of interpretation or to obtain essential information if it is done in a courteous manner. All players must present their valid UNF ID card at the game site to sign-in to participate.
  3. Three (3) players must be present for a game to begin. Players who arrive late may be added to the roster and may enter the game during a dead-ball period. (CoRec) For CoRec play, each team will consist of four (4) players: two (2) women and two (2) men. Substitutions are allowed on a man-for-man and woman-for-woman basis only. A team may begin with 3 players: two (2) men and one (1) woman, or two (2) women and one (1) man. These three combinations are the only combinations allowed for playing a CoRec game.


  1. The ball specifications: The official ball shall be pebble-grained leather or rubber covered and shall meet the recommendations of size and shape for a regulation football. Men shall use the regular size while women shall use the intermediate, junior, or youth size. The regular, intermediate, junior, or youth size football shall be used for CoRec games.
  2. Players of opposing teams must wear contrasting colored jerseys. Jerseys must be either:
    • a. Long enough so they remain tucked in the pants/shorts during the entire down or
    • b. Short enough so there is a minimum of 4" from the bottom of the jersey to the player’s waistline.
    • c. The referee will use a closed fist to measure the distance between the waistline and the bottom of the jersey.
    • d. Jerseys cannot have any exposed knots in them.
    • ***Each player must wear pants or shorts without any belt, belt loops, pockets, or exposed drawstrings***
  3. Each player must wear a one-piece belt at the waistline with three flags permanently attached, one flag on each side and one in the center of the back. The flags must be of a contrasting color to their opponent's flags. (Flags provided by UNF Intramural Sports are the only flags allowed to be worn during UNF Intramural flag football games).
  4. Each player must wear shoes. They must be made of soft, pliable upper material (canvas, leather or synthetic), which covers the foot attached to a composition bottom, which may have cleats or be cleat less.
  5. Player equipment optional:
    • Players may use an ace bandage no more than two (2) turns thick in any given area. It can be anchored at each end by tape not to exceed two (2) turns.
    • Players may wear gloves, which must consist of a soft, pliable and non-abrasive material.
    • Players may wear a knit or stocking cap. The cap may have no bill.
    • Players may wear a headband no wider than 2 inches and made of non-abrasive unadorned single-colored cloth, elastic, fiber, soft leather or rubber. Rubber or cloth elastic bands may be used to control hair.
    • Players may wear soft, pliable basketball or wrestling kneepads on the leg, knee and/or ankle.
    • It is strongly recommended that all players wear a mouthpiece.
  6. Player equipment illegal: A player wearing illegal equipment shall not be permitted to play. This applies to any equipment, which, in the opinion of the referee, is dangerous or confusing. Types of equipment or substances, which shall always be declared illegal include:
    • Headgear containing any hard, unyielding, or stiff material, including billed hats, or items containing exposed knots.
    • Jewelry
    • Pads or braces worn above the waist.
    • Shoes with metal, ceramic, screw-in, or detachable cleats. EXCEPTION: Screw-in cleats are allowed if the screw is part of the cleat.
    • Shirts or jerseys, which do not remain tucked in. Any hood on a coat, sweatshirt, or shirt, which does not remain tucked in. Tear-away jerseys or jerseys that have been altered in any manner, which produces a knot-like protrusion or creates a tear-away jersey.
    • Pants or shirts with belt loops, pockets, or exposed drawstring.
    • Leg and knee braces made of hard, unyielding material, unless covered on both sides and all edges overlapped, and any other hard substance is covered with at least 1/2 inch of closed cell slow recovery rubber or other material of similar thickness and physical properties.
    • Any slippery or sticky foreign substance on any equipment or exposed part of the body.
    • Equipment, which includes computers or any electronic or mechanical devices for communication.
    • Towels attached at the player's waist.
  7. When any required player equipment is missing or when illegal equipment is found on an incoming substitute or player, correction must be made before participation. An official's time-out shall be declared to permit prompt repair of equipment, which becomes illegal or defective through use.


Game Time & Length

  1. Game time is forfeit time. A team needs at least three (3) legal players to begin the game. Any team that forfeits a game will not be eligible for the playoffs. If a team has half of the minimum number of players signed in they will be not be charged a forfeit, just a loss with a 2.5 sportsmanship rating. Teams should call the IM Coordinator (620-2646) at least 24 hours in advance if they know they will not make their game to avoid a forfeit.
  2. Games consist of two 12 minute halves. The clock will run continuously throughout both halves, but will stop with one (1) minute left in the game. At the end of the first 12 minutes, the teams will switch ends of the field, but will not change possession.
  3. Time Outs: Teams will receive one (1) time out per game.
  4. Overtime Procedures: If the game is tied at the end of regulation, an overtime period will be played. A coin toss will take place to determine offense/defense, and each team will get one equal possession starting from their opponent's 5 yard line, in which they have have one play to score. No extra point plays will be run. If more overtime periods are needed, the teams will flip-flop possession until a winner is determined.

General Rules

  1. A coin toss determines first possession. The winner of the coin toss must choose offense, defense, or direction. There is no defers to the second half. The loser of the coin toss will have next choice of what’s left.
  2. The offensive team starts from their 5 yard line and must have at least 2 players on the line of scrimmage.
  3. The offensive team has 3 plays to cross mid-field (20 yard line) to gain a new set of downs. Once they have crossed mid-field, they then have 3 plays to score a touchdown.
  4. There are no punts; if a team fails to cross the next zone line to gain in their 3 plays, then it is a turnover on downs.
  5. On any turnover on downs, the ball will be spotted on the offense’s 5 yard line.
  6. Scoring:
    • Touchdown – 6 points (no point differences in CoRec)
    • Extra Point – 1 point (5 yard line), 2 points (10 yard line)
    • Safety – 2 points
    • Mercy Rule - If a team is up by 19 or more points with 1 minute remaining in the game, the game will be declared over.
  7. Running the Ball:
    • The Quarterback (person receiving the snap) must be at least 2 yards behind the center
    • No offensive player may run the ball across the scrimmage line.
    • Absolutely NO handoffs, laterals, or pitches of any kind.
  8. Passing/Receiving the Ball:
    • All passes must be forward and received beyond the line of scrimmage.
    • Shovel passes are allowed, but must be beyond the line of scrimmage.
    • The Quarterback (person receiving the snap) has a 5 second “pass clock” to either throw the ball or hand it off. If the Quarterback does neither before the 5seconds are up, the play is whistled dead, with a loss of down and the ball being placed back at the previous line of scrimmage.
    • If a ball is intercepted, the ball becomes dead at the spot and will be placed there for the new offense’s set of downs. If the ball is intercepted in the end zone, the ball will be placed at the 5 yard line.
    • All players are eligible to receive a pass, provided they are beyond the line of scrimmage.
    • Only one player may be in motion at a time.
    • For a catch to be legal, the receiver must have at least one foot in bounds.
  9. Rushing the Quarterback
    • All players that rush the Quarterback must be behind the 7 yard ball spotter.
    • Players not rushing the Quarterback must be 1 yard off of the offensive scrimmage line.
  10. Open/Closed
    • The term "closed,” means a male player may not throw a forward pass completion to any other male player. The term "open" means any player can complete a forward pass to any other player.
    • If the crew of officials erroneously indicates the “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.
    • During the offensive team's possession there may not be 2 consecutive forward pass completions from a male passer to a male receiver. This rule applies to the try-for-point.
    • If a male passer completes a forward pass to a male receiver, the next 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 (first ball spotter). There is no foul for a female receiver being tagged or deflagged behind the team (A) scrimmage line. The next forward pass completion remains "closed".
    • There are no other restrictions concerning a male passer completing forward passes to a female receiver, or female to female, female to male.
    • Any foul, whether accepted or declined, shall have no effect on whether the next forward pass completion is "open" or "closed".
  11. Ball declared dead - a live ball becomes dead and an official shall sound the whistle or declare it dead:
    • When it goes out-of-bounds.
    • When any part of the runner other than a hand or foot touches the ground.
    • When a touchdown, touchback, safety, or successful try-for-point is made.
    • When a forward pass strikes the ground or is caught simultaneously by opposing players.
    • When a fumble by a player touches the ground or is caught simultaneously by opposing players. A ball snapped, which hits the ground before or after getting to the intended receiver, is dead at the spot where it hits the ground. NOTE: If in doubt, the snap close to the ground remains alive.
    • When a forward pass is legally completed, or a player catches a loose ball on, above, or behind the opponent's goal line.
    • When a runner has a flag belt removed legally by a defensive player. A flag belt is removed when the clip is detached from the belt.
    • When a runner is legally tagged with one hand between the shoulders and knees, including the hand and arm, once the flag belt is no longer attached.
    • When a passer is deflagged/tagged prior to releasing the ball. NOTE: If in doubt as to the release or not, the ball is released.
    • When an official sounds his/her whistle inadvertently during a down or during a down in which the penalty for a foul is declined, when:
      • The ball is in player possession - the team in possession may elect to put the ball in play where declared dead or replay the down.
      • The ball is loose from a fumble, backward pass, illegal kick, or illegal forward pass - the team in possession may elect to put the ball in play where possession was lost or replay the down.
      • During a legal forward pass or a free or protected scrimmage kick - the ball is returned to the previous spot and the down replayed.


Field and General Game Specifications

  1. 4 on 4 Flag Football is played on a field 40 yards long and 25 yards wide, with 7 yard end-zones.
  2. The game shall be played under the supervision of 2 officials. The officials are: referee and back judge. Each coach shall designate to the referee the team captain or captains. If more than one player is designated, a speaking captain must be selected to make all decisions. The captain's first choice of any penalty option shall be irrevocable; decisions involving penalties shall be made before any charged time-out is granted to either team. Team representatives, including players, substitutes, replaced players, coaches, trainers, spectators, and other persons affiliated with the team are subject to the rules of the game, and shall be governed by decisions of officials assigned to the game.
  3. The lines bounding the sidelines and the end zones are out-of-bounds in their entirety, and the inbounds area is bound by the lines. The entire width of each goal shall be a part of the end zone.
  4. Three (3) ball spotters (rubber disks) are required; one will mark the team [A] (offensive team) scrimmage line. The second will mark the team [B] (defensive team) scrimmage line. The third will mark the defensive rush line. The defensive scrimmage line will be one (1) yard off of the offensive scrimmage line, and the rush line will be seven (7) yards off of the offensive scrimmage line.


  1. There is no contact allowed.
  2. All penalties will be 5 yards.
  3. All unsportsmanlike penalties will be 10 yards.


  1. The purpose of Intramural Sports is to provide a recreational environment for the University community which is safe and enjoyable. While the game atmosphere is often competitive, ensuring participant safety, providing a fun, social atmosphere, and promoting sportsmanlike behavior among participants, spectators, and team followers are our primary concerns. The game atmosphere should remain good-natured at all times. Participants shall maintain good sportsmanship throughout their participation in all facets of the intramural program.
  2. The Sportsmanship Rating System is intended to be an objective scale by which teams' attitude and behavior is assessed throughout the intramural sports league and playoff seasons. Behavior before, during, and after an intramural sports contest is included in the rating. The team captain is responsible for educating and informing all players and spectators affiliated with his/her team about the system.
  3. A team is responsible for the actions of the individual team members and spectators related to it. Additionally, UNF Intramural Sports does not recognize the use of coaches. Only the team captain shall speak to the officials regarding administrative matters (protests, ejections, disqualifications, etc). Furthermore, the team captain's efforts in assisting officials/staff to calm difficult situations and to restrain troubled teammates are key to controlling team conduct.
  4. Sportsmanship is vital to the conduct of every Intramural contest. In order to encourage proper conduct during games, officials, administrative personnel, and supervisors shall make decisions on whether to warn, penalize or eject players or teams for poor sportsmanship. These decisions are final. The Intramural Sports administrative staff will rule on further penalties as a result of unsportsmanlike conduct.
  5. Each participant should choose his or her team members carefully, as all team members will suffer the consequences of any disciplinary action taken by the Intramural Sports staff against that team for violation of the intramural rules and sportsmanship guidelines. Protests or appeals of sportsmanship ratings will not be recognized. The Intramural Sports administrative staff reserves the right to review any rating given to a team.
  6. Teams are graded by the officials on a scale of 1-4, 4 being the highest, each game. Teams must maintain a 2.85 sportsmanship rating throughout the season to be eligible for the playoffs. Teams must also maintain a 2.85 sportsmanship rating during the playoffs to remain eligible. The maximum sportsmanship grade a team with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty can receive is a 2.5 for that game.
  7. Any individual that receives 3 unsportsmanlike penalties throughout the course of the season and playoffs will be ineligible for further competition in that sport and subject to further suspension from future Intramural contests. Any team that receives 5 unsportsmanlike penalties throughout the course of the season and playoffs will automatically be dropped from competition and the captain will be subject to further suspension from future Intramural contests. 


  1. All teams that have not forfeited a game and have a sportsmanship rating of 2.85 or higher will be eligible for the playoffs. Depending on the number of teams, a league could be split into a “Blue” league: teams with records of .500 or better, or “Grey” league: teams with records below .500. Teams must maintain a 2.85 sportsmanship rating throughout the playoffs to remain eligible. Any team that receives a 0, 1, or 2 sportsmanship grade during the playoffs is subject to forfeiture.
  2. The playoff schedule will be determined by the number of teams playing and the court space/time available. There are no guaranteed times once the playoffs start, teams must do what they can to make their games.