Rules for Co-Ed Flag Football

Last Updated December 1, 2019

Modified Co-Ed Rules

We've made some adjustments to our co-ed league rules to make it more fun and encourage participation. Scroll below to see a full list of league rules and regulations.

All SARC Leagues follow our general rules and regulations. A team captain is the ONLY person that is allowed to speak to the referees during the course of the game about calls, fouls, etc. The team captain is expected to address the referees and staff in a respectful manner that follows the SARC guidelines. We have a strict sportsmanship policy. Poor sportsmanship will not be tolerated and offenders will be banned from the league.

Females are no longer required
Co-Ed is no longer mandatory for teams. Any team can recruit as many males and females as they'd like for their team. There is no longer a female minumum needed to play. Each team shall play with 6 players on the field at one time (any gender). The minimum required is 4.

Female Scoring
Co-Ed scoring is still in place - use this to your advantage! Touchdowns are worth 6 points for males, 9 points for females (except if the play starts inside the 5 Yard No Run Zone, then is worth only 6 points for any gender). Extra points are worth 1&2 for males and 2&3 for females.

Registration & Rosters

  1. All participants of the SARC Flag Football league must sign the waiver form and pay the league registration fee in order to participate.
  2. Each team shall play with 6 players on the field at one time (any gender). The minimum required is 4. Rosters should consist of 6-10 players, all of whom must be sign the waivers PRIOR to playing in the game. You can have females play in place of males but not vice versa.
  3. Teams may use guest players as long as they sign waivers. Any team using illegal players will forfeit the game. During playoffs, if a team is short, a team may recruit a sub(s) for $20 but teams cannot recruit players from another team.

Team Captain

  1. Each team should have a team captain that is responsible for registering the team.
  2. The team captain needs to attend "coin toss" at beginning of game and is the ONLY person that is allowed to speak to the referees during the course of the game about calls, fouls, etc. The team captain is expected to address the referees and staff in a respectful manner that follows the SARC guidelines.
  3. The team captain shall serve as the "liaison" between SARC and their team, and is expected to attend captains meetings, and notify teammates of cancellations, changes, rules, policies, etc.


  1. Shorts/pants must be worn that are not red/yellow (flag colors). It is highly suggested that the shorts/pants do not have pockets, belt loops, belts, etc. as a method to reduce injury.
  2. Closed-toe shoes must be worn: sneakers or cleats are acceptable; BUT NO METAL CLEATS OR SPIKES are allowed.
  3. Teams are encouraged to wear team jerseys, however, teams must at least wear the same color shirts if jerseys are not worn. Pinnies will be provided in the event that two teams wear the same color shirts. Shirts must be tucked in or worn tight so as to not provide protection from a flag pull.
  4. Flags will be provided by SARC, and only SARC flags can be worn (unless approved). SARC flags will be red or yellow; therefore, teams must not wear red or yellow shorts/pants to hide the flags. Any attempt to illegally secure a flag will result in a loss of down and a 10-yard penalty from the previous spot.
  5. SARC will provide a game ball for each field, but teams are permitted to use their own ball as long as it is size appropriate. No junior size footballs are permitted. Youth footballs and bigger are allowed.
  6. No glasses unless prescription and no hats unless completely soft.
  7. Shorts/pants with pockets must have pockets pulled completely out.

Playing Field

  1. Fields are 80 yards long and 30 yards wide. The field has 10-yard end zones on each end. First downs will be at the 15-yard line, 30-yard line (midfield), and the opposing 15-yard line.
  2. Post scoring drive possession begins at the 10-yard marker.
  3. No run zones are within 5 yards of the attacking end zone.



  1. SARC will provide 2 referees for each game. The line judge will stand approximately at the first down marker and will keep track of the official score and watch for rule and regulation infractions.
  2. The back judge will keep track of time, play clock, and also watch for rule and regulation infractions. Both referees will responsible for keeping track of down and score.

Game Policies

  1. Coin toss at pregame will determine who gets ball first and who defends what side. The second half will begin with the other team getting the ball and both teams switching sides.
  2. The game will consist of (2) 20-minute halves. There will be a running clock except for the last 2 minutes of the halves (exception of timeouts and serious injury).
  3. Teams will have 2 one-minute timeouts per game that can be used at any time.
  4. Time will be stopped if the same team commits back-to-back pre-snap penalties if their team is winning, and will restart on the snap.
  5. If a team calls timeout after a Touchdown, the clock will restart on the next possession, not on the extra point.
  6. During the final 2 minutes of the game the referee will use the "college clock" at these circumstances: incomplete pass, player going out of bounds, either team scores (extra point is untimed as well), timeout called, change of possession, a penalty which must be marked off.
  7. Neither half can end with a defensive penalty.
  8. The clock will stop for a 2-minute warning in both halves.
  9. Mercy rule is 20 points, at which point the clock will run continuously during the final 2 minutes. But you will play the entire game.
  10. Each team is allowed 30 seconds to snap the ball once the ball has been spotted.
  11. A game is considered "official" when it reaches halftime. If game terminated due to weather after halftime, then it counts. If game doesn't reach halftime, then it will be replayed from beginning.
  12. Teams are expected to be at the field ready to play at the time the game is supposed to start. A10-minute window will be allowed, but then the clock starts and the opposing team will receive 6 points every ten minutes until halftime including 6 points after the initial 10 minute grace period ends. By halftime a forfeit will take place.
  13. Regular season games can end in a tie.

General Rules:


  1. Tie games remain ties until playoffs if not resolved after 2OTs (unless game started late). Refer to overtime section for ties.
  2. Touchdowns worth 6 points (female TD's worth 9), 1 and 2 point conversions are worth those amounts (2&3 if female play). 1-point extra points are taken from 3 yards from goal line and 2-point conversions are taken from 7 yards from goal line. *ANY TOUCHDOWN PLAY THAT STARTS INSIDE THE 5 YARD NO RUN ZONE ONLY COUNTS FOR 6 POINTS REGARDLESS OF GENDER (excludes extra points).
  3. Extra point conversions can be intercepted and returned for 1 or 2 points (2 or 3 if intercepted and scored by a female).
  4. Extra point fouls are conducted as normal.
  5. If unsportsmanlike conduct occurs during or after a TD, the opposing team can either choose to enforce penalty on PAT or their next possession.

First Downs

  1. Each team shall have 4 plays/downs to either score or earn another first down. First downs are earned by rushing/receiving the ball past the next cone/1st down marker. If a TD or 1st down is failed to be reached, ball goes to the other team. Offensive teams may elect to punt on 4th down.
  2. A punt must be "declared" and cannot be faked. All punts are "rush free" and unopposed. No snap is needed for the punt, and a dropped snap is not a fumble. Punts must be kicked (CANNOT BE THROWN). 4 players from the receiving team must be on the line of scrimmage until the ball is kicked, and there is absolutely NO BLOCKING OF A PUNT. There is NO BLOCKING AT THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE either. The kicking team may not cross the line of scrimmage until the ball is kicked. A punt must be caught in the air or after 1 bounce to be returned for yards. If ball hits the ground twice it is dead right at that spot of 2nd bounce. A punt that goes out of the end zone is a touchback. If clock is stopped prior to punt then clock will start on catch of punt or on next snap. Momentum into the end zone will not count as a safety.

Spot of Ball

  1. The ball will be spotted where the ball is at the time of the ball carrier's flag has been pulled. The ball must cross the plane of the goal line/first down line for a TD/1st down to be awarded.
  2. Receivers only need 1 foot in bounds for a reception. If in the referee's eyes a receiver would have been able to legally catch a pass but was pushed out of bounds by a defender while in the air, they will be awarded a catch and the penalty. On the line is OUT.
  3. If the ball hits the ground on a snap for either a pass or running play, the play is "dead" and the ball is spotted where it touched the ground, and it's a loss of down.


  1. A change of possession can only occur on an interception of a pass. A fumble is not a turnover. The ball is dead at the point the ball hits the ground and offense retains possession. A lateral can be intercepted, but when dropped counts as a dead ball.


  1. May be made during a dead ball, but must be on or off before the next play is snapped.
  2. If a player enters the huddle on offense, another player must leave. It is an "illegal substitution" penalty of 10 yards if you break huddle with more than 6 players.


  1. The QB or throwing player has 7 seconds to make a pass or get the ball past the line of scrimmage (if no rush from the defense), but cannot run unless rushed.
  2. A backwards pass/lateral that is dropped will be spotted where it lands and the clock does not stop.


  1. All players are eligible to receive passes, except players behind the LOS in the "no run zone".
  2. The receiver must have at least 1 foot in bounds when making a catch.

Running Plays

  1. NO handoffs are allowed. Laterals are allowed. But the ball must be passed forward within the NO RUN ZONE.
  2. The QB does not have to be lined up behind center or have to call cadence.
  3. The QB or any player can only run past LOS if rushed by a defender or after a forward pass.

Forward Progress

  1. The balls forward progress is measured from the farthest advancement of the ball, not the hips.
  2. Defense has the option if the ball is dropped of either where the ball landed, or where it left the players hand.

Dead Balls

  1. The ball is dead when it hits the ground.
  2. If the ball is in the players hand and it touches the ground. However, the hand not holding the ball doesn't matter if it touches the ground.
  3. You can only "recover a fumble" if this ball has left the hand and not touched the ground yet.
  4. Play is dead when the flag of the ball carrier is pulled.
  5. If a player's flag "falls off" he/she is not down unless defender touches the ball carrier below the neck.
  6. If the ball carrier's knee touches the ground.
  7. If the ball carrier goes out of bounds.

Rushing the QB and Crossing the LOS

  1. Rushers must be 7 yards beyond LOS when the ball is snapped.
  2. Any number of players may rush.
  3. An official will designate the 7 yard rushing mark: if the offense is in "hurry up", offense must wait for markers to be set and say "line is set".
  4. If the rusher enters the 7 yard neutral zone before the snap, he must get back behind the 7 yard mark before the snap of the ball or he can not rush that down. After the ball is snapped he can't go back to the 7 yard mark and then rush. He is not eligible to rush that play.
  5. Rusher may go for the flags or to block the pass. He can not hit the QB's hand or arm: this is illegal contact.
  6. No player is allowed to bat the ball out of any player's hand: this is a penalty.
  7. The rusher can be defended by the "offensive line" by means of shuffling their feet to get in the way. Hands cannot be on each other.
  8. Once the ball has been pitched all defensive players are allowed to cross the LOS and rush even if they are not behind the 7 yard mark. If the QB has not released the ball only the players behind the 7 yard rush mark can cross the LOS or it is an "illegal rush".

No Contact At The LOS

  1. Players acting as offensive linemen must have hands behind their back or at their side when protecting the QB from the rushing defense. There is to be no contact at or behind the line of scrimmage. Offensive linemen can shuffle their body at any particular angle in an attempt to direct the rushers to a particular area, but they may not physically put hands on them. (This rule is put in to protect some people/genders from being bulldozed over by other people/genders).

A safety will be scored if a player:

  1. Is considered down in their own end zone (not on a punt return)
  2. Runs out of bounds in their own end zone
  3. Snaps the ball into or out of the end zone
  4. Fumbles the ball in their own end zone
  5. ***As a result of a safety, the team on defense gets 2 points, and the offensive team must now punt the ball from the 10 yard line.


  1. Once the receiver touches the ball the defender can pull the flag. If the catch is made the ball is spotted at the point of the flag pull even if the receiver juggles the catch and gets possession farther down field. This eliminates players tipping the ball to him self for additional yardage. It does not matter if the tip was intentional or not. If a defender touches the ball after the receiver touches it this rule starts all over again.
  2. If the player starts the play without complete flags and receives the ball in anyway he is down at the point of his possession; if he gets it in their own end zone it is a safety. If a player's flag falls off without being pulled by an opponent he is not down, but only must be touched for the tackle.
  3. If a center hikes the ball without a complete set of flags he is down right there. Clock rolls if fewer than two minutes.
  4. It is an illegal flag pull if on a throw back the flag is pulled late in the eyes of the ref; or when a ref thinks that a defender pulls a flag of someone not with the ball on purpose.


  1. Offensive penalties are 5 yards from LOS and loss of down, except flag guarding which is 5yards from the spot of infraction.
  2. Defensive penalties are 5 yards from the LOS and sometimes automatic 1st down.
  3. On a defensive pass interference the offense gets a first down and 10 yards.
  4. During the final 2 minutes on an offensive penalty the clock starts when the ball is set and refs are ready.
  5. "Flag throwing" rule. Deliberately throwing a flag away from the opponent in the last 2 minutes of the game will; stop the clock, 5 yard penalty and a first down.
  6. It is a penalty to hit the ball out of the opponent hand.
  7. If an offensive player laterals the ball, it is up to the defense where the ball is spotted: either where it hits the ground OR where ball was when left his hand. It is considered a lateral if the player throws the ball down short of the first down.
  8. No cussing at another player on the field or SARC officials/staff.

Offensive Penalties

  1. Illegal motion- more than one man in motion at the same time or forward motion before the ball is snapped.
  2. Illegal pass- QB releasing the ball beyond the LOS.
  3. Interference- Pick play, pushing off defender, holding, illegal contact.
  4. Flag guarding- swiping away defenders hand during flag pulling attempt.
  5. Stiff arming- Pushing away defender.
  6. Illegal contact- Blocking, holding, picks, pushing player out of bounds.
  7. Offside / False start= Forward movement prior to the snap or lining up offside.
  8. Moving screen- Running along with ball carrier in order to prevent defense from flag pull.
  9. Charging- If a defender is set an offensive player can not run him over or throw his hips into the defender.
  10. Unsportsmanlike conduct- Excessive contact, rough play. Two unsportsmanlike penalties and you will be thrown out of game, and also be subject to a suspension. You CAN be ejected for remainder of game if SARC staff or either ref thinks it warrants it on the first penalty. This is also a spot foul or a 10-yard penalty, defense choice.

Defensive Penalties

  1. Offside
  2. Illegal flag pull - Intentionally pulling flag before a player touches ball.
  3. Illegal flag pull - Pulling flag late in refs judgment of the QB who throws the double pass.
  4. Holding - 10 yard penalty from LOS if ball not thrown yet.
  5. Pass interference- If ball is thrown then spot foul.
  6. Unsportsmanlike conduct - Excessive contact, rough play. Two unsportsmanlike penalties and you will be thrown out of game, and also be subject to a suspension. You CAN be ejected for remainder of game if SARC staff or either ref thinks it warrants it on the first penalty. This is also a spot foul or a 10-yard penalty, offense choice.

Addressing the Officials

  1. Only the designated team captain may ask the referee questions about rule clarification and interpretations.
  2. Players cannot question judgment calls.
  3. Do not get too close to the ref. The ref has a 2-yard "buffer zone" which he may enforce as unsportsmanlike conduct if you get inside it (in his face).
  4. During controversial matters teams will go to their sidelines while the refs discuss the ruling. If you don't agree with the call (and you won't sometimes) understand this is part of the game that is not perfect and we all have to deal with it. Every attempt is made to give you the fairest games possible.
  5. All teams are required to have a copy of the league rules. If you believe the ref has made a mistake concerning the rules, call time-out, consult your rulebook and then present your case in a sportsmanlike manner. If you are correct, your time-out will not be charged. If you are out of time-outs a 5-yard penalty and loss of down will be incurred. You are responsible to know the rules.
  6. Verbally abusing the staff or anyone on our property will get you ejected quickly and possibly suspended from the league. Continue this from the sideline and your team will forfeit the game.
  7. Refs and players are to show respect for each other. Repeat offenders of poor sportsmanship will not be tolerated.

Overtime (playoffs only)

  1. Flip for possession.
  2. Both teams get equal possessions. No sudden death
  3. Go for extra points 1 or 2.
  4. No ties.
  5. Interceptions may be returned for scores.
  6. Re-flip after every 2 overtimes.
  7. In the 3rd overtime teams must go for 2 point conversions.
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