This has been updated as of 10/4/23.
Any additional clarifications to this document will be communicated to the teams prior to the tournament.

WAIVER

  • Every participant must sign game day waivers prior to participation. If you register online, then you will have signed the waiver. If you do a paper registration, then it is the responsibility of the head coach/team captain to provide these signed waivers to the event coordinator.

CONDUCT- Special Olympics is committed to the highest ideals of sport and expects all athletes to honor sport and Special Olympics. There will be absolutely zero tolerance for unsportsmanlike (UNS) conduct.

Sportsmanship.
Practice good sportsmanship.
Do not use bad language.
Do not swear or insult other persons.
Do not make inappropriate or unwanted physical, verbal, or sexual advances on others.
Do not fight with other athletes, officials, coaches, volunteers, or staff.

Anyone who engages in UNS conduct will severely impact his/her team & and his/her chances of resuming play.

  • If a player receives two UNS penalties, they will be ejected for the rest of the game & and possibly the next game(s) as well.
  • A player who attempts to throw a punch, kick, or knee an opponent will be ejected for the rest of the tournament.
  • If a player is ejected from the game, he/she has one minute to completely leave the field. If the player does not comply, the referee can declare a forfeit and the other team will be awarded the victory.
  • If a team comes off its sideline onto the field or to the other sideline during an altercation, the game could be a forfeit victory being awarded to the other team.
  • Cursing at a ref will result in immediate ejection from the game. Captains are the only ones allowed to respectfully discuss plays & and other questions permitted within reason with/ Referees.

TEAM CAPTAINS/REFEREES

  • The team captains/referees are responsible for making players aware of rules & and regulations prior to participation in any game, or at any time during the game.
  • Captains are the only people allowed to respectfully discuss plays or other questions with Referees.
  • For safety issues, teams will not be allowed on the field prior to their respective games until about 5-10 minutes before their scheduled start times. Most teams will have less than 10 minutes before the start of their games to warm up. All warm-up passes will be directed toward the sidelines we are using, no passing will be permitted towards the middle of the actual stadium field /barrier, no exceptions!
  • Security Guards will restrict all non-players and teams who are not playing from entering the field area.

TEAMS

  • Teams consist of 6 players. Rosters may include up to 15 players per team.
  • A team must have at least 4 players present to start a game. Can play 4 on 4, 4 on 5, 5-5, 5-6.
  • Players may only be on one team roster each day, however, they may be on a roster in a different division on the same day, if both divisions/teams are playing at the same time due to a conflict of schedule, the player will only be allowed to play for one team at that time. Tournament Directors/Senior Directors will have the final determination. Players will not be allowed to play on two different fields at the same time.
  • Three downs per possession.
  • COED teams must have 3 women on the field for each game/or play with 1 less player (ie:2 F and 3 M).
  • COED by 2nd down female must have thrown a forward pass over the LOS or had one attempted pass to them.
  • COED – 8 points awarded as follows:
    • A female catches a thrown pass in the end zone &/or runs after receiving the pass into the end zone.
    • The female is QB and throws a pass for a touchdown.
    • The female intercepts the ball – Points will not be doubled here, the Defense will still receive 4 points as is awarded to the defense in Non-Coed Games. Play is over once possession by the defense is completed.
    • Extra Point values remain the same.
      NOTE: Not an 8-point TD if a Male catches the ball and laterals to a female to score. (No laterals).
  • The Co-Ed Division/Women’s Division will be allowed to use a smaller approved ball by the officials – like a Wilson TDY.

EQUIPMENT

  • Flags must be worn at the waist with one flag on each side of the player’s hip “flaring out”. No article of clothing may cover any part of a player’s belt. Shirts must be tucked in or pulled under the belt so the entire flag from post to flag is accessible. The referee must see your post (flag attached to Sonic Pop).
  • Players may wear athletic shoes with plastic or rubber cleats. Metal cleats are prohibited.

TIME

  • Games 30 minutes in length. Clock stops on injuries or at the ref’s discretion.
  • No Time out per game; 25-sec play clock; 10-sec warning by referee with a 5,4,3,2,1 count down by Referee.
  • In the last minute of any game, penalties, changes of possessions & scores will stop the clock & will start on the ready-for-play once we set the ball for the new series for the offense (in the last minute the extra point the clock will not run). After third down, the clock will stop to reset the ball with change of possession, refs will blow ball into play and clock will start on the ready (unless in playoffs a team uses a timeout (TO), clock will then start on the snap after the change of possession but not on the extra point try either.
  • Playoffs (elimination rounds) there will be two-time outs (TO) per team per game, but all that will be is a 25-second play clock TO, so get back in the huddle and get your playoff before the TO play clock expires.

RULES AND REGULATIONS

  • Games begin with a coin toss; the winner chooses to receive the ball or defend a goal. If a team is >10 minutes late to report to the field, the game is forfeited. If late to report, a coin toss is automatically deferred to the on-time team.
  • All activities/playing/warming up with balls will cease once the conference for the coin toss is announced.
  • Teams will switch sides on each possession. Both teams will go the same way.
  • To start the game & after each score (including a safety), the ball will be placed near the midfield area which will be determined once the fields are well-defined. The field will only be from the midfield to the sideline, approximately 27 yards.
  • There are no Kickoffs or Punts. If the Offense does not score after 3rd down, the ball will be turned over to the other team and placed back near the midline.
  • QB/Passer is not allowed to run at any time.
  • There is no rushing the QB, there will be a five (5) count and the play will be over and the ball put back at the line of Scrimmage (LOS).
  • There will be no running plays, only passes over the LOS (no backward passes (screen passes behind the LOS. QB/Passer does not have to scramble as the defense can only stand on the LOS but cannot rush or blitz at any time. So quick hitches or forward screenplays behind the LOS are illegal, pass must forward and over the LOS.

SCORING

  • The Scoring is based/adopted on National Federation of State High School Association rules and 7 v. 7 rules.
  • In Round Robin, all extra points will be attempted even if the extra point is not necessary to win the game. For example: if A scores & is winning 13-12, and no time left on the clock, extra pt. will be attempted.
  • Touchdowns are worth 6 points.
  • Extra Pts: 1 pt. from 5 yd. line & 2 pts. from 10 yd. line. The ball is dead & Defense can NOT return for points attempted.
  • Defense can score points:
    • When they stop the offense after 3rd down only– awarded 2 points and turnover on downs (if the game clock expires on 2nd down no points are awarded to the defense for a stop).
    • Also, if the defense intercepts a pass (not during extra points) – The defense is awarded 4 points.
    • The Defense will not be awarded any points during the extra point try).

FIRST DOWNS/SERIES

  • The offense has 3 downs to score unless a penalty gives a team a new set of downs OR repeat the down (RTD) type penalties are enforced.

COUNT

  • A medium/slow 5 count (1,2,3,4,5 Dead) called by referee @ LOS. After the count, the play is over if the ball has not left the QB/Passer’s hands, the ball will be placed back at the LOS or if it’s third down, the ball will be turned over and The Defense will receive 2 points.

LINE OF SCRIMMAGE (LOS) /OFFENSIVE LINEMAN

  • All players, including the center are eligible receivers.
  • No offensive player can be in motion on or behind the LOS. All offensive players must remain stationary in position before the ball is snapped.
  • All receivers must go forward from the LOS due to the new structure/ no backward or behind the LOS motions.

HIKING THE BALL

  • The ball must be hiked from the ground. Side -Saddle snaps are allowed and must be snapped to the QB/Passer. No self-snaps are allowed (5 yds. illegal snap). Dropped snaps are dead (See bullet below).
  • Snap can be fielded cleanly off the ground, doesn’t matter if it bounces “10 times”, as long as QB doesn’t drop it, traps are good, balls snapped sideways, where QB has to move sideways outside the tackle box area, or ball is snapped over QB’s head, play is dead automatically, the ball will be placed at the spot it first hits the ground or furthest from defenses’ goal line ( i.e.: forward fumbles will be spotted where touched).
  • If the ball goes into the midfield partition area it will be deemed a safety and two points will be awarded to the defense (note since it’s a defensive stop and turnover (exception – no other points will be rewarded – it will be two (2) points for the safety only.

TURNOVERS

  • Interceptions – a ball that is intercepted by the defense MAY NOT be returned for a score. Due to the new field format – the defense will receive 4 pts for the interception/turnover.
  • Fumbles, if a player fumbles the ball & it hits the ground, the play is dead & the team who possessed the ball last will retain possession @ point of fumble or where the ball hits the ground, whichever is the furthest from their opponent’s goal line. The only fumble recovery is if the ball carrier loses the ball & opponent recovers it before it hits the ground, play is then dead if the defense recovers it (this will be deemed a fumble recovery) two (2) points to the defense are awarded and possession of the ball to the defense at the designated midfield starting point where they will start on offense.

BLOCKING

  • Off/Def. blocking, BOTH must be open-handed & thrust outward from the chest, with open hands, & not “loaded up” from the side. There is no blocking below the waist or above the shoulders. No chop-blocks. The player cannot leave their feet to block. Blocking must be controlled, do not run a player over, blocking or running the ball (UNR) if it looks rough it is a penalty. No Bull rushing by any player (players cannot take a running start @ another, barreling over, UNR (auto 1st/ LOD- 15 yds).

STIFF ARMS & FLAG GUARDING

  • Stiff arms are not allowed by Runner. This will be an illegal contact foul & a 10-yard penalty will be assessed & down will count, as this is considered a “spot foul, not an end-of-the-run” foul. Flag guarding is a form of Stiff Arming. Excessive/flagrant contact/acts to neck face or head will be a 10 yd. UNR w/ auto 1st or loss of down & could lead to an ejection from the game, a second such incident by the same player in the same game or in another game could result in the player being barred from the remainder of the tournament. Such ejections will be reported to head officials which will be noted to the next officials covering said player’s next game & warning will be conveyed to the captain of the team as well as the offending player. Anyone who engages in such acts/conduct will severely impact their team as well as their chances for resuming play in games & tournaments.

RECEIVER

  • Must have 1 foot in bounds to make a reception. Due to small end zones, minimal O/B will be ignored by receivers, but discretion must be used, if a player runs O/B 3 yards and jumps back into the field of play it will be deemed illegal participation.
  • No De-flagging a receiver before the ball arrives or busting up a play “with force” other than knocking the pass out of the receiver’s hands or pulling the flag, play the ball. Note: Stripping a “ball carrier/runner is illegal but not a receiver on a pass.

FORWARD PASS

  • There is only one forward pass allowed per play. There are no lateral passes once a ball carrier crosses the LOS, he/she may not lateral back to someone behind the LOS & and have that person throw a forward pass, nor can a ball carrier step over the LOS & and then go back behind it & and pass.

BALL CARRIER

  • The “spot” of the ball is always the torso/hips of the ball carrier at the time of flag removal or the flag falling to the ground (the ball is dead at the spot).
  • The defense can’t push a ball carrier out of bounds (OB). The defense can’t use contact to break up a pass play (UNR-10 yards). You can’t hold the jersey to pull the flag or tackle a ball carrier. You can’t “stand up” a ball carrier to pull the flag. This is considered holding a 10-yard penalty & and repeating the down. However, wearing baggy shorts if momentarily grabbed near the flags doesn’t automatically constitute holding. Suggestion: Wear football pants, tighter shorts, or leggings to avoid this contact.
  • If the ball carrier’s flag inadvertently falls off during a play, the play is dead at the spot of possession or where the flag falls off when they have possession. If any other player starts a play without both flags and subsequently becomes a ball carrier/receiver, the play ends at the spot of possession. (Exception: If QB receives a snap without both flags, doesn’t matter because he can’t be sacked or run, ball will be dead after 5 counts.)
  • Ball carrier is Down by Contact (NFHS rule) if anything besides feet, hands, or ball hits the ground, without a flag pull or contact by the opponent is not required.

REMOVING THE FLAG

  • A player is considered tackled when at least one flag is removed from the ball carrier’s belt.
  • No chucking is allowed (no contact by any player). If the receiver blocks on a passing play, Offensive Pass Interference, if illegal contact by the defense 10 yards & repeat the down.
  • Tackling is strictly prohibited (UNR – auto first & 10 yards & warning).
  • A defensive player may not pull the receiver’s flag before the ball is caught; the play is dead at the spot of a one-hand touch. This will result in a 10yd penalty tacked onto the end of the run & repeat the down.
  • A defensive player may not grab & hold the offensive player to pull the flag. If deemed that hold restricted player & no other defensive player is between him and the goal line, the Referee may award a TD (discretion).

OVERTIME

  • Round Robin games with a tie.
    • One play will be made to determine the Winner. A team that called coin toss to start the game gets to call toss for OT.
    • Choices will be Offense or Defend a Goal. The ball is placed at the 5-yard line. If you score you win, if you choose defense and you stop the offense you win.
    • The winning team is awarded one point added to their score (no other points will be awarded for the stop or a defensive interception).
  • In PLAYOFF Rounds –
    • The Team that called the coin toss to start the game gets to call the toss for OT.
    • Choices will be Offense or Defend a goal. Each team starts from the mid-field line where we start each new possession in regular play.
    • If one team scores, they go for the extra point (1 or 2 points). The next team has the same opportunity to get a score with the extra point. If both teams score the exact points, they will go again, and the loser of the toss gets a choice.
    • If neither team scores or no interception occurs in a specific series the team that comes closest to the goal line wins.
    • If they both end in the same place on their series of downs, we will go again.
    • If we play a third series or more, each team must go for two on the extra point. Note: IE: Say if team A doesn’t score and gets to the 5-yard line, team B must get the ball inside the 5-yard. line to win. Once Team B scores or gets the ball inside the 5-yd. line, the game will be over, B doesn’t need to play out their additional downs.
    • If either team intercepts the game is over. If team B intercepts at the top of the series, the game is over. If A scores first a TD and 1pt successful try, B gets to go, if A intercepts them or stops them, A wins.

PENALTIES (penalties are 5 & 10 yards)

  • 5-yard penalties: False Start, encroachment, illegal 2nd blitz – Live ball, substitution, motion, shift, delay of game, illegal snap. Repeat the Down (RTD). Illegal Plays: COED female touch by 3rd down (see Teams)- running ball from the 5-yard line & in (extra points from 5 yds. and in. Flags Under Shirt / Belt / Post Must be Visible – previous spot 5yds RTD.
  • 10-yard penalties: Flag Guard/Stiff Arm spot foul & LOD, Illegal contact (Chuck/Hold), illegal participation, off holding, Block in the Back, DE flagging/early flag removal (from end of run & RTD), Ball stripping and of Hold of Runner (from end of run & RTD possible TD can be awarded) Note: if in the judgment of referee, a TD was prevented, the ref can award a TD if there is no other defender in the area between ball carrier & goal line or is the proximity of the GL. Baggy shorts being grabbed doesn’t automatically result in holding, use discretion (unless they grab & hold up the runner or grab the shirt up high away from the runner’s Flags).
  • 10-yard penalties: Illegal blocks (cut/chop/leaving feet), illegally tied flag belt, unsportsmanlike conduct.
  • 10-yard penalties resulting in automatic first down (Auto 1st) or loss of down (LOD):
    Personal fouls/UNR of any kind, i.e., barreling a player over, rough tackle/flag pull, pushing ball carrier out of bounds not going for flag, possible TD can be awarded contacting potential receiver (breaking up pass), fighting of any kind whether there is contact or not (possible ejection from the tournament).
    Roughing the passer (10 yds. tacked onto the end of play or from the previous spot if incomplete),
    Defensive Pass Interference – spot foul, auto 1st / or if in end zone ball placed at one-yard line auto 1st. Offensive pass interference – previous spot & LOD.
    Charging/lowering of head and/or shoulders by runner (spot minus 15 yds. & LOD).
    Flagrant contact to neck or face or head (End of run auto 1st / or 10 yds & LOD on the offense).
    Note: All defensive penalties on a scoring play will be assessed on the extra point. Defensive penalties will not carry over on extra points except for flagrant UNR/UNS which will carry a LOD and offense will be penalize a down ( they will start with a second down (first down is forfeited) since we can’t enforce a yardage penalty for such a foul at midfield.
  • Conduct/Contact with Officials will not be tolerated (See Conduct).

DEFINITION OF ROUGHING THE PASSER

  • Defined as making avoidable contact while the passer is in the “act of throwing a forward pass”; any contact made with the passer’s throwing hand, arm, shoulders & or above including an attempt to block the pass, make a tackle; any physical contact made to the passer including pushing, shoving, lowering of the shoulder/head to knock the passer over while attempting to make the flag pull, whether the ball is touched or not. If defense is blocked into QB then no foul may be called by discretion of the Ref.

Start Line for each New Series – FIELD Length will be approximately 27 yards long – From the midfield to the sidelines additional area for the endzone will be approximately 5-7 yards in depth.

FIELD width will be the same 20 yards wide.

Due to construction we will only be allow to use one side/one half of the full field.