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All rules subject to change at the discretion of the league commissioner

PART ONE: ROSTER AND GAME RULES
I. Eligibility & Rosters
1. Only currently enrolled HLS students and their spouses or fiancs are eligible to play in the
league. HLS joint degree students currently enrolled at another Harvard school are eligible.
2. Each player may play on only one team per league. A B League Team may include no more
than three players on A League Players rosters.
3. There is no limit to the number of players a team may have on its roster.
4. No player who played NCAA FBS football may play in the B league.
5. Only those players who are named on the rosters submitted by October 2
nd
, 2013 are eligible
to play. Late additions will be subject to the commissioners discretion.
6. If a team uses a non-eligible player, as defined above, they will forfeit the game in which the
player appeared and/or may be disqualified from the playoffs, at the commissioners discretion.

II. Equipment
1. Players must wear sneakers or molded cleats. Metal spikes and/or screw-in cleats are NOT
allowed.
2. No jewelry may be worn, including watches, necklaces, and earrings.
3. Shirts must be tucked in.
4. Players failing to comply with these rules must leave the game until issue is corrected.
5. Flags and footballs (college size) will be provided, thought teams may provide their own
regulation football (college or pro) if they so choose. The offensive team may choose to use
either its own ball, a league-provided ball, or their opponents ball (with agreement).

III. Number of players & substitutions
1. Six players may be on the field at a time.
2. Teams may play with a minimum of 4 players; if fewer than 4 players are available at the
designated start time, the game is forfeited.
a. If a team begins a game with four or five players and additional players arrive later, the
late arrivals may join the game as soon as they arrive.
b. A team may play six players at a time even if its opponent only has four or five.
3. B league only: a team may have no more than five players of the same sex on the field at the
same time.
a. If a team cannot play at least one male player and at least one female player, they may
play with only five players.
4. Substitutions may be made at any dead ball.

IV. Coin Toss
1. Rock, Paper, Scissors (best 2 out of 3) determines first possession. Winner of the match may
choose to one of the following:
a. Possession to start 1st half (losing team then choose side to defend)
b. Possession to start 2nd half (losing team then choose side to defend)
c. Side of the field to defend in 1st half (losing team then chooses possession to start either
1st or 2nd half)
d. Defer losing team then chooses between options a,b,c (may not defer back).
2. No matter which choice is made, teams will ALWAYS switch sides for the second half, and
the team that started the first half on defense gets possession to start the second half.
V. Scoring
1. A touchdown is worth 6 points.
2. After scoring a touchdown, a team may elect to either:
a. Take the automatic 1-point extra point
b. Attempt a 2-point conversion, from the 5-yard line. The no-run zone is in effect.
c. An interception return of a 2-pt conversion results in 2 points for the defense
3. A safety is worth 2 points
VI. Length of Game & Mercy Rule
1. Games are made up of two 20-minute halves plus FIVE PLAYS at the end of each half.
a. Two-point conversion attempts do not count toward the five plays.
b. A down that is repeated due to penalty does not count toward the five plays.
2. During game-play, the clock will stop only for timeouts, injuries, or at the referees discretion.
3. Once the ball is spotted, the offense has 25 seconds to snap the ball.
4. Mercy rule: The game will proceed directly to the final five plays in each of the following
situations:
a. One team is leading by 49 or more points with 10 minutes or less to play in the second
half.
b. One team is leading by 42 or more points with 7 minutes or less to play in the second
half.
c. One team is leading by 35 or more points with 4 minutes or less to play in the second
half.
d. Note: For the purposes of point differential tiebreak calculations, games will be capped at
+/- 21 points, meaning there is absolutely nothing to be gained from running up the score.
e. PLAYOFF MERCY RULE: Game will be called if team is leading by = 35 points with
10 minutes (or less) in game OR by = 28 points with 5 minutes or less in game.

VII. Timeouts
1. Each team is granted two one-minute timeouts per half.
2. In the event of overtime, each team is granted one additional time-out.
3. Unused timeouts do not carry over into the second half or overtime.
4. Injury timeouts will be granted at the discretion of the referees. The player whose injury
necessitated the injury timeout must leave the field for the next play, unless his team takes one of
its regular timeouts, in which case he is eligible to return immediately.




VIII. Overtime
1. If the score is tied at the end of regulation, college football-style overtime rules are in effect:
a. Each team has one possession, starting from midfield.
b. No first downs granted will be granted, except automatic first down penalties.
c. Both teams go toward the same end zone.
d. An interception returned for a touchdown ends the game.
2. Rock, Paper, Scissors (best 2 out of 3) determines choice of possession (first or second) OR
which side of the field to go toward OR defer. Loser makes the other choice (and cannot defer
back).
3. In the event the score is still tied after each team has had one possession, a second overtime
ensues, with the order of possession is reversed, and both teams go toward the opposite side of
the field.
4. Beginning with the third overtime period, teams must attempt a two-point conversion after a
touchdown.

IX. Sportsmanship/Roughing
1. If the referee witnesses any acts of flagrant contact, tackling, elbowing, cheap shots, blocking,
or any unsportsmanlike act, the game will be stopped and the player will be ejected from the
game. FOUL PLAY WILL NOT BE TOLERATED.
2. Trash talking is illegal. (Trash talk is talk that may be offensive to officials, opposing players,
teams, or spectators). Officials have the right to determine offensive language. If trash talking
occurs, the referee will give one warning. If it continues, the player or players will be ejected
from the game.
3. Only the team captain may ask the referees questions about rule clarification and
interpretation. Players cannot question judgment calls.
4. Players should not argue with the referees. If a player argues with a referee, the referees will
issue a warning to the player. If the same player argues a second time, the referee will eject the
player from the game.
5. Players violating any of the above sportsmanship rules will be subject to suspension from
future games and/or expulsion from the league, at the commissioners discretion.


PART TWO: POSSESSION
X. Possession & First Downs
1. There are no kickoffs. At the beginning of a half, after a touchdown, and after a touchback, the
offensive team takes possession of the ball at its own 5-yard line.
2. An offensive team taking possession on its own side of the field has four plays to cross
midfield and earn a first down; an offensive team taking possession on its opponents side of the
field has four plays to score a touchdown.
a. A possession starting exactly on the 50-yard line is considered to start on the opponents
side of the field.
3. Once a team crosses midfield, it has four plays to score a touchdown.
a. If a team takes possession on their opponents side of the field, no first down is possible,
even if the team loses yardage back to their own side of the field, and then crosses back
over midfield.
4. An automatic first down by penalty will overrule the other requirements regarding four plays
to make either a first down or score.
5. If the offense fails to cross midfield in its first four plays, or fails to score during the
possession, the ball changes possession.
XI. Dead Balls & Spotting the Ball
1. Play is ruled "dead" when:
a. Official blows the whistle.
b. Touchdown or safety is scored.
c. Ball carrier's flag is pulled. If a flag inadvertently falls off, the ball-carrier will be down
as soon as he is touched by an opposing player.
d. Ball carrier steps out of bounds.
e. When any part of the ball carriers body, other than a hand or foot, touches the ground.
f. The ball is possessed by a player missing a flag and he/she is touched by an opposing
player.
g. If a player is already missing a flag when he catches a pass / receives a lateral / otherwise
takes possession of the ball, the opposing team must one-hand touch the ball carrier to
end the play. The ball will be spotted where the one-hand touch occurred.
2. Unless otherwise specified, the ball is spotted where the ball carriers FEET were when his
flag was pulled (or the play was otherwise whistled dead). Stretching the ball forward is
irrelevant.
PART THREE: OFFENSE
XII. Offensive Basics
1. In addition to the center, at least two other offensive players must be on the line of scrimmage
at the snap.
2. Pre-snap motion
a. Only one player may be in motion at a time.
b. Players may be in horizontal motion (parallel to the line of scrimmage) at the time of the
snap.
c. Players may not be in vertical motion (toward the line of scrimmage) at the time of the
snap.
3. The ball must be snapped between the legs of the center, except on punts (see Section XVI
below).
a. Either a direct or shotgun snap is legal
4. The center cannot take a direct handoff back from the quarterback (no center sneak play). A
forward shovel pass to the center is legal.

XIII. Running
1. An offense may use multiple handoffs or pitches behind the line of scrimmage.
2. Tosses or sweeps behind the line of scrimmage are allowed, as are running plays. A shovel
pass that is received before the receiver crosses the line of scrimmage is considered a run for the
purposes of the no-running zone (see below).
3. No-Running Zones are located 5 yards from the end zone and midfield. When the ball is in
the no-run zone, the offense cannot run the ball, unless a defensive player crosses the line of
scrimmage.
a. If the no-run zone is in effect and the offense is penalized resulting in a repeat of the
down, the no-run zone is STILL IN EFFECT for the replaying of the down, even if the
offense has physically moved outside of it.
b. If the offense loses yardage and moves back outside the no-run zone, it is no longer in
effect.


4. The ball carrier may not intentionally charge into a defender or use a stiff-arm to hold him/her
off.
5. The ball carrier may NOT guard his/her flags. If a flag-guarding penalty is called, a five-yard
penalty will be assessed from the spot of the flag-guard.
6. Spinning and jumping are allowed, but players must land on their feet (no diving). If a player
does not land on his or her feet, the player is called down and the ball spotted from the point of
take-off.

XIV. Passing & Receiving
1. The quarterback may not pass the ball forward once he has crossed the line of scrimmage.
2. There is no penalty for intentional grounding.
3. All players are eligible to receive passes (including the quarterback if the ball has been handed
off behind the line of scrimmage).
4. A player must have at least one foot inbounds when making a reception.
a. If the players second foot is already out of bounds upon catching the ball, there is no
reception; in other words, for the one foot rule to be in effect, one foot must be in bounds
and the other in the air.
b. Force out rule: If a player catches the ball in the air and is pushed such that he lands out
of bounds, if in the referees judgment he would have landed one foot in bounds but for
the push, the catch is allowed.
5. If a player steps out of bounds, he must reestablish both feet in bounds before being eligible to
receive a pass.

XV. Fumbles
1. There are no fumbles; the ball is dead once it hits the ground
2. If the ball is fumbled forward, the ball will be spotted where the ball carriers feet were when
the fumble was made.
3. If the ball is fumbled or unsuccessfully lateralled backwards, the ball will be spotted where it
hits the ground for the first time.
4. If a defensive player catches a fumble or intercepts a lateral before the ball hits the ground, the
defensive player may advance the ball.
5. A defensive player may not strip the ball from the ball carrier, or knock the ball out of the
quarterbacks hand during a pass attempt.

XVI. Punting
1. The offense may punt the ball only on fourth down only, and must announce their decision to
punt.
2. There are no fake punts.
3. The punting team does NOT need to snap the ball.
4. The returning team may not rush the punter.
5. Punts may be returned, either catching the ball on the fly or while it is bouncing.
6. The ball is dead when:
a. A player on the returning team drops the punt, or the ball otherwise hits the ground after a
player on the returning team touches it.
b. A player on the punting team touches the ball.
c. The ball goes out of bounds (spotted where crosses the sideline) or out of the back of the
endzone (touchback).










PART FOUR: DEFENSE
XVII. Rushing the Quarterback
1. All players who rush the passer must be a minimum of SEVEN YARDS from the line of
scrimmage when the ball is snapped.
a. Rushing the passer is defined as crossing the line of scrimmage (even if the defender
pulls back short of reaching the quarterback)
b. A referee will designate seven yards from the line of scrimmage
2. Any number of players can rush the quarterback. Players not rushing the quarterback may
defend on the line of scrimmage.
3. All defenders are eligible to rush the passer / cross the line of scrimmage once:
a. The ball is handed off, tossed, or otherwise lateralled behind the line of scrimmage
b. There is a play-action fake or fake handoff
c. There is a forward pass
d. The ball carrier crosses the line of scrimmage.
4. The rush rules are in effect at ALL times, even on the goal line / in no-rush zones. In some
situations, players may have line up outside the end zone to be legal rushers.

XVIII. Pass & Run Defense
1. Defenders may not hold or bump or otherwise interfere with a receiver at the line of
scrimmage or anywhere downfield.
a. Interference is defined as anything more than incidental contact. A defensive player may
make contact with an offensive player if going for a jump ball, but may not in any way
hold, grab, trip, or otherwise restraint an offensive player. This is a judgment call by the
referee and should be based on the same standard as college football.
b. If an offensive player is interfered with in the act of attempting to receive a catchable
pass, pass interference should be called (see penalty chart).
c. If an offensive player is interfered with at any other point in the play (except for in the act
of attempting to receive a pass, illegal contact should be called (see penalty chart).
2. Interceptions change the possession of the ball and are returnable.
3. On an interception that occurs and remains in the end zone, the intercepting team receives a
touch-back (takes possession at its on 5-yard line).
a. If, after intercepting a pass in the end zone, the ball carrier advances out of the end zone
and then returns to the end zone and is de-flagged (or otherwise ruled down) there, it is a
safety.
4. A player may not intentionally pull another players flag before he has possession of the ball
or after he has relinquished possession the ball.
a. If an illegal pull occurs while the receiver is jumping/waiting to catch a pass (and the
receiver makes the catch), the catch is good, an additional five yard penalty is assessed,
and the down is replayed.
b. Once a receiver touches the ball, the defender may pull is flag in other words, a flag
pull while a receiver bobbles a catch is legal, just as tackling the receiver then would be
in the NFL.
c. If the illegal pull occurs at any other point on the field, there is a five yard penalty from
the line of scrimmage and the down is replayed.
5. If a defensive player pulls a flag in a late but good-faith effort (e.g., just after the ball carrier
lateral away the ball to a teammate), there is no penalty.
a. This is the same judgment standard as a late hit penalty in the NFL whether the
defender was already in unstoppable motion before the offensive player released the ball.
b. In such an instance, the defender must immediately relinquish the pulled flag and the
offensive player may then reattach his flag in order to retake possession of the ball on the
same play (this rule captures the time it would take a player to get up after being tackled
just after releasing the ball).

XIX. Safeties
1. After a safety, the team that was on offense punts from their own 25-yard line (approximately
! of the way to midfield, as designated by the referees).
2. Normal rules regarding punt returns apply (see Section XIII).





PART FIVE: BLOCKING & OBSTRUCTION
XX. Blocking & Obstruction
1. Tackling is NOT allowed.
2. Offensive players may obstruct defenders, keeping their arms locked together in front of their
bodies or behind their backs.
a. Blockers hands must remain below their waists.
b. Blockers cannot extend their hands or forearms from their bodies.
c. Stationary downfield blocking: When an offensive player has possession of the ball
across the line of scrimmage (or when possession changes during the play because of an
interception), any player performing a block must be stationary prior to contact.
In other words: once the ball has crossed the line of scrimmage (or an interception is made), an
illegal contact penalty shall be called against any blocker who while moving contacts and
thereby obstructs a defender, regardless of which player "initiated" the contact. Blockers can
safely obstruct defenders by freezing in place once the ball is caught or is run across the line of
scrimmage. Those who continue to move do so at risk of being penalized in the event of contact.
Referees are to exercise some discretion in applying this rule. Defensive players cannot
intentionally run into offensive players, who are not attempting to block, in order to draw a
penalty. Minimal, incidental contact that clearly does not affect the play should not be penalized.
3. Conversely, defenders may not affirmatively make any more than incidental contact with
offensive players
a. A defender may stand in the ball carriers way to pull a flag, but may not initiate contact
with the ball carrier.
b. Defensive players are obligated to avoid stationary blockers; they may not charge into
them.







PART SIX: PENALTIES
Defensive Penalties
Offsides - 5 yards + replay down
Illegal Contact (holding, bumping a receiver, etc.) - 5 yards + replay down
Pulling a flag before receiver has ball - 5 yards + replay down
Illegal defensive rushing (from inside 7-yard marker) - 5 yards + replay down
Substitution Foul (enter too late or too many players on field) - 5 yards + replay down
Pass Interference - 15 yards + automatic 1st down

Offensive Penalties
Delay of Game - 5 yards + replay down
Illegal Motion (more than one man in motion) - 5 yards + replay down
False Start - 5 yards + replay down
Illegal Snap (not between legs of center) - 5 yards + replay down
Illegal contact (blocking, charging the defender) - 5 yards + replay down
Illegal forward pass (pass after QB has crossed line of scrimmage) - 5 yards + loss of down
Offensive pass interference - 5 yards + loss of down
Flag Guarding - 5 yards from point of foul (ball dead at point of flag guard) + loss of down
Intentional Grounding - NO PENALTY

Discretionary Penalties
Unsportsmanlike Conduct (either team) - 15 yards and possibility of ejection and/or suspension

1. All penalties can be declined, except for a false start, in which case the play should be called
dead immediately.
2. Penalties will not exceed half the distance to the opposing teams goal line from the line of
scrimmage.
3. Games and halves cannot end on a defensive penalty, unless the offense declines it.
4. A down that is repeated due to penalty does NOT count as a play during the final 5 plays.
5. If the no-run zone is in effect and the offense is penalized resulting in a repeat of the down, the
no-run zone is STILL IN EFFECT for the replaying of the down, even if the offense has
physically moved outside of it.

PART SEVEN: PLAYOFFS
XXI: A-League Seeding
1. The top eight A-League teams will qualify for the playoffs.
2. Teams will be seeded first by winning percentage, then by point differential (maximum of +/-
28 per game), then head-to-head results, if any. If teams are still tied after these tiebreakers, a
coin flip will be used to determine seeding.

XXII: B-League Qualification and Seeding
1. Twelve teams will qualify for the B-League playoffs.
2. Teams will be seeded first by winning percentage, then by point differential (maximum of +/-
28 per game), then head-to-head results, if any. If teams are still tied after these tiebreakers, a
coin flip will be used to determine seeding.
3. The top four teams will receive a first-round bye.