Join us Saturday, June 8th for our inaugural High Noon .5k Race for all through Broad Ripple. Start at the Red Room patio and pregame for the intensive race with an ice-cold High Noon and finish at the Quarter when the race is done for a fun after-party. For more information or to sign up, head to this link here:

CCA Flag Football Rules

CCA Sports Flag Football Rules




Competitive Decorum

The goal of Circle City Athletics is to deliver recreational activities that are:


SAFE.  ZERO TOLERANCE NON CONTACT POLICY. CCA flag football is a non-contact activity.  Specifically no player may come into contact with an opposing player in an attempt to secure or defend the ball (Offensive or Defensive).  Overly aggressive players who ignore warnings to play safely will be sat out by the referee at their discretion and repeat offenders will be dismissed from the league without a refund.


FUN.  Participants should behave respectfully toward referees and other players at all times.  Players who insult others or complain excessively to the referee will be asked to leave the game.   Repeated violations will result in dismissal from the league without a refund.


FAIR.  All penalties will be assessed by the referee and are final.  The referee’s discretion, not NFL rules, will apply in any unique situation not specifically addressed by the following rules.




Each team may have a maximum of eight (8) players and five (5) males on the field. Teams that do not have at least five players, including one female, on the field ten minutes after the game is scheduled to start automatically forfeit.


Non Roster Substitute Players


Regular season. Teams who are unable to field a complete rostered team will be allowed to use substitute players from other CCA Flag Football Teams from a level at, or below theirs, to field a team of 8 players.  If rostered players show up during the game they will take the place of substitute players while maintaining a full team of 8 players. If it is discovered at any point during or following a game that a team does not adhere to this substitution policy they will automatically forfeit.


Playoffs. There will be no substitute players allowed during the playoffs. If it is discovered at any point during or following the game that a team utilized substitute (non-rostered) players they will automatically forfeit.


Replacement players.  In the event your team loses a player to the following circumstances; season ending injury, medical condition, or change of location, you may contact  It will be at the discretion of the league manager to allow your team to add a replacement player if the event deems creditable.  The request must be sent at the time the event has taken place.  If a replacement player is allowed to your roster, they will permanently replace that person for the remaining season.


Player Identification 


All players must be prepared to provide photo identification to verify their proper place on a team roster.  Teams must have all players on roster by the third week of play.  After this time approval must be given by the league manager to edit any team rosters.  Teams must wear the same color shirts as the rest of their team.  Players may be disqualified for their game if they do not have their team jersey.. Teams may request an opposing player change shirts if the color is similar to the official color of the opposing team.




Each game will consist of two 19 minute halves and a four minute halftime.  The clock will run continuously unless specified below.


The referee may stop or run the clock at any time if he feels unfair delay tactics are being employed.  The referee may call an official timeout at any time.


Final two minutes of game. During the final two minutes of a contested game, the clock will stop if (1) a pass falls incomplete, (2) a ball carrier runs out of bounds, (3) a touchdown is scored, (4) a penalty is assessed, (5) an injury occurs, (6) a timeout is called, or (7) the ball is turned over.

  • Contested game.  A game is contested if the score differential is fewer than 17 points.
  • Completed pass. Following a completed pass and tackle in the field of play, the referee will immediately stop the clock. When the ball is spotted, the referee will start the clock and inform the offense that they have twenty (20) seconds to hike the ball.   The ref will inform the offense when the play clock is at five (5) seconds.


Each team may use two timeouts per game. Play resumes after sixty seconds or when both teams have informed the referee they are ready to resume, whichever occurs first.


An informal play clock of 20 seconds following the conclusion of a play and the spotting of the ball will be enforced at the referee's discretion.  A referee will give a team one warning for unreasonable delay.


There is no overtime play during the regular season.  Playoff games that end in a tie will go into non-sudden death overtime.  During overtime, each team will be given a possession beginning at midfield. The game ends when the score is not tied after an equal number of possessions. Each team will be awarded one timeout during each overtime period.

  • If a pass is intercepted in overtime, the ball carrier will be given the opportunity to return the ball for a touchdown.  If the intercepting ball carrier's flags are pulled, play will stop and his team will be given a new possession at midfield.
  • Turnover on downs. If the offensive team turns the ball over on downs, the opposing team will be given the ball at midfield.
  • 3rd Overtime Period. If the score remains tied after the conclusion of the second overtime period teams will be required to attempt a 2-pt conversion.




First down. The offense may advance the ball by throwing it, or running it after the defense has crossed the line of scrimmage.  In the beginner and recreational leagues a first down is awarded when the offense completes two passes that are caught three or more yards downfield from the line of scrimmage.  In the intermediate and competitive leagues a first down is awarded when the offense completes two passes that are caught five or more yards downfield from the line of scrimmage.  Yardage gained on passes caught short of three or five yards for the respective league will count, but the play will not count as a completion.


End of play. A play is over when (1) the football hits the ground, (2) a ball carrier's flags are pulled, (3) a ball carrier runs out of bounds or into the endzone, (4) anything other than a ball carrier's feet or hands contacts the ground, or (5) the referee blows his whistle. 


Participants must stop play when they hear the whistle blown.


A female must be an operative offensive player at least once every three plays.

  • Operative player.  An operative player is one who:
  1. throws the football, with intent to complete a pass, beyond the line of scrimmage,
  2. is the receiver of a completed pass or the intended receiver of a pass with a reasonable chance of being completed,
  3. runs the ball, after being rushed, for positive yardage.
  • Insufficient involvement.  A play does not involve an operative female if the referee believes the quarterback made no attempt to complete a pass and instead threw the ball (1) to the ground, (2) out of bounds, (3) well beyond the reach of the intended receiver, or (4) not beyond the line of scrimmage.


If a third successive play is completed without using a female as an operative player, any yardage gained on the play is lost, a loss of down occurs, and the following play must involve an operative female.


Down count.  The referee will announce the down before each play.  In the intermediate and competitive leagues the referee is NOT obligated to announce a mandatory girl play but will do so if requested by the offensive team captain.   The referee should announce the down and distance (i.e., first and two) prior to each play.

  • For example. If the offensive team completes a pass to a male player on first down, the referee will state "Second Down and 1, Open for 1" prior to the next play.  This will indicate the offensive team may throw to a male player again, but if they do, they will have to use an operative female player the following play.  The referee may also use shorthand and state "Twenty-one, for one" (2-1-1).


Contesting the down. A team captain may ask for a referee timeout if he believes that the announced down is incorrect.  Either team may receive a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct if it continuously and incorrectly announces the down and distance.


Punts.  The offensive team may "punt" the ball on fourth down if it announces its intent to the referee. The offense may only punt the ball by throwing it.  The referee must give the defensive team reasonable time to prepare for the punt. The defensive team must place at least two players within five yards of the line of scrimmage.  The play is dead as soon as the punted ball hits the ground or goes out of bounds.  The punting team may not cross the line of scrimmage until the ball is released or The receiving team may not contest or attempt to block the punt attempt.

  • A team is required to punt in a fourth-and-score scenario whereas the offensive team is still on the defensive side of the field.


Punt return.  Players on the receiving team ,who are downfield and ahead of the punt returner, must stand still so as to not impede the opposing team’s pursuit of the punt returner; otherwise they will be called for blocking. Players behind the punt returner may run behind him in the event he laterals the ball.


Change of possession.  After a change of possession, the offensive team may hike the ball as soon as the referee signals that play may resume.  The defensive team should be given a reasonable amount of time to substitute players and set up its defense.


Quarterback sack.  The referee will place the ball at the point of "tackle" if the quarterback is sacked, and a loss of down will occur. There are no operative players when a sack occurs.


Offsides.  The referee may disallow the result of a play if an offensive player begins the play on the defensive side of the ball.  The referee may ignore the infraction  if he believes that it did not give the offense an advantage.   The referee will give each team one warning prior to a snap that a receiver is offsides. Subsequent infractions will result in a loss of down.


The offensive team may have no more than one player in motion parallel to the line of scrimmage prior to the snap.  All players MUST be on the line of scrimmage, two yards into the field of play, prior to the ball being snapped.


No player may advance towards the line of scrimmage prior to the ball being snapped.




A passed ball that is in a receiver's grasp, but then knocked out by a defender's hand or due to defensive contact will be ruled a completion. 


A reception will be awarded if a player's first foot to touch the ground after catching a pass is in fully in bounds.


A player is an eligible receiver if the player is on the field of play at the snap of the ball. If the player leaves the field of play during an offensive play (and makes a reasonable effort to return immediately to the field of play) he will be ruled eligible, however the player must reestablish position with both feet on the field before becoming re-eligible.


Laterals.  Laterals presumed to be forward will result in a dead ball, unless the referee is sure that the ball was thrown backward.  

Blocking and charging.  Neither team may purposely impede the established direction of an opponent.  Offensive blocking will result in an immediate stop in play and a 10 yard penalty for dangerous play.  A 10 yard penalty will be assessed against the offense if an offensive player runs into and makes no attempt to avoid a motionless defender.


Picks and Screens. Picks and screen blocking of defensive players by offensive players is not permitted. Offensive receivers may run crossing patterns but must continue their route naturally, not stopping and making contact with the defensive player in an attempt to prevent him from covering an offensive player. A ten-yard penalty and a loss of down will be assessed.




A team is awarded six (6) points plus an automatic one (1) point conversion when it advances the ball into the endzone for a total of seven (7) points. The team may opt to receive six (6) points and attempt a two (2) point conversion from the six yard line, however if failed the team will NOT be awarded the automatic one (1) point conversion.  

      a)  Upon scoring a touchdown the offensive captain or QB must announce their intent to accept a (1) point conversion or attempt a                (2) point conversion AND be lined up at the conversion line (6 yard line) within the 20 second play clock. The official will check                with the defensive team prior to the attempt.


If a quarterback sack or player tackle occurs in the end zone a safety will be awarded. The defensive team will receive 2 pts and the ball on their own 6 yard line.


Jumping or diving to score. A player who attempts to cross the endzone line by leaving his feet or diving forward will be ruled down at the three yard line.


Goal line situation. Once a team advances the ball within three yards of the endzone, or is awarded a first down within six yards of the endzone, the team must score on that set of downs.




All substitutions should occur from the sideline designated by the official. A loss of down may occur if:

A) the ball is hiked after an offensive player leaves the field of play via the far sideline or back end zone line,

B) the offensive team has more than eight (8) players, or more than five (5) men, on the field when the ball is hiked, or

C) an offensive player steps onto the field at such a time as to not give the opposing team notice that he/she is an eligible receiver.

  • A receiver must line up at least two yards away from the substitution sideline so that the opponent may be aware of whether or not that receiver is on the field.



Flag Belt


Each player must wear a flag belt. The belt must be worn over the player's shirt with the middle flag in the middle of the player's back.  No flag should be inside a player’s hips. A ball carrier who violates this rule will be ruled down as soon as the ref judges a defensive player to be within reach of the ball carrier’s flags.


Players “tackle” an opposing ball carrier by grabbing one of the three flags on his flag belt. The flag belt is not a flag and players should not attempt to tackle an opponent by reaching for the belt. A tackler’s momentum must not cause contact with a ball carrier. A player shall be signaled down when his flag belt becomes unclipped or is no longer around his waist.


“Wrap up” tackle. A defensive player approaching a ball carrier from the front may not reach for both side flags unless the ball carrier is motionless at the time. Otherwise, this method serves to “wrap up” the ball carrier and prevent continued forward movement. Defensive players who grab a ball carrier's waist in an attempt to pull his flags will be called for an illegal tackle.


 “Rake” tackle. A player may not strip a ball carrier of their flags by “raking” their fingers down the ball carrier’s body in an attempt to dislodge the flags. Players who do not limit their attempt to grabbing a player’s flags will be called for an illegal tackle.


Rushing the QB. A rusher may not attempt to tackle a QB by reaching for the flag belt between his hips. Rushers must reach for the flag on either side and their momentum must not cause contact with the QB.


Inadvertent pull or separation. A player who inadvertently loses their flags before or during a play may finish the play. The player will be ruled down as soon as they possess the ball.


Tackle after lateral. A player whose flags are pulled after the player has passed or lateraled the football may continue to participate in the play and reattach their flags. If he comes into possession of the ball again without flags, he will be ruled down when he possesses the ball.


Illegal flag pull. A defensive player may not pull the flag of an offensive player prior to them receiving the ball. Depending on the field position when the foul is committed the penalty for this violation may be 5 yards, 10 yards, touchdown, or on the last play of the game 1 untimed down after the penalty has been enforced.


Clothing Pull. A defensive player may not use their grip on a ballcarrier's clothing or body to assist in pulling the player’s flags. An infraction will result in a ten-yard penalty for dangerous play. A referee must award a touchdown if the offensive player is within the 2-pt conversion line when his clothing or body is contacted.


Flag guarding. If the referee believes that a ballcarrier’s arms purposely or inadvertently impeded an opponent's effort to pull his flags, the referee will whistle the player down and assess a 5-yard penalty at the spot of the foul. A ballcarrier who lowers his head or shoulder when advancing the football will be ruled immediately tackled.




Quarterback rush. A defensive rusher will be ruled offsides if he crosses the line of scrimmage before the rush count in complete.


Rush count. All leagues except competitive utilize a referee announced 3 count with "GO" announced when a rush is available.


The count may only be executed by the sideline referee.


Contact with quarterback.  A rusher may not initiate contact with the quarterback.  If he attempts to block a pass, he must jump straight up and may not jump forward into the QB's throwing motion. 


Female quarterback.  A male may not rush the quarterback if the ball is hiked to a female or is lateraled to her before the rush count is complete. 


Defensive Pass Interference.  A defensive player may not contact an offensive player during a play. The referee will award a reception to the offense if an intended receiver is contacted while attempting to catch a pass. Minimal, harmless and insignificant bumping is subject to the referee's discretion.


  1. Burden. Defensive players may not move into a receiver's obvious path.  For purposes of this rule, it is irrelevant if the defensive player contacts the football before contacting the receiver. 
  2. Contact in the endzone.  Defensive contact in the endzone will result in a touchdown if the referee believes the offense would have otherwise caught the ball. If the catch was uncertain, he will award an open first down on the two-point conversion line.
  3. Defensive holding.  If illegal defensive contact occurs, the referee will assess a ten-yard penalty and the down will be replayed.
  4. Zero tolerance contact. Players will be warned by the referee, and subject to penalty or ejection, if they repeatedly run into or initiate contact with other players.
  5. Intimidation.  No player may yell in an attempt to frighten an opponent into dropping a pass.  Players may yell "ball" with the intent to alert their team that the QB has thrown the ball.  The enforcement of this rule may result in an interception.


Offensive Pass Interference. If the referee believes that a defensive player would have intercepted a pass, but for an offensive player's interference, he will award an interception and a first down to the defensive team.  An offensive receiver may not run through a motionless defender while running a pass route.


Dangerous play/physical tackle. CCA Flag Football is a non-contact sport.  Excessive physical contact on the playing field is not permitted.  A player who, in an attempt to pull a ball carrier's flags or to defend against a pass, makes significant contact with an opponent will be penalized or ejected from the game.


Defensive bodily obstruction. The ballcarrier always maintains the right of way. A defensive player may not run in a direction that will impede the ballcarrier's obvious route. Defensive players must make every effort to avoid physical contact with a ballcarrier when attempting to pull his flag.


Presumption. Contact between an offensive ballcarrier and a defensive player will be presumed to have been initiated by the defensive player.  This rule will not apply if the referee believes the offensive player initiated the contact.


Automatic touchdown. A TD will automatically be awarded to the offensive team if, in the referee's judgment, a defensive player flagrantly and deliberately makes contact with the ballcarrier at any point on the field in an effort to impede a scoring play.




Five (5) yard penalties.  The following non-contact infractions will result in five yard penalties: (1) defensive offsides, (2) flag guarding and flag belt violations, and (3) illegal rush count.


Ten (10) yard penalties.  The following more serious infractions will result in ten yard penalties: (1) offensive pass interference, (2) illegal tackling or contact, (3) blocking, and (4) unsportsmanlike conduct.


One warning per team will be issued for excessive contact & unsportsmanlike conduct.


Too many players on the field.  Defensive: 5 yards awarded or free play.  Offensive: 5 yard penalty, loss of down.


Automatic touchdown.  A referee will award a team a touchdown if he feels the team would have scored but for a defensive penalty. 


Ten yard defensive penalties that occur within the defensive team's six yard line could result in an automatic touchdown.


Ejection.  A player, on a team that has already received a warning for excessive contract or unsportsmanlike conduct, will be asked to leave the field of play if he engages in subsequent behavior.  If the player continues to make rude or disrespectful comments on the sideline after his ejection, his team must either ask him to leave the premises or immediately forfeit the game. 


Second ejection.  A player who is ejected from a CCA game for the second time will be removed from the league for the entire season.  The player must meet with league management before he may participate in another CCA activity.






Circle City Athletics will provide a staff member on-site to assist players with any problems or questions they may have. There are no referees.


If your team forfeits a match during the season, the following rules apply:


First Offense: Loss of game.


Second Offense: Loss of game and staff reserves the right to remove team from playoffs.


Third Offense: Removal from the league.


Any team that forfeits more than once also forfeits any guarantee or right to a certain number of guaranteed games.

If you know in advance that your team is going to forfeit a game, we encourage you to email the league manager so as to help us schedule your opponent a game.


Teams may play more than one match per day, and/or play matches on days/nights other than your regularly scheduled league day/night.  
CCA reserves the right to schedule playoff games on days other than your regularly scheduled league night.


Any questions regarding rules, policies, or eligibility must be addressed before the start of the game. 




The updated standings will be posted weekly, displaying each teams rank within its skill level.




Playoffs are single-elimination. Playoffs will take up to 2 weeks to complete and will best 2 out of 3 matches.


Playoff Substitution Policy




In order to participate in the league, each participant must sign the team waiver. Waivers are provided and must be completed and handed in no later than the first night of play. Players not present the first week of play will still be required to sign a waiver with our staff before participating. These waivers will also serve as your final roster.




The idea of CCA is to have fun. We hope that all participants keep that in mind when becoming involved. Although the games may become intense, you still can be competitive while maintaining good sportsmanship. With this said, any behavior deemed unacceptable by staff may result in suspension and/or ejection from a game or the league.


To coordinate and run the league, our refs and/or staff will be available at all times to help the league run as smoothly as possible. If you have questions regarding schedules, policies, rule interpretations, directions to the bar, etc. please ask or call our office.




Leagues may be cancelled due to existing weather conditions, dangerous or unplayable field conditions, facility constraints, scheduling conflicts, etc. CCA staff makes every effort to play all scheduled games, thus we will not cancel games unless absolutely necessary. Therefore, if you are calling concerning a decision on a cancellation, remember we will not have an answer until close to the start of the league.


If the league is cancelled, CCA staff will post all notices on social media sites (Facebook/Twitter).  CCA will then email/text all of the captains if possible. If a league is cancelled on site, CCA staff will attempt to contact those teams still scheduled to play the remainder of the league day/night. Depending on the time of cancellation, some teams will have to be notified on site. In extreme circumstances, CCA reserves the right to run a shortened season without a refund or schedule matches on days and/or locations other than our regularly scheduled league day/night/location.