Rules of the League

NWI Youth Football & Cheer

Football Rules


ARTICLE 1- Purpose

The League aspires to develop sportsmanship, physical fitness, and fellowship through athletic competition. The concepts of fair play and courtesy apply to the league participants, coaches and spectators.

  1. Objectives:
    • To instruct the participants in the fundamentals of football, including blocking, running, tackling, passing, kicking, fair play, and being mentally aware.
    • To teach sportsmanship, respect for coaches and referees, and to insure sportsmanship of the fans.
    • To insure that the participants understand that football is a contact sport and conduct themselves without an artificial posturing or complaints.
    • To promote Safety-first football by enforcing strict control over player’s ages, weights, and equipment.

ARTICLE 2- Organization & Eligibility

  1. The League aspires to have a minimum of, but not restricted to, four teams. Each team will have a minimum of three divisions and up to five divisions.
    • The first division shall be Little of age 9 and under with a minimum weight of 45 pounds (subject to board approval).
    • The second division shall be Middle of ages 10 and 11.
    • The third shall be Big of ages 12, 13, and 14 but not eligible for 9th grade.
    • A possible fourth and fifth division shall/may be Junior varsity of ages 14, 15 and 16 being eligible ONLY for 9th and 10th grades, and Varsity of ages 16, 17, and 18 being eligible ONLY for 11th and 12 grade.
    • NWI Youth Football league shall reserve the right to establish any team of players beyond High School eligibility for later advisement.
  2. There may be certain circumstances where not all Teams will have the same amount of age divisions as other teams. In such cases the Board of Directors will accommodate accordingly.
  3. A participant’s age shall be determined as of the first day of July.
  4. All player-participants registering shall be accompanied by a parent or guardian unless such participant has achieved 18 years of age by the time of signing.
  5. All players and parents or guardians shall be required to read the “Code of Conduct” at the time of signing up. Acknowledgement of such shall be the parent/guardians signature on such copy of the “Code of Conduct”. Parent/guardian consent may be withdrawn at any time during the season by written revocation of withdrawal to the league President or Vice-president.
  6. Each player must have a medical history form completed by parent/guardian. The league, at its discretion, shall reserve the right to determine if a player attained, developed, or is sustaining a sound physical condition, and shall also reserve the right to reject any applicant deemed by the league unfit to play.
  7. Registration of all players and coaches must be accomplished by the dates set by the Board. Registration shall end when equipment shortages prevent safe addition of players.
  8. Registration will include a copy or original birth certificate. A witnessed parental permission form, and health card filled out by parent/guardian. Siblings and relatives will be assigned to the same team to the best of the leagues ability.
  9. All returning players will be assigned to their previous season’s team with the only exceptions being if they request not to be on that team, or in case of, but not necessarily, expansion. A player that wishes not to return to their previous team will go back in to the following year’s draft. There will be no “other” team requests honored.
  10. Coaches who choose to switch teams may take their child, or relative with them upon league approval.
  11. Assignment of players after the last registration date shall be appointed, according to league draft and balances, in such a matter to keep the teams as equal as possible according to numbers, weights, and ages.
  12. In such a case as expansion, but not necessarily, the league shall permit each Head Coach to freeze 10 players. No more than 4 lineman, and no more than 6 backs. Lineman and backs shall be determined as stated in Article 3. The Board in conjunction with the Head Coaches shall then reappoint remaining players. This right will be dependent on the total number of players not retained.
  13. Any returning player who does not sign up by the last sign-up date shall be subject to re-entering the draft according to Board discretion. The same will apply to any player taking one or more years away from the league.
  14. The draft will be conducted by the Vice-president, or person appointed by the Vice-president. It shall be a blind draft of ages and weights as to conform equality for all divisions and teams.

ARTICLE 3-Weights

  1. It is the league’s intention to insure the safety of all participants. Safety dictates that the league, in its judgment, shall determine the maximum allowable weight for the various positions. This determination shall take place prior to each season’s start.
  2. The maximum allowable weight, for 8th grade and below, shall be 250 pounds. Eligibility for such player shall be subject to board approval.
  3. All participants shall weigh in at sign-up. Note: weighing in does not mean such participant is officially signed-up.
  4. All participants that are over the league determined weight for their age group shall have a stripe, at least one inch wide, running from front to back down the middle of their helmet.
  5. Weight limits for appointing the distinction between linemen and backs shall be determined by the Board before the start of the first game.
  6. All players involved in kick-off or kick-return shall be non-stripers if possible. In the case that a team does not have 11 non-stripers the unit shall have stripers of least athletic ability fill the 11 man unit. In such case where stripers are involved the opposing team may then match striper for striper, and shall play on the front line of return, and middle of kick-off.
  7. Stripers shall be allowed to kick extra points, field goals, and punts, but may not advance the ball, (must kick).  In case of muffed or fumble the play will be whistled dead, and a loss of down.

ARTICLE 4-Equipment Safety

  1. All player equipment and protective gear must be worn at all games. NO EXCEPTIONS.
    • Protective gear, provided by the league shall consist of the following: helmet, face guard, mouth guard, shoulder pads, thigh pads, knee pads, tailbone pad, and hip pads
    • Parents shall provide supporter, regulation cleats, and any other pads that it not of the hard shell type, such as, elbow or fore arm pads.
    • Only clear visors may be worn.

ARTICLE 5-Liability

  1. Participation is predicated on parental consent.
    • All participants are subject to the inherent risks of a contact sport.
    • NWI Youth Football Inc. assumes no responsibility for any and all injuries, including but not limited to, the participants, spectators, parents, siblings of participants. In sum any individual within the confines of the activities of the NWI Youth Football Inc.
  2. Likewise, the NWI Youth Football Inc. assumes no responsibility for any damage to property. This disclaimer is incorporated by reference to the parental consent form required to play. Participation is a parental decision. The participants play at their own risk. The League’s directors, officers, sponsors, coaches, managers, referees, supervisory personnel, and volunteers assume no responsibility for any physical injury or property damage,

ARTICLE 6-Schedule

  1. The Board shall determine the number of games played during a season.
  2. Standings for a 4 team league shall be determined as follows:
    • #1 Overall record.
    • #2 Head to head.
    • #3 Points allowed on the season.
    • In the case of a tie there may be a one game playoff for 1st place. Ties for 2nd and 3rd, or 3rd and 4th will be determined by a coin flip for seeding purposes.
  3. When and if the league grows to more teams the tie breakers will be determined prior to the season by the board.
  4. Any games ending in a tie will result in an overtime period.
    • The overtime period shall start with a coin flip to determine possession.
    • Each team will get a turn starting at the 10 yard line and allowed 4 downs to score.
    • A maximum of 3 overtimes will be played during the regular season.
    • If a tie still exists the game will end as a tie.
  5. Playoffs shall pit the top team versus the lowest seed and so on.
  6. Any division that consists of 4 (four) teams:
    • The first place team will play the fourth place team; second place team will play the third place team.
    • Winners will play each other to advance to league championship.
  7. Any division that consists of 6 (six) teams:
    • The first and second place teams will receive a bye for the first playoff.
    • The third place team will play the sixth place team and the fourth place team will play the fifth place team.
    • The winner of the third place team vs. the sixth place team will play the second place team.
    • The winner of the fourth place team vs. the fifth place team will play the first place team.
    • Winners will play for the NWI Bowl.
  8. Any division of 8 (eight) teams:
    • Will be split into 2 Conferences National and American.
    • The first round of the playoffs shall match the first place team with the fourth place team and the second place team with the third place team in each Conference.
    • The winners will play for Conference Championship.
    • The winners from each Conference Championship will play in the NWI Bowl.
  9. Any division of 10 (ten) teams:
    • Will be split into 2 Conferences National and American.
    • At the end of the regular season the fifth place team from each Conference will play each other.
    • The first round of the playoffs shall then match the first place team with the fourth place team and the second place team with the third place team in each Conference.
    • The winners will play for Conference Championship.
    • The winners from each Conference Championship will play in the NWI Bowl.
  10. Any division of 12 (twelve) teams:
    • Will be split into 2 Conferences National and American.
    • The end of the regular season the fifth place team from each Conference and sixth place team from each Conference will play each other.
    • The first round of the playoffs shall then match the first place team with the fourth place team and the second place team with the third place team in each Conference.
    • The winners will play for Conference Championship.
    • The winners from each Conference Championship will play in the NWI Bowl.

ARTICLE 7-Practice

  1. First week of practice:
    • No live player on player contact shall be permitted during the first week of practice.
    • During the first week of practice, the use of dummies and shields is permitted.
  2. Second week of practice:
    • Monday and Tuesday of the second week of practice:
      • Intra-squad live player on player contact is permitted
    • Beginning on Wednesday of the second week of practice:
      • Live player on player intra-squad scrimmages will be allowed.
  1. Practices shall be from 6:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.
  2. Prior to the first game:
    • 4 (four) practices a week shall be allowed.
      • Practices will be:  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights
  1. After the first game:
    • Practices will be limited to 3 (three) practices a week.
      • Practices will be:  Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights
  1. Every team shall start practice with a minimum of five minutes of calisthenics with particular emphasis on exercises that stretch, loosen, and strengthen the various muscle groups. Under no circumstances, exercises such as, but not limited to, neck bridges, will not be permitted.
  2. Every team shall devote a minimum of 30 (thirty) minutes of practice to fundamentals such as running, passing, centering, handing off, blocking, tackling, stance, kicking, and other basic aspects of the game. Under no circumstances drills such as, but not limited to, as bull in the ring, shall be allowed. Scrimmaging with other teams shall be limited to 2 (two) nights of a week, for a period of time not to exceed 35 (thirty-five) minutes.
  3. The final 5 (five) minutes of each practice shall be devoted to running and/or verbal and written instruction There shall be no practices outside the scope of the league rules for practice.

ARTICLE 8-Officials

  1. Three I.H.S.A.A. officials shall officiate every game, unless only two are available.

ARTICLE 9-Rules of Play

  1. NWI Youth Football League shall follow the rules of I.H.S.A.A. rules of football with the exception of the following:
    • The quarters shall be 10 minutes for all under High School Divisions and 12 minutes for High School divisions.
    • Intervals between quarters shall be 2 minutes.
    • Intervals between halves shall be 15 minutes.
    • Free substitution shall be allowed.
    • Footballs shall be Official Youth size for each age. Pee Wee for 9 and under. TDJ’s for Middle divisions. And TDY’s for Big divisions. And Official High School footballs for all divisions above the 8th grade level.
  2. Game times will be announced prior to the season.
  3. Rainouts shall be played on a date determined by the board.
  4. Any team failing to play a scheduled game shall forfeit said game. Games may be rescheduled or postponed in advance.
  5. All participants shall play a minimum of 10 plays or one quarter. (Special teams shall not be considered a play.) Players may be withheld for disciplinary reasons with prior notification to the League President or Vice President and the player’s parents/guardians. Notification to a player’s parents must be given before any disciplinary action.
  6. Teams shall be called 3 minutes prior to the start of the second half for warming up exercises.
  7. Middle and Big divisions will be awarded 2 extra points for kick, and 1 point shall be awarded for pass or run.
  8. One extra point shall be awarded to the little team for a run, pass, or kick. No rush is allowed on a kick.
  9. The team must declare its intention prior to leaving the huddle.
  10. Little division teams are not allowed to rush on punts and the punting team shall not release a player until the ball is kicked.
  11. Little division teams are not allowed to fake on a punt or extra point.
  12. A participant must practice in 2 of the weekly practices to be eligible to play in that week’s game. Participating means being dressed in as much uniform as possible or as specified by a doctor’s note.
  13. Any participant who is returning from an injury severe enough to miss more than 1 week of practice must have and a doctor’s release before playing a game.
  14. A player must have 5 full practices before being allowed to play. NO EXCEPTIONS.
  15. No variations or trick plays are permitted if a black-striper is in the backfield. The play must be a field goal or extra point. Any other play shall be blown dead with the loss of down or no gain allowed.
  16. A coin flip shall determine which team has the choice of offense or defense in an over-time situation.
  17. Each team shall be allowed two time-outs per over-time. No time-outs shall be carried over from regulation.
  18. Any defensive player on the line of scrimmage lined up tackle to tackle must be in a three or four point stance. Penalty 5 yards.
  19. Black-stripers on the defensive line may not be any wider than the outside shoulder of the offensive tackle, which is defined for the purposes of this rule, as the second interior lineman outside the center. Failure to do so will result in a 15- yard penalty. When the offence is running an “unbalanced” offensive line, this may result in a black striper on the defensive line, lining up on the outside shoulder of the last player on the line of scrimmage which, by league rules would be a non-striper. If this does happen the result is no penalty.
  20. Chop Block Rule/Cut Block Rule:
    • 1st Offense: 15(fifteen) yard penalty.
    • 2nd Offense: ejection and suspension of the following game.
  21. Any player ejected from a game will be suspended from all team activities and any contact with the team for the next game week. No appeals will be granted.
  22. The last man on the offensive line of scrimmage cannot be a black-striper.
  23. On defense, black-stripers do not have to be covered by non-stripers.
  24. Offensive linemen do not have to, but may be in either a 3 or 4 point stance. They may be in a 2 point set stance.
  25. On defense, black-stripers may not back pedal to cover a pass. Penalty 10 yards first time, 15 yards after.
  26. Any defensive non-striper, in the middle or little division, lining up between the offensive tackle to tackle, must be a minimum of three yards off the ball or take a stance. Penalty 10 yards first time, 15 yards after. Note: This rule does NOT apply to Big divisions or older.

ARTICLE 10-Bench Area

  1. The player’s bench area shall be absolutely reserved for participants in uniform, injured players, and coaches.
  2. Coaches shall be responsible for the conduct of their team.

ARTICLE 11-Coaching Ethics

  1. Every head coach and assistant coach shall be given a copy of the Coaches Code of Ethics This document delineates the level of professionalism our coaches are to maintain. This guideline is incorporated by reference into these regulations.

All coaches must have background check to be completed before start of practice.