Game Rules

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The World Youth Championship Regional Events and the World Championship Event will abide by the official NFHS Rules with the following adjustments listed below:

  • Each team must bring one official team ball with team name on it for I.D. purposes (sharpie):
    • Ball Sizes:
      • 7U, 8U, 9U and Mighty Mite = K2
      • 10U, 11U and JR Pee Wee = TDJ
      • PeeWee = TDJ or TDY
      • 12U = TDY
      • 14U = Official
    • Please note that the football sizes above are a recommendation of the National Youth Championship and Wilson Sporting Goods.
    • However, the National Youth Championship will allow a team to use whatever football is approved by their own league for their division / age group.
  • Game Time:
    • 8-minute Quarters (Regular Running Clock)
    • 8-minute Half-Time
  • Mercy Rule:
    • If a team is ahead of the other team by 24 points or more, the game clock will switch to a running clock for the remainder of the game.
  • Overtime Rules:
    • Each team will have a chance to score during an overtime period.
    • The visiting team will call the coin toss to start off overtime.
    • The team that wins the coin toss will have a choice to take the ball first or defer to the other team.
    • Each team will start at the 10-yard line and will have 4 downs to score
    • If the first team scores and the second team does not score, the game is over.
    • If both teams remain tied after the first overtime period, the game continues into another overtime period until one team wins.
    • Whichever team goes second during the first overtime period, starts with the ball during the next overtime period (if another overtime period is needed).
    • If a game is tied after 2 overtime periods, then teams must go for 2 points after they score a touchdown.
  • PAT:
    • Teams can Pass or Kick for 2 points after a touchdown.
    • Teams may run for 1 point after a touchdown.
    • 7U, 8U and Mighty Mite Teams may kick extra point with no rush.
  • Celebrations:
    • Celebrations are allowed after scores in a tasteful manner.
    • Taunting the other team, any un-sportsmanship like celebrations and/or any sexual gestures will not be tolerated and will receive a 10-yard penalty. If penalty happens after a scoring play that penalty will be assessed on the following kick-off.
  • Kicking (7U, 8U and Mighty Mite):
    • Prior to start of game, both teams can agree to punt the ball live the entire game or choose a 25-yard walk off on 4th down for the entire game if they choose not to go for it.
    • Prior to start of game, both teams can agree to kick-off the entire game after a score or choose to start on their own 35-yard line the entire game after a score.
  • Kick-off:
    • Onside kicks are allowed during the entire game (if there is kicking involved in the game – 7U, 8U and Mighty Mite).
  • Blitzing and Lining Up:
    • Blitzing and lining up over the center is allowed during the entire game at all levels except 7U, 8U and Mighty Mites unless both team coaches agree.
  • Blocking:
    • There is no chop or cut blocking allowed at any level.
  • Athlete Playing Time:
    • There are no restrictions on athlete playing time. This decision is at the coaches’ discretion.
  • Team Personnel On-Field:
    • 7U and 8U teams are allowed to have one coach on the field at a time on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball.
  • Injuries:
    • Any head injuries / concussion protocol is at the event’s Athletic Trainer / EMT discretion. The Athletic Trainer / EMT will provide their recommendation if an athlete can continue playing in the current game, for the remainder of the event and/or needs immediate attention after a sustained head injury.
    • Other injuries - The Athletic Trainer / EMT will provide their recommendation if an athlete can continue playing in the current game, for the remainder of the event and/or needs immediate attention after a sustained injury.
    • Each coach is response for reporting all athlete injuries that have not been recognized by referees, event staff or event Athletic Trainers on the field to event staff.
    • The Event Director has final discretion on all decisions relating whether an athlete can continue playing in the current game or for the remainder of the event after that athlete has been fully evaluated by the event Athletic Trainer / EMT.
  • Football Equipment / Protective Wear:
    • All athletes must wear full protective equipment at all times during game play (all pads and mouth pieces).
    • All athletes must have their chinstraps buckled at all times.
    • All athletes must wear their mouthpieces at all times.
  • Positional Jerseys:
    • Any athlete, regardless of jersey number can play any position.
  • Pre-Game Coin Toss:
    • Each team will be asked to pick 4 team captains for every pre-game coin toss.
  • Team Sportsmanship / Conduct:
    • Coaches are responsible for the behavior of their coaching staff, team manager, parents and athletes at all times.
    • Referees have final say on the field. Harassment of the referees by coaches, players, or fans will not be tolerated.
    • The World Youth Championship staff have the right to eject anyone and no refunds will be given.
    • The Event Director has final discretion on conduct matters which supersede any referee’s call pertaining to sportsmanship / conduct.
    • An athlete can be ejected for a single game or for the entire tournament for misconduct. The Event Director has final discretion on the amount of games an athlete can be ejected for based on the severity of the misconduct.
    • All players, coaches, parents, and any representatives of an organization must adhere to code of conduct of the Pro Football Hall of Fame World Youth Championship and uphold the best interest of the Pro Football Hall of Fame World Youth Championship both on and off the field. In the event a person, player, or group is banned or removed from a World Youth Championship event, any further altercations will have the team held responsible. The National Director has the authority to override or extend as a final decision.
  • Tournament Advancement:
    • Tie Breaker Criteria (If there are multiple teams within a division that are tied after an advancement round):
      • #1: Point Differential
      • #2: Head-to-Head
      • #3: Points Against
      • #4: Coin Toss
  • Instant Replay:
    • There will be no instant replay during any game until World Championship Day.

In Championship play (Dec 7-16), the event has discretion/decision making power to determine if a player in weighted divisions is eligible to play where that athlete is within a few pounds of weight limit with consent of the opposing team.