The NIRSA Flag & Touch Football Rules Committee was created 40 years ago and tasked with developing the rules, interpretations, and officiating mechanics for flag and touch football. The book was first published in 1983 and this latest version, the 19th edition, is the culmination of two years of work by the NIRSA Flag Football Editorial Board. This book will govern the game for the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

Promoting inclusivity and excitement for all involved is a primary goal when considering changes for flag football. The revisions contained in this edition are designed to create a more consistent and positive experience for players and officials. Currently, our rule book is used throughout the world by thousands of college, community, and university recreation programs; high school athletic programs; correctional institutions; YMCA/YWCAs; and military installations, including the Department of Army-Europe and the Department of the Navy.

Contained in the 19th edition is a dedication to James L. Leonard. Jim is a Vietnam War veteran who began officiating tackle and flag football after retiring from the U.S. Army. In 1982, Jim attended the U.S. Army NIRSA Flag Football Officials’ Clinic, conducted by former rule book dedication recipient Jim Potter of Trinity University. During his football career, Jim has led nearly one hundred officiating clinics and trained countless officials utilizing the rules and mechanics contained in the NIRSA book.

Designed for coaches, officials, instructors, players, and fans, this easy-to-read rule book and officials’ manual reflects NIRSA’s commitment to the development of flag and touch football. Get ready for the upcoming flag football season and purchase your book or epublication today through the Human Kinetics website!

If you’re looking for more resources, be sure to visit the officiating resources page on the NIRSA website. Educational materials are currently being updated with the new rule and mechanics changes and will be posted to this page for the start of the upcoming fall flag football season. There, you will be able to find in-depth resources that are useful for training your student officials. Finally, if you have a question or suggested rule/mechanic change, please consider submitting your thoughts to the Editorial Board through an inquiry form on the Flag & Touch Rule Book & Officials’ Manual page online.


  • For more information, please contact NIRSA Senior Director of Operations Mary Callender.
Assistant Director of Intramural Sports at Virginia Tech | NIRSA Profile

Jeff Feldhaus is currently the Assistant Director of Intramural Sports at Virginia Tech. He is the Chair of the Flag Football Editorial Board.