HART COUNTY RECREATION DEPARTMENT
YOUTH FOOTBALL RULES & POLICIES
The Hart County Recreation Department (HCRD) strives to provide the citizens of Hart County
with a wholesome, quality program of leisure activities for the enjoyment of all segments of the
population and to continue to plan future programs and develop facilities to enhance the quality
of life in Hart County.
PURPOSE AND OBJECTIVES
The purpose of the youth football program is to teach Hart County youth the fundamental skills
of football in a safe, enjoyable and team-oriented environment. The objectives of the program
are to familiarize participants with the fundamentals of football, to provide an opportunity to play
the game in a supervised and organized manner and to keep the pleasure of the game free from
glory seeking adults and their private ambitions.
1. The control date is PRIOR to September 1 and all players must be 7-12 prior to
September 1st. An acceptable proof of birth is required to determine league age.
Divisions are 8 and under, 10 and under, and 12 and under.
2. Players must be residents (physical address) of Hart County and participate in the Hart
County School System.
3. All games and pre-season practices will be scheduled by the Department.
4. The Department implements a “You Pay. You Play.” policy. However, we (staff and
coaches) stress the importance of academics. We encourage parents to suspend their
children from play if grades begin to drop. It is strictly up to parents to enforce this
guideline. Please inform the Head Coach and Department staff of any changes to your
1. Profanity, unsportsmanlike conduct, and verbal or physical abuse by spectators, players,
or coaches will not be allowed during any league activity. Recreation Department
Supervisors will verbally warn or ask violators to leave the premises when deemed
necessary: a) anyone who engages in physical assaults will be suspended from
Recreation Department activities immediately; upon review, the individual may be
suspended for up to one calendar year and legal action may be taken, b) all spectators who
interfere with the progress of a game will be removed from the premises and may be
removed for the remainder of the season, depending upon review.
2. Players/coaches suspended during a game because of conduct will be suspended for the
following game as well.
3. Game officials will govern all play and any outside interference that may disrupt a game.
4. Volunteer coaches must pass a criminal background check to work for the Hart
County Recreation Department. Coaches will then be assigned to teams by seniority
of service, review of the coach’s application, and previous year’s record (incidents).
Priority will be given first to Head Coaches returning in a division, second to Head
Coaches moving to a new division, third to Assistant Coaches with seniority of
service, and finally to any volunteers requesting a head coach position.
5. All Head Coaches and assistant coaches will be internally certified. Other volunteers may
help with team duties other than coaching. Coaches should make sure that only players
and coaches are occupying the team bench.
6. Adult leadership for each team must stay at all practices or games until all children are
picked up by their parents/guardians.
7. Coaches are expected to discuss any disciplinary actions with parents and with Recreation
Staff. Coaches are urged to have a team meeting with the parents before the beginning of
the season to discuss league policies, rules, team policies, emergency procedures, bad
weather days, etc.
1. All play will be governed according to Georgia High School Rules, GRPA procedures,
Hart County Recreation Department procedures, and the exceptions listed below:
2. WEIGHT LIMITS: All ball carriers will have a weight limit as follows:
3. 8 and under: 100 lbs.; 10 and under: 120 lbs.; 12 and under: No Limit
4. Players over this weight limit must play on the line of scrimmage in offensive formations.
They may not receive or carry the ball on offense. They may not return punts or kick offs.
**Returns made during turnovers are not subject to these limits.**
5. FIELD COACHES: Two coaches may be on the field with the team in the 8 and under
division. No coaches may be on the field in the 10 and under or 12 and under
division. Once the huddle is broken, coaches must remain at least 10 yards from the
line of scrimmage.
6. DURATION OF GAMES: All divisions will have a running clock with four (4), ten
minute quarters. The clock will stop for time-outs, penalties that require lengthy
discussions of the officials, or injuries. In the running mode, the clock will also stop after
extra point attempts to line up for kick offs. There will be no automatic time-outs
between quarters. There will be a verbal two minute warning before each half (no
automatic time out). These two minutes will operate according to GHSA rules.
7. TIME-OUTS: Each team will have three (3) time-outs per half.
8. HALFTIME: Halftime will consist of five (5) running minutes.
9. KICK-OFFS: The ball will be placed on the 30 yard line. Returns are subject to the
weight limit rule. In the 8 and under division, the return team will have the ball
placed on their 30 yard line. There will be no kick-offs.
10. PUNTING: No players may rush or release down field until the ball is kicked. Muffs
will be punted from the point they are retrieved. If a team does not declare their
intentions about the kick to the head ref, then it will be played live. *In the 8 and under
division, the ball will be advanced 20 yards and then possession will change.*
11. PATS (Extra Points): Teams may not rush the kicker for PATS; on the run or pass,
standard defense applies. If the snap or hold is muffed/dropped on the kick, the
PAT is no good. Scoring for PATS and two point conversions will comply with High
School Rules for 12 and under. * For 8 and under and 10 and under, 2 pts. for the
kick and 1 pt. for the run or pass.
12. FIELD GOALS: same as PATS procedure, except scoring is 3 pts.
13. DEFENSE: In 8 and under and 10 and under, no player may line up directly in
front of the center on the line. There will be a ten (10) yard penalty for violation.
14. Substitutions by players may be made from any point of the team’s sideline, but are
subject to GHSA rules regarding the snap of the football.
15. MERCY RULE (GHSA): Because there is a running clock in all games and if a team has
a 21 point lead, the clock will continuously run through the two minutes before the half
and/or the two minutes before the end of the game.
16. PENALTIES: Automatic and simple penalties will be worked out with the clock running.
Fifteen (15) yard penalties will be assessed as ten (10) yard penalties. Unsportsmanlike
conduct on the coach will be a 15-yard penalty.
17. OVERTIME PROCEDURE: There will be no overtime play during the regular season of
the Hart County Recreation Department football program.
18. PROTESTS: There shall be no protests. Any rule dispute will be handled on the field by
the game officials and the department’s supervisor (if needed). Any solution is final.
1. Every participant must play in every game unless sick, injured, or being disciplined.
A coach must communicate to the parents and the Department that a player is being
disciplined prior to a game.
2. PLAYING TIME: Each player must have a starting position on offense or
defense. *In the 12 and under divisions, each recreation department will enforce its
own playing requirements for its own teams.
1. The 12 and under Division will participate in a League Tournament at the end of the
regular season (depending on agreement by NEGA association).
NEGA Tournament (All-Stars)
1. The Hart County Recreation Department youth football regular season affords every
participant the opportunity to play the game of football. The All-Star program
rewards those coaches and players who excel in the program with the opportunity to
represent Hart County in a tournament against other local Recreation Departments.
2. Taking into account league numbers and talent levels, the Recreation Department will
offer as many all-star teams within divisions as deemed necessary or possible. All-
Stars will only be selected from the team rosters of their respective league. Players
who have gained an exception to “play up” in league age will only be eligible to play
all-stars for the league in which they played.
3. The All-Star selection process (coaches and players) will be determined at a mid-
season Coaches meeting.
4. The All-Star Head Coach will be allowed to choose his assistant coaches. The Head
Coach is allowed to choose up to four (4) assistants.
5. The Hart County Recreation Department All-Stars will participate in the City of
Hartwell’s Holiday Parade. Entry fees will be paid by the Department. Coaches will
be responsible for finding transportation for their teams. Parade participants must be
members of the All-Star teams, wear their current All-Star jerseys, and ride as a team.
6. Once the NEGA Tournament concludes, the Hart County Recreation
Department football program officially concludes. Any additional tournaments
will not be sponsored or supported by the Department. Any such tournament
will strictly be the responsibility of the parent.
1. Gate admission will be $1.00 for adults, $0.50 for students, and 4 and under
free with adult supervision. Coaches/players do not pay for any games.
2. Profanity, unsportsmanlike conduct, and verbal or physical abuse by spectators,
players, or coaches will not be allowed during any league activity. See above
Conduct Rules under Administration for disciplinary actions.
3. No refunds once uniforms/equipment have been ordered.
4. Each team will be responsible for its end-of-the-season banquet. MVP or
individual accomplishment awards are not allowed at team functions.
1. Parents/guardians must provide accident insurance for their child. The Recreation
Department provides ONLY secondary insurance.
2. Coaches are responsible for reporting any accidents or injuries that occur during
practices and/or games to the Recreation Department within 24 hours of the incident.
3. If a child goes to the doctor/hospital for an injury, the parent must present a
doctor’s release to the Rec. Dept before the child is allowed to play again.
1. The location, number and times of practices will be assigned according to availability
of field space by the Recreation Department. Practices will not exceed 90 minutes.
1. In the event of inclement weather (which would postpone or cancel a program), Rec.
Dept. Staff would make efforts to inform Head Coaches of the cancellation. The
cancellation will be posted on the Department’s voicemail (706-376-8528).
The Recreation Department staff under the advisement of the Recreation
Advisory Board has the right to alter or change any of the above rules for the
purpose of achieving its mission.