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Rules and Policies

In support of the tenets of the JDL program, the league has adapted and extended the rules and policies of traditional football programs. Among the unique features and considerations are the following:   


JDL Game Rules

With several notable exceptions, JDL football is played in accordance with established youth football rules contained in the National Federation of State High School Association (NFHS) rulebook.   


Any discussion of playing rules should consider the JDL Football philosophy and its unique coaching approach. Parents should remember that JDL football coaches are coaching both competitive teams and in most divisions, also serve as referees. As a result, the role of referee is less adversarial and also less consequential. The referee serves as another coach on the field with the dual task of mentoring while maintaining a "level" playing field for the competitive teams. You'll no doubt surmise by this statement that the application of the rules varies with the level and experience of the players. As an involved parent, we invite you to familiarize yourself with the league rules so that you can support the coaches and referees in their efforts to work with these young minds. In your role, we ask you to help your child learn the applicable rules. We further ask that you serve as an example to your child of good sportsmanship and respect.



Parent's Code of Conduct

Consistent with the playing rules and other league principles, we require that every coach adhere to a “Coach’s Code of Conduct” and the "Bill of Rights for Young Players." Similarly, every parent must read and agree to the league's “Parents Code of Conduct.” No child will be permitted to play JDL Football unless this form is signed and turned in with all other registration materials. The Parent's code of conduct follows.

  • I will encourage good sportsmanship by being a good positive role model.

  • I will try my best to make athletics a positive experience for everyone involved, i.e., participants, coaches, officials, and spectators.

  • I will insist that my players will treat other players, coaches, officials and fans with respect.

  • I will show appreciation for an outstanding play by either team.

  • I will be a “team fan” not a “my child” fan.

  • If I have a concern, I will talk to the coach at the appropriate time and place, i.e. never before, during or immediately after a contest. 

  • At any JDL Football event, practice, or competition, any adult who participates in any of the below behavior will be asked to leave the event:

    • Verbally abuses

    • Attempts to intimidate

    • Is flagrantly rude

    • Cannot control their language or actions with an official, coach, player or other volunteer

  • Any adult that commits a second similar offense will be banned from JDL Football events for the remainder of the season.

  • Any adult who physically assaults an official, coach, or volunteer will be banned from JDL Football events for one year from the date of the offense.

  • After one year, the parent may apply for re-instatement.

  • If the adult commits a second offense, he or she will be permanently banned from such events.


Playing Time

One of the most fundamental tenets of JDL Football is the premise that each player receive abundant playing time. The head coach is responsible for ensuring that this objective is met for every participant during the course of the season. To assist the coach in this task, JDL football provides a special software tool that the coach uses to create competitively balanced team rosters for each game.

Using the software, the head coach creates two teams from their entire division roster. These teams only exist for this game and next week's teams only exist for one game so for each game you have unique teams. The software assures that each player starts either on offense or defense in each half. Considering that there are four starting segments or opportunities in a game––1st half offense, 1st half defense, 2nd half offense and 2nd half defense––and 16 players per team, 12 of the players play three of the four starting segments and the 4 remaining players play in 2 of the 4 segments in that game.  As the season progresses, the software tool ensures that each player has an equal opportunity to play 3 of the 4 starting segments. Of course, game time circumstances (player absences/injury) may require that the head coach vary from the roster created plan. In these instances, the coach must make best efforts to maintain a level of equality across the players present for that game. 


Position Assignment

While every player wants a chance to handle the football, we know that in most other football programs only a few players on the team get that chance. That is not the case in JDL football. JDL Coaches are required to give all players the opportunity to play each of the major football positions especially the ball handling positions (e.g. Quarterback, 3 Running Backs, & Center). Again, the roster software provides the necessary assistance to the coaches to help them keep track of players and the positions they have played during the season. With this information it is the responsibility of the head coach to ensure that each player has the opportunity to play running back and quarterback during a game. Doing the math, one should quickly understand that not everyone will play a full game in these positions, but it should be clear that it is the expectation of the league that every player get a game time experience in these coveted positions.


To achieve this objective, the league and coaching staff need your help. In fairness to the child, it's important that he/she be given the opportunity to receive adequate practice and instruction in the positions. Please assist the head coach by letting him know of any plans to miss practice or a game. Failure to do so may jeopardize your child's opportunity to participate one of the key positions. Furthermore it may cause a ripple effect that impacts other players as well. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

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