All teams must make reservations through our tournament housing group T3Travel (links and more information will be updated), pay $350 registration fee, and send in a team roster with each individual players weight( beginning of the season weight is fine) and date of birth prior to being scheduled for game play. Divisions are set based on Age, Skill, and Size in that order. We understand that teams do not want to travel to a tournament to beat teams by 30 points or lose by 30 points. In order to place teams where they need to be we need this information before we can schedule games.
***Please note that we have revised some rules number regarding game play, in order to align our rules more closely with NFHS Standards
Rules and Regulations
- A legal birth document must be presented for all players who are participating in the Gatlinburg Thanksgiving Bowl. A legal birth document is a certificate of birth with an official state seal, school records, conference ID cards, court documents or another document that shows the date of birth. Birth certificates without official seals, school records or other documents need a notarized statement stating that the information is true and correct and signed by the parent or guardian. These documents do not relieve any of the liability of penalty for the community submitting these documents if they are later proven to be false or incorrect. Incorrect documents or false documents can lead to forfeiture of games, ban your team or community organization from future participation in our tournament, and the coach can be held liable for any injuries that occur due to the use of an overage player.
- At weigh-in each team will turn in a team roster in numerical order (indicating player weight, and date of birth), and present their team book. Team books will be in numerical order, for each participating player there must be a player ID/release completed with photo attached, signature of parent/guardian, signature of notary and notary seal. On the opposite page or, on the back if clear page protectors are used will be the legal birth document.
- Weigh-ins can be conducted in shorts. If you are weighing in at your game field, you should have your team there at least one hour and thirty minutes before your game is scheduled to kick off.
- Once a player is weighed in and makes the required weight, they will be given a wrist-band that must be worn all weekend. All players must have their wrist-band on to participate in the tournament. A player who participates in a game without their wristband on will be ejected from the tournament and a 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty will be charged to that team. If two players are ejected during one game the head coach will also be ejected.
- Each player will be weighed in prior to being allowed to participate in their first game. Once initial weight is determined, no additional weigh-ins will be required. A visual check of each player will be traded prior to every game to ensure that all players are checked and present for each game. The coach or team mom must have all registration paperwork present and available at each game. (Birth certificates, & Player identification sheets) Any team that participates with an ineligible player will be disqualified from the tournament.
Game Play Rules and Procedures
- All games will consist of four equal eight minute quarters. The only exception will be the 13U National Championship game which will consist of four ten minute quarters.
- A running clock will be utilized in any game in which a team is behind by 21 points. The clock will not be stopped for any reason other than timeouts until the point difference is less than 21 points.
- The game field for 6 and 7 year olds will be a modified field that is 80yds long by 40yds wide. This is due to so many other leagues playing of a modified field with the younger teams.
- If your team is late to the game: examples include traffic, overslept, ect, your team will be penalized one 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct foul to be marked off during the opening kickoff. If there is more than a 15 minute delay then the opposing coach has the option of winning the game by forfeit.
- Each team must provide their own water coolers/bottles and footballs. Teams will use Wilson K2, TDJ or TDY footballs or its equivalent. The game officials will determine if a football meets the equivalent criteria. Divisions using K2 Ball: 6U, 7U, 8U, 9U, 10U. Divisions using TDJ ball 11U, and 12U. Divisions using TDY ball 13U.
- Radio headsets will be allowed on the sideline by coaches only.
- The 6, & 7 year old divisions are allowed one coach on the field during regular game play. That coach is restricted from interfering in any manner of play. If officials determine that a coach interferes, that coach will be removed from the field of play to the sideline for the duration of that game and that team forfeits the rite to have a coach on the field for the remainder of the game. If a coach decides to begin the game on the sideline, he may not move onto the field of play after the game begins.
- If any player, coach, or spectator is ejected by a referee, field representative, or security personnel, the ejection will be for the remainder of that game and continue throughout that teams next game.
- Players may only participate in one age/weight division and for one team only. This is for the safety and concern of the athlete.
- All teams must wear the same color uniform; pants and jersey’s must all be the same color.
- No fighting period. If you/your team fights you/your team will be automatically disqualified for the remainder of the tournament. You/your team will not be allowed to participate in any future Gatlinburg Thanksgiving Bowl Tournaments, and you could possibly face legal charges.
- All tie games will be decided by the deepest penetration rule. The ball will be spotted at the minus 40 yard line (you must go 60 yards to score). Each team will have one chance to drive the ball as far as they can, once that team has either scored, turned the ball over on downs, or turned the ball over (fumble, int) the other teams gets a chance to see how far they can go. The team that penetrates the deepest wins, if both teams score and the game is tied once again we will repeat the same procedure. In the event of a fumble or interception by the team that recieves the first overtime possession, the recovering team must snap the ball from an offensive formation and advance the ball in order to win. The initial fumble negates the offensive penetration of overtime.
- There will be no smoking, or alcohol use in the stands, or on the sidelines before, during, or after any games. Officials will charge an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for any violation and the person will be ejected from the playing field.
- Disorderly conduct will not be tolerated. You will be removed from the premises and /or arrested by local police.
15. SPECIAL TEAMS
- There will be no kickoffs for the 6U, 7U, 8U, 9U, and 10U divisions
- Play will begin at the 30 yard line.
- There will be no punting for 6U, 7U, 8U, 9U, and 10U divisions.
- Punts will be marked off 20 yards when a team declares they are punting.
- Teams will not be allowed to declare punt if they are inside the opposing teams 30
yard line. The punt will go no further than the 30 yard line or 20 yards total distance.
- Punting will be live for the 11U, 12U, 13U and 14U divisions
- Kickoffs are live for the 11U, 12U, 13U and 14U divisions
- All age groups can attempt extra points. Successful kicks are worth 2 points, a successful run or pass is worth 1 point.
***These special teams rules are enforced for the safety of the athletes
and to give them more actual playing time.
2013 Rule Changes
- A player that exceeds weight limit without equipment is not eligible for an offensive backfield position. He cannot take a direct handoff and advance the ball behind the line of scrimmage as an offensive player. This player must line up on the line of scrimmage except in a punting situation, field goal or extra point attempt that is to be kicked an overweight player may line up in the backfield as a kicker and must try to kick the ball. At no time can an overweight player who lines up in the backfield as a punter or kicker attempt to run or pass the ball. If the ball is not kicked then the ball must be downed. There are no fake punt plays or fake field goals or fake extra points allowed with an overweight player in the backfield.
- A player that exceeds weight limit without equipment that lines up on the line of scrimmage is eligible for a forward pass as long as the pass is thrown past the line of scrimmage and the player who catches the pass is a legal receiver as per NFHS Rules.
- A defensive player that exceeds weight limit without equipment must line up on the line of scrimmage on defense.
- Any defensive player who recovers a fumble or intercepts a pass may advance the football according to NFHS Rules.
- If an overweight player is playing off the line of scrimmage that team will receive a 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
- All coaches, managers and players must remain between the 25 yard line markers. Only six coaches and 2 managers are allowed on the sideline and the coaches and managers must be listed on the team’s roster, prior to first game.
- Foul language used by on field players and or coaches and players on the sideline will result in 1st offense warning, 2nd offense unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, if there are 2 unsportsmanlike conduct penalties assessed during a game the head coach will be ejected.