Danbury Trojans: Rules

Football Rules
Coaches Code of Conduct
All coaches, football and cheerleading, will abide by a Code of Conduct which includes the following provisions. If any of these rules are broken, the league shall have the authority to impose a penalty. Coaches shall:

Not smoke and/or use smokeless tobacco on the field.
Not criticize players/cheerleaders in front of spectators, but reserve constructive criticism for later, in private, or in the presence of team/squad members if others might benefit.
Accept decisions of the game officials and judges on the field and in competitions as being fair and called to the best ability of said officials.
Not criticize an opposing team, its players, coaches, cheerleaders or fans by word of mouth or by gesture.
Emphasize that good athletes strive to be good students and that both are physically and mentally alert.
Strive to make every football/cheerleading activity serve as a training ground for life, and a basis for good mental and physical health.
Emphasize that winning is the result of good "teamwork."
Not engage in excessive sideline coaching and shall not leave the bench area to shout instructions from the sidelines.
Together with team officials, be jointly responsible for the conduct and control of team fans and spectators. Any fan who becomes a nuisance and out of control will be asked to leave.
Not use abusive or profane language at any time.
Not "pile it on;" not encourage their team to get a commanding lead and raise the score as high as it can. In these instances, every effort shall be made to let all players play.
Not receive any payment, in cash or kind, for services as a coach in Pop Warner Football/Cheerleading. This includes any coach, consultant or choreographer, regardless of his/her roster status.
Not permit or encourage "sweating down" tactics in order for a player to make the team weight.
Not recommend or distribute any medication, controlled or over the counter, except as specifically prescribed by the participant's physician.
Not permit an ineligible player to participate in a game.
Not deliberately incite unsportsmanlike conduct.
Abstain from the possession or use of any illegal substance on both the game and practice fields.
Remove from a game or practice any participant when even slightly in doubt of his/her health, whether or not as a result of injury, until competent medical advice is available.
Control their fans. Remember, as a team coach, you're responsible for your team, and fan reaction will usually be in step with your reaction.
Uphold all the rules and regulations, national and local, regarding Pop Warner Football.

The term "league" has two definitions, each separate and distinct as applicable:

It is a legal term to define a type of league/conference, or
It is a grouping of teams of the same ages and weights (playing division) into a "league" for scheduling purposes.
A league consists of a minimum of four (4) teams playing in the same age/weight division. Leagues are issued a charter by Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc. All leagues are responsible to National with the assistance of the appropriate Regional Administrator(s) on behalf of Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc.

Associations are organizations which sponsor and administer one or more teams. They raise money, buy equipment, recruit coaches, secure fields, etc.

Associations are characterized by specific geographical coverage. In cities, they often adopt commonly understood neighborhood names. In the suburbs, they usually take the town name. In rural areas, an association name may embrace an entire county (or a substantial part of it). As association's recruiting area is approved by its league and is normally consistent with its geographical name.

When there are no associations, a league is intramural.

A team is the universal, basic unit of organization. At minimum, a team consists of a group of players organized under the direction of a coaching staff in a given age/weight division, and may have an attached cheerleading squad.

Division has several meanings, the most common of which refers to one of the seven (7) age/weight classifications; Mitey-Mite (MM), Junior PeeWee (JP), Pee Wee (P), Junior Midget (JM), Midget (M), Junior Bantam (JB), and Bantam (B).

Another use of the word is to designate a subgrouping of a league, such as "National-American divisions" or "East-West divisions." NOTE: Requests from National for "division of play" refer solely to the age/weight classifications.

Coaches Requirements
A team's or a squad's coaching staff is in complete charge of the team or squad whenever it is together on the practice or playing field, traveling as a group to and from practice sessions and games, or together for any team function, such as a banquet. The coaching staff is under the direction of the head coach; other coaches are called assistant coaches. The following applies to all coaches:

A head coach must be at least 21 years of age.
An assistant coach must be at least 18 years of age or a high school graduate. A team/squad may have a maximum of four (4) assistant coaches, plus a maximum of one (1) coach-trainee.
Teams/squads are permitted to carry a coach-trainee, who must be a minimum of 16 years of age.
The head coach will determine the assignments of the assistant coaches.
In the absence of a specialized, trained person affiliated with the team/squad in the medical area (physician, paramedic, specially trained volunteer), one of the coaches must be the holder of a current Red Cross Certificate in Community CPR and First Aid.
Coaches are to be selected by methods approved by league rules and/or by-laws.
Once approved for coaching, a coach is automatically terminated at the close of each session. To coach the following year, the same league approval is required. Any violation of the rules committed by a coach during the season, even though the hearing is not held until after the close of the season, is still under the jurisdiction of the sponsoring association and/or league.
Coaches do not make team or league policy. Rather, they carry it out. However, on the playing and practice fields, the coaching staff is in complete charge and shall not be interfered with except in cases of rules violations and any other conduct deemed by higher authority to be contrary to the welfare of youth.
The head football coach has final responsibility for his actions, those of his assistant coaches, players, staff and cheerleading personnel.
Each league shall establish its own rules regarding the placing of coaches with sons, daughters or siblings within its own boundaries.
A candidate cannot begin practice with a team or squad until he/she has "signed-up." To register, the candidate must sign a standard, locally-supplied form approved by the league. The sign-up fee, if any, may be collected at this time. The candidate must also furnish the following:

Medical Examination: A signed statement from an examining physician that the candidate is physically fit and that there are no observable conditions which would contraindicate him/her playing football or her cheering. Note: If regular school medical examination was performed after January 1 of the current year, and the results are releasable to the parents, a copy of such a report may be used in lieu of a new examination.
Special Note: A person with a loss of limb may participate providing that the individual has a signed statement of approval from an examining physician and that the use of the limb is no more dangerous to player than the corresponding human limb, and does not place an opponent at a disadvantage.
Proof of Age: A certified copy of the birth certificate on file bearing the seal of the issuing office of the state of birth is the best guarantee of reliability of claimed birthdate. Passports are also reliable. Military ID cards are not acceptable. Certified wallet certificates issued by a state or commonwealth are acceptable. Any other alleged "proof of birthdate," including photocopies of "originals," are to be accepted only upon the willingness of the team administration to have its schedule forfeited should fraudulent application later be determined.
Scholastic Fitness: Proof of satisfactory progress in school is required. In cases of doubt or conflict of opinion, a written statement by the school administration shall be deemed final. NOTE: This rule as it relates to scholastic grades may not be made more stringent by any team, association, or league, as other rules may be. No local team/squad may be eligible to participate in league championships and/or bowl games if it has not met the nationally published scholastic requirements.
Formation of Teams and Squads
Tryouts of any kind within Pop Warner are prohibited. Tryouts are defined as any means used to ascertain the level whereby a participant is placed on a team/squad, including assessments, evaluations, or any other method used to place a participant in Pop Warner. Not more than 35 players shall be assigned to a football team at the start of preconditioning.

Mandatory Cuts
A participant must be cut who:

is found to have signed up as a result of parental pressure or tells team management he/she does not really want to play/cheer.
refuses or cannot furnish the 4 required items: parental consent, medical examination, proof of age, and scholastic fitness.
is found to be simultaneously trying out for a school tackle football team, or who, once the season starts, is found to be participating on a school tackle football team or cheer squad. However, participation in a school flag football program, if required by the curriculum of the school PE program, or participation in non-Pop Warner cheerleader tryouts only, during the Pop Warner season, is allowed.
is certified on any other organized non-Pop Warner football team or cheer squad during the season.
attempts to intimidate fellow participants in practice by work and/or physical deed. No refunding of fees shall be required.
is an extreme discipline problem (and then, only with the concurrence of the league).
Voluntary Cuts
A participant shall be considered a voluntary or "self-cut" participant when he/she simply no longer shows up at practices or games of his/her own free will.

While voluntary cuts are not charged to any team for the purpose of these regulations, a coaching staff may attempt to disguise its cutting pattern by arranging practices in such a way as to discourage participants of lesser ability into quitting on their own. While these practices are not common, they have been known to occur and are considered intentional avoidance of the rules and regulations and are, therefore, punishable as a result of a hearing.

If a team or cheer squad loses 20% of more of its assigned participants prior to certification, it is mandatory that the association investigate the causes for the participants voluntarily leaving the team or cheer squad, and take whatever appropriate action may be needed. The results of this investigation shall be reported to the league and the league shall have final authority as to whether appropriate actions were taken.

Certification is that process whereby the team or association will file with the league of which it is a member, a complete roster of players and a complete roster of cheerleaders for the regular season schedule.

A certified copy of each roster will be forwarded by the league to PWLS, and to the regional director (or his/her designee) by the announced deadline. This is a certified roster in that the league has accepted the information at a pre-season session with its teams and cheer squads, based upon information submitted, and the teams and cheer squads are restricted to those participants for the balance of the season (except for allowed "drops" and "adds").

This will be accomplished on the official Pop Warner Football or Cheerleader roster forms, or any form developed by a league providing that the form is approved by National Pop Warner Headquarters.

Certification must be completed prior to the opening game or the regular league schedule. The procedures for accomplishing certification are discussed hereafter. To be certified onto a team or squad roster, a participant shall qualify under the following:

A. Eligibility according to residence shall be decided by the league when the candidate resides in an area other than that authorized for the association by the league and on file at PWLS.
B. Each association shall attempt to assign a first-time participant to the lowest age and weight division for which he/she is qualified.
C. Once certified for a particular age and weight division, a participant shall not be permitted to recertify to a lower division of play during the current season under any circumstances, but based on the information available shall be permitted to approve recertification to a higher division of play.
D. Age shall be verified by birth certificate.
E. Current ID pictures are required by participants.
F. It is the responsibility of the league board members to conduct weigh-ins. Players should be in a stripped mode (gym shorts). A league board member is not permitted to weigh-in his/her own team.
Drops and Adds
A team or cheer squad may add participants to its certified roster as long as said roster was certified below the maximum number permitted, or to replace those originally certified and no longer on the team or squad for any valid reason.

Each league shall establish its own Drops and Adds cutoff date.

No All-Stars
All-Star teams or squads are prohibited in Pop Warner Football. Any organization found to play a game or games with All-Star players, or perform cheerleading at a competition or exhibition event with All-Star cheerleaders, from different rosters of regular season teams or squads will have its charter revoked.

In compliance with the "team" concept and in view of the ages of Pop Warner participants, no participant will be singled out as "best lineman," "best offensive back," "most valuable player/cheerleader," etc., for the presentation of a special award. Such adulation should be given to an athlete after his/her Pop Warner days, if he/she justly deserves it by performance at the high school level. Individual awards may be presented, but must be given to all team or squad members.
SPECIAL NOTE FOR PLAYERS: Awards for individual performances displayed on the helmets are prohibited (i.e., no stars, hatchets, footballs, etc.). The only decal allowed is the team logo and/or an official Pop Warner logo.

Definition: To prevent possible bending of the rules and as a protection for children, practices are defined as a gathering of players or cheerleaders, without minimum number, in the presence of at least one (1) coach, where one or more of the following activities take place:

A. chalk talk/skull session
B. viewing of fundamentals film
C. group conditioning
D. individual skills sessions (QB, receiving, blocking, tackling, kicking, etc.)
E. group skills sessions
F. dummies and other inanimate contact
G. play run through without pads (shorts and T-shirt)
H. play run through with equipment, but without contact
I. Intra-squad scrimmages with full pads and equipment
As can be seen, a so-called "party" at a coach's home, where films are shown, or cheerleading is talked about, can be deemed a practice session, as can a "party" at a parent's home where one or more coaches are present. Use of a football field is not required to satisfy the definition of a "practice session." Each league is directed to establish a policy with respect to home videos and/or films of games or competitions and the viewing thereof.

Within the USA, pre-season practice shall not begin until August 1 (or later). The actual date will be determined in accordance with climate and other factors determined by the league in establishing a common starting date for all teams within its jurisdiction.

All practices must be attended by one person holding a Red Cross Community CPR and First Aid Certification, if not by a volunteer physician (such as a parent of one of the participants).

Before Labor Day: No team or squad may schedule more than 10 hours of practice per week before Labor Day. A week is defined as seven (7) consecutive calendar days. Not more than 2 1/2 hours of practice may be scheduled on any one day.

After Labor Day: Practices after Labor Day weekend are limited to 6 hours per week. A week is defined as seven (7) consecutive calendar days. Practices after Labor Day weekend are not to exceed 2 hours per day.

Breaks: Break time is not counted against the ten (10) or six (6) hours per week or 2 1/2 or 2 hours allowed practice time.

Controlled Inter-Squad Scrimmage: After the first week of practice (10 hours) for conditioning, and after the second week of practice (10 hours) in pads in which contact has occurred, teams may engage in joint practice sessions with other team(s) in what are called controlled inter-squad scrimmages. So as to avoid any misinterpretation, 20 hours of practice is required before inter-squad scrimmages may occur.

Any player added after a team has formed and/or after the season has started, must be subject to the same 20 hours of conditioning.

Ages & Weights
The Pop Warner football program enforces a strict age/weight matrix to reduce the risk of injuries. Players compete with those of similar age and size. Regular weigh-ins are mandated to help ensure the safety of all children. The current standard for each division is as follows:

Regular Standard:

Squad Birthdate Weight
Midgets: 8/1/84 - 7/31/88 95 - 145
Jr. Midgets: 8/1/86 - 7/31/89 80 - 125
Pee Wees: 8/1/87 - 7/31/90 70 - 110
Jr. Pee Wees 8/1/88 - 7/31/91 55 - 95
89ers: 8/1/89 - 7/31/92 45 - 85

Older/Lighter Standard:

Squad Birthdate Weight
Midgets: 8/1/83 - 7/31/84 95 - 125
Jr. Midgets: 8/1/85 - 7/31/86 80 - 105
Pee Wees: 8/1/86 - 7/31/87 70 - 90
Jr. Pee Wees: 8/1/87 - 7/31/88 55 - 75
89ers: 8/1/88 - 7/31/89 45 - 65

Please contact us if you have any questions about the weight regulations.

Cheerleading Rules
Pop Warner Cheer Rules: The following Pop Warner cheerleading rules govern all participant cheering for an Pop Warner football team. The term cheerleading includes all performing groups (i.e., dance, drill, pep squads, majorettes, etc.). Pop Warner Football provides an opportunity to cheer in an organized, supervised, safety-oriented manner, emphasizing fun for all, and encourages the development of qualities important long after cheering days.


Team Level:

A. The cheerleading head coach (or applicable local title) of each team must be 21 years old.
B. Each squad is permitted to carry up to four student demonstrators.
1) A student demonstrator must be at least 15 years old.
2) A rostered cheerleader may not also serve as a student demonstrator.
3) The student demonstrator may be used to demonstrate moves, techniques and may teach words to cheers, chants, etc. He/she is not allowed to coach or conduct a practice.
4) Student demonstrators must be under the direct supervision of the head cheer coach.
5) Student demonstrators must be rostered as part of the coaching staff of the squad with which they are volunteering.
C. All cheerleading and performing coaches are to follow the coaches' requirements.
Association Level:

A. Each association shall have a cheerleading coordinator, to whom all team cheerleading personnel report.
B. Each association shall have an association board member to be called the director of cheerleading, cheerleading coordinator (or whatever other term is locally applicable) who is an equal voting member of the association board and responsible only to that board.
League Level:

A. Each league shall have a cheerleading commissioner (or vice president or applicable local title) who is a voting member of equal status of the league board.
B. The cheerleading coordinator (as defined in A, above) shall chair all league cheerleading meetings, often held separately from the football meetings. He/she shall be a delegate to the regional cheerleading meetings, or the League shall appoint a qualified alternate in his/her absence.

The ages of all cheerleaders and members of performing units in the program shall correspond to the overall ages that the league is permitting for players, unless league rules dictate that the ages of the cheerleaders and/or performing squads shall correspond to the playing ages of the team with which they are associated.

Only a league which requires that the ages of the cheerleading and/or performing squads correspond to the playing ages of the team with which they are associated shall be permitted to send cheerleading squads to any competitions outside the league.

A squad, regardless of the ages of its cheerleaders, must be rostered, certified and registered in the same age/weight division as the football team with which it is associated (e.g., it cannot cheer at midget games and compete as a junior midget cheer squad).

Squad Size:

Every squad shall have at least one adult volunteer (21 years old) for every 12 participants (including mascots). The number of adult volunteers shall, therefore, determine the maximum squad size (one adult volunteer - maximum 12; two adult volunteers - maximum 24, etc.).


The use of mascots is at the discretion of the league.

However, within leagues which permit mascots, the following shall apply:

A. There shall be no tryouts for mascot.
B. A mascot must be at least five (5) years old.
C. Only those who are not old enough to be certified as cheerleaders for any division of play in the league (or association, with the league's permission) shall be certified as mascots (e.g., if any league certified junior peewee and midget teams and cheer squads, a mascot for the midget division must be younger than 8 years old, not just younger than 11 years old).
D. A child, once certified as a mascot, cannot advance to cheerleader status during the season.
E. A mascot must be certified and associated with only one cheerleading squad.
F. The number of mascots permitted per squad shall be left to the discretion of the league. However, a squad cannot consist solely of mascots.
G. Mascots may not perform or compete in regional or national competitions.


A. Jewelry of any kind, including earrings, bracelets, necklaces, rings, etc. will not be worn at practices, games or competitions, except medical alert bracelets or necklaces, which must be secured to the body with tape.
B. Bandannas are prohibited.
C. Gloves and other hand/wrist accessories shall be prohibited during the performance and/or practice of partner stunts, pyramids, and tumbling.

A. Spotters are recommended for all partner stunts. Continuous spotters are required for all stunts which are a shoulder stand, elevator/extension prep or higher.
B. The spotter must have hands up and maintain constant visual contact at all times (i.e., the spotter may not be involved in another aspect of the performance at the time of the stunt that would prohibit her from spotting the stunt properly).
C. All spotting must be from ground level.
Partner Stunts and Pyramids:

A. No pyramid (a building of bodies) shall be higher than two (2) persons. In Pop Warner, there is not such thing as a "half" person in building a mount.
CLARIFICATION: No cheerleader shall stand, kneel, sit or lie on anyone who does not have at least one foot on the ground.
B. Collapsible pyramids are prohibited.
C. Tension drops are prohibited.
D. Hanging mounts are prohibited.
E. Back bends which support any additional weight are prohibited.
F. Basket tosses (stunts in which two or more bases form a basket with their arms and throw the partner into the air, catching the partner in a cradle) are prohibited.
G. Sponge tosses, performed at the bases; waist level, are permitted as a progression to another stunt (e.g., extension prep/elevator). A sponge dip or toss from below the bases shoulder level, is not permitted as the prop for a cradle.
H. Helicopters (partner, in a horizontal position, is tossed, and rotates in the horizontal plane, around the vertical access, before being caught by the original bases) are prohibited.
I. Split mounts are prohibited. Thus, a cheerleader shall not be held in a split position off the floor by one or more persons at any time; neither shall a cheerleader in a split position support any additional weight.
J. Partner stunts and pyramids may not pass over, under or through other partner stunts and pyramids.
K. The top person in a partner stunt may not be in an inverted position (head below the waist) at any time during the building, transition, execution or dismount.
Extended Stunts:

A. All double based extensions and extension preps must have a continuous spotter. The spotter must be positioned behind the stunt, may help support the stunt, but may not be underneath the stunt or be a primary support for the stunt (i.e., the spotter should not cross the plane of the partner when viewed from the side. If she does, another person must be spotting from behind).
B. No extended stunt may brace another extended stunt(s).
C. If a person in a partner stunt or pyramid is used as a brace for an extended stunt, the brace must not be supporting a majority of the top person's weight. The top person must have her leg in a bent or stretch position ("stretch position" means the legs is at least 45 degrees from the body line).

A. Backward and cradle dismounts to different bases (fireman's catches, fallbacks, and pendulums that do not progress back to upright) are prohibited.
B. Where two bases are involved, cradle dismounts are allowed only if the original bases (who initiate the cradle) plus an additional spotter catch.
C. Twist cradle dismounts are prohibited.
D. Free falling flips or swan dives from any type stunt are prohibited.

A. All gymnastic stunts must originate from ground level. The person performing a gymnastic stunt(s) may rebound (without hip over head rotation) from his/her feet into a cradle.
B. Participants may not tumble over or under individuals or over, under or through partner stunts or pyramids.
C. A forward three quarter flip to the seat is prohibited.
D. Toe pitches and leg pitches are prohibited.
E. The use of mini-tramps is prohibited.
Individual Stunts:

A. Seat drops (dropping to the floor with the seat as the primary point of contact) are prohibited. Drop to jazz set is considered a seat drop, and is prohibited.
B. Knee drops (dropping to the floor with the knees as the primary point of contact, as opposed to simply kneeling) are prohibited.
C. Body drops ("dead falls," or dropping directly onto the floor) are prohibited.
D. "Flying" or "suicide" splits (going into a split off the ground, and landing in said position, with the inner parts of the upper legs and/or thighs striking the ground first) are prohibited.

At least 10 minutes of warm-up exercises (to stretch and limber up) shall be included prior to cheerleading practices, games, and competitions.

No additional practice for post-season play shall be authorized beyond the hours of practice per week currently authorized by these rules.

No practice, or participation at games, shall be permitted without the minimum number of adults present.


Pop Warner cheerleading and performing groups may enter competitions ONLY as follows:

A. A competition or event sponsored by a Pop Warner organization, a group of Pop Warner leagues or a Pop Warner bowl festival, which occurs during the Pop Warner season.
B. A competition or event sponsored by a non-Pop Warner organization if it follows all Pop Warner safety rules, occurs during the accepted Pop Warner season, and if permission to participate is granted IN WRITING, IN ADVANCE, BY THE LEAGUE, THE REGION, AND THE NATIONAL CHEERLEADING COMMISSIONER.
There shall be no individual competitions.

Competition among squads shall be limited to squads from the same division of play competing against one another.

There shall be no cutting from the regular season roster for competition, nor shall substitutions be permitted, unless there is a written medical reason.

No squad shall engage in more than one (1) competition per week; said competition shall count as one (1) practice or as the game for that week.

The sponsoring organization of an open competition may not limit the size of the squads invited to said competition. Note: this does not imply financial responsibility of the sponsoring organization for an unlimited number of cheerleading participants.

Ideally, judging should be done by qualified, disinterested parties. If and when it becomes necessary to utilize as a judge an individual from an organization participating in the competition, it is imperative that judges be drawn from other participating organizations as well, to discount as much as possible any local (or regional) bias.

In a Pop Warner Bowl festival, as well as in any Pop Warner "invitational" competition, particulars regarding judging (including how performances will be evaluated, etc.) will be sent in writing by the host to all participants not later than one month before the event.

Pop Warner Cheerleading Squads and performing groups may accept a team award for their achievement in a competition.

When competing, a Squad may not use the name of another team's town any time during the routine. Squads may use generic mascot names (i.e., nicknames such as Tigers, Rams, Bears, etc.).

A squad's performance at competition shall be an extension of what the squad does at games, supporting its team. Words in the routine shall not be aimed at other squads, but an example of what gets positive crowd response at games.