NFHL Rules

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COVID-19 RULES MODIFICATIONS

        • All teams are required to follow all federal and state (where the game is held) guidelines related to COVID-19 safety (maximum attendance, social distancing, etc.). If a player answers “yes” to any questions on the pre-game or check-in health screening forms (see below), they must be cleared by their school/coach/captain (per the school’s COVID-19 guidelines) or medical professional in order to participate in an upcoming NFHL game. Local public health authorities make the final decisions about how long quarantine should last, based on local conditions and needs.
        • All games are required to be posted on the NFHL Game Calendar (you must be logged in to view games). If you are looking for opponents, write “OPEN”. Once you have confirmed opponents, log back in and update the game with the names of the other schools.
        • Rosters are due by September 15th. Any player participating in a game must be listed on your team’s roster.
        • TEAM CAPTAIN/COACH (due Monday-Wednesday before game): All teams are required to submit their pre-game roster confirmation and screening form before each game (Monday-Wednesday). Please only submit one form for your team. If you are playing multiple games on the same day, you only need to submit one form for that date. You must complete this form prior to every game. A reminder will be emailed every Monday.
          • For a game played on the weekend (Friday/Saturday/Sunday), the form must be completed on either Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday on the week leading up to the game.
            If you play a game on Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday, please complete the form at least 3 days in advance.
        • ALL GAME ATTENDEES – PLAYERS/CAPTAINS/COACHES (due Monday-Wednesday before game): All players/captains/coaches must submit their pre-game health screening form before each game (Monday-Wednesday). This link will be emailed to all players/captains/coaches (according to your roster) every Monday. If you are playing multiple games on the same day, you only need to submit one form for that date. Once a player/captain/coach completes their screening form, they will receive a copy of their responses via email and are required to forward it to their captain immediately. Captains should review the responses and contact the NFHL immediately if they have any concerns about a player participating.
          • For a game played on the weekend (Friday/Saturday/Sunday), the form must be completed on either Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday on the week leading up to the game.
            If you play a game on Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday, please complete the form at least 3 days in advance.
        • ALL GAME ATTENDEES – PLAYERS/CAPTAINS/COACHES (check-in at game): All players/captains/coaches must check-in and complete a health screening upon arrival to EVERY game. If you are playing multiple games on the same day, you only need to submit one form for that date. Download a flyer for easy check-in here.
        • COVID-19 Game Cancellation Modification: If a team is mandated by their school to cancel within the 10 day period, due to COVID-19 safety restrictions, the cancellation may not result in a forfeit loss. The cancellation must be done in writing (to both the opponent and NFHL) and a copy of mandated restriction/cancellation from the school’s Club Sports Office must be sent to the NFHL (info@nationalfieldhockeyleague.com) and approved. If approved, the team that cancelled will not receive a forfeit loss but the opponent will receive a scoreless forfeit win. As a reminder, a maximum of two forfeit wins will count towards any teams record.

FIH AND NCAA RULES

The National Field Hockey League adopts the NCAA Rules as our foundation rules in hopes of providing consistency during regulation and tournament league games.

Click here for FIH Rules of Hockey

Click here for the 2020 NCAA Rules Modifications

Click here for the 2020 Rules Waivers Due to COVID-19

Click here for the 2019-2020 NCAA Rules Clarifications

Click here for the 2019-2020 NCAA Major Rules Modifications

However, the following are rules specific to the NFHL and must be maintained by all members of the league. Please recognize these rules and note them to officials as per each regulation league game.

NFHL Rules

Coaches and captains should always bring the NCAA rules, NFHL rules and Summary of Rule Changes to every game, in case there is confusion with umpires or other teams. If teams want to modify any rules (e.g. if both teams agree to play with more male players, etc.), all teams involved in the game/tournament must be in agreement prior to the game. All modifications and agreements (from all teams) must be in writing (email) in case of a dispute.

LEAGUE MEMBERSHIP

Membership Requirements

To be eligible to apply as a member in the National Field Hockey League, the following requirements must be met:

  • A club-level field hockey team from an accredited 2-year or 4-year college or university in the United States.
  • Players on the team must meet all eligibility requirements as determined by their college or university.
  • The team must have an assigned school representative (Club Sports Director, etc.) who will represent the team for any concerns relating to membership responsibilities, player eligibility, dues, and tournament commitments.

 

Members have the right to play against other NFHL members, compete in the Fall Championship (eligible full members only – see details below), compete in the Spring Tournament, submit team responses to league surveys, and to enjoy other privileges of membership as outlined in the NFHL bylaws.

To apply for membership, click the “Join” tab above. Applications will be reviewed and you will be contacted to discuss the details of your membership. If approved, you will be given a login ID and password for your account.

Membership Responsibilities

  • Members must have at least one captain or coach attend the mandatory annual league meeting.
  • Members must sign a social media policy and liability release form each year, prior to the start of the season.
  • Members must comply with all deadlines set by the NFHL.
  • Members must read and comply with all NFHL emails.
  • Members must complete all surveys and respond to all league votes.
  • Members must update team contact information in a timely manner.
  • Members must abide by all NFHL rules as outlined below.
  • All players must complete a player registration form prior to playing in their first game each year.

Failure to comply with the rules of the league will result in the following:

  • First offense: a written warning.
  • Second offense: probation until notified by league officers.
  • Team will be reinstated only by majority votes by league officers.

 

Honorary vs. Full Members

There are two types of member teams in the National Field Hockey League, Honorary and Full members. The table below outlines the major differences and similarities between the two types of memberships. If you have additional questions, please email our Teams Manager at Teams@NationalFieldHockeyLeague.com.

The biggest difference? Only Full members have a chance to make it to our Fall Championship!

“A” vs. “B” Teams

All teams (new and returning) are categorized as either an “A” team or a “B” team. A full team can be an “A” or “B” team and an Honorary team can be an “A” or a “B” team. The A/B split is only used for ranking purposes.

Click here for Ranking Info

Fall Season Membership Dues:

Dues help cover the operational costs for the NFHL and costs for the fall championship (fields, umpires, EMTs, trophy, and other fees associated with the weekend).

  • Full Members: $325 per team (subject to change each year)
  • Honorary Members: $150 per team (subject to change each year)

 

The NFHL must receive team dues or a “Promise to Pay” email (P2P) by September 15th each year.  The P2P email must be sent from the team’s assigned school representative (Club Sports Director, etc.), or someone authorized on their behalf, and must include the following:

  • Verification that all paperwork has been submitted and that dues are being processed
  • Estimated timeline of when the NFHL should receive the check

 

This P2P email must be sent to info@nationalfieldhockeyleague.com by September 15th. A late fee of $25 will be charged to a team’s account who has not submitted dues/letter by September 15th. An additional late fee of $50 will be incurred if the NFHL has not received a team’s dues or P2P email by October 1st.

All dues must be received by the NFHL by October 15th.

If the NFHL has not received a team’s dues by October 15th, the team will not be eligible for the Fall Championship. The team will be placed on probation and their account deactivated on the NFHL website. The team will only be reinstated with a majority vote from the NFHL officers and once all dues and late fees have been paid.


Spring Tournament Dues:

  • $500 per team (subject to change each year).
  • Teams are responsible for checking the website to make sure the NFHL has received their dues by the deadline.


Players

The NFHL abides by each individual school’s rules when determining player eligibility. Every school differs in their rules about whether players can be full or part-time students, graduate students, faculty, etc. Please make sure you confirm your school’s player eligibility rules prior to the start of the season. If you believe another school is playing with an ineligible player, please check with the captain of the other team, to clarify. For further investigation, please email info@nationalfieldhockeyleague.com with the details so we may follow up. All players must complete a player registration form prior to playing in their first game each year.

Transgender Athletes (from the NCAA Policy on Transgender Student-Athlete Participation): The following policies clarify participation of transgender student-athletes undergoing hormonal treatment for gender transition:

  • A trans male (FTM) student-athlete who has received a medical exception for treatment with testosterone for diagnosed Gender Identity Disorder or gender dysphoria and/or Transsexualism, for purposes of NCAA competition may compete on a men’s team, but is no longer eligible to compete on a women’s team without changing that team status to a mixed team.
  • A trans female (MTF) student-athlete being treated with testosterone suppression medication for Gender Identity Disorder or gender dysphoria and/or Transsexualism, for the purposes of NCAA competition may continue to compete on a men’s team but may not compete on a women’s team without changing it to a mixed team status until completing one calendar year of testosterone suppression treatment.
  • Any transgender student-athlete who is not taking hormone treatment related to gender transition may participate in sex-separated sports activities in accordance with his or her assigned birth gender.
  • A trans male (FTM) student-athlete who is not taking testosterone related to gender transition may participate on a men’s or women’s team.
  • A trans female (MTF) transgender student athlete who is not taking hormone treatments related to gender transition may not compete on a women’s team.

Click Here for More Info


Rosters

Rosters must be submitted to the NFHL prior to your team’s first game. Roster requirements:

  • First and Last name of all players and coaches
  • Email address for all players and coaches
  • Phone number for all players and coaches
  • Type of participant (student, graduate student, school staff, community player, etc.)

Please use this template for your roster. Rosters should be emailed to outreach@nationalfieldhockeyleague.com.

If you need to update your roster during the season, please resubmit the updated roster using the same link.

FALL SEASON

Minimum # of Players

  • Start each game with immediate players (there must be a minimum amount of 9 players, including the goalie, to be considered a regulation game).
  • If a team is missing players (due to late attendance, etc.) begin play with immediate players. However, the team with a full roster is allowed a one player advantage against the other team.

 

Male Players – “Up Two”

  • Before the start of each game, the two opposing teams should confirm (with each other and the officials) how many male field players each team has on their roster (this does not include the goalie). The team with more male field players is allowed to play “up two” during regulation and overtime play. This
    does not include the goalie.
  • For example, if Team A has 2 male field player on their roster at the start of the game, and Team B has 6 male field players on their roster at the start of the game, Team B is only allowed to play a maximum of 4 male field players at any one time. Team B is allowed to play “up two” according to the rosters at the start of the game. It does not matter how many male field players from Team A are actually on the field at one time. For this example, Team A can choose to play 0-2 male field players at any time, and Team B can choose to play 0-4 male field players at any time.
  • The number of male field players allowed (as determined prior to the start of the game), cannot be changed during the game – regardless of penalty cards or injuries.
  • During the regular fall season (excluding the Fall Championship), if two opposing teams mutually agree in writing to allow either an increase or decrease in the number of male players allowed on the field, the game will still count. However, both teams must mutually agree to this change in writing before the game, and must play with the change throughout the entirety of the game.

 

Overtime

Prior to each regular season game, all teams involved should decide if they are going to play overtime in the case of a tie. Teams are not required to play overtime (for reasons such as limited field time, etc.) but this decision should be agreed upon by all teams prior to the game. It is highly advised that this is done in writing (email) in case a team disputes the decision.

Reporting Scores

  • Both captains will sign a Score Report Form at the end of each game (for their own records).
  • Home team ONLY report the score online.

Submit Scores

 

Cancellations/Forfeits

  • Cancellations must be made in writing (email) to the opposing team(s) at least 10 full days before the date/time of the game. If your team commits to a game (in writing) and does not cancel or show up to the game, you are considered a “no show”.
  • Cancellations/no-shows within 10 full days results in a forfeit/loss for the team that cancelled (and a scoreless forfeit win for the opposing team) and full reimbursement to the opposing teams for their contribution towards fees for field time, umpires, and travel costs (if applicable). The team that forfeits will have their account marked in the NFHL records.
  • COVID-19 Modification: If a team is mandated by their school to cancel within the 10 day period, due to COVID-19 safety restrictions, the cancellation may not result in a forfeit loss. The cancellation must be done in writing (to both the opponent and NFHL) and a copy of mandated restriction/cancellation from the school’s Club Sports Office must be sent to the NFHL (info@nationalfieldhockeyleague.com) and approved. If approved, the team that cancelled will not receive a forfeit loss but the opponent will receive a scoreless forfeit win. As a reminder, a maximum of two forfeit wins will count towards any teams record.
  • If a team cancels less than 10 full days before a game, three times in the academic year, the team will be issued a written warning. On the fourth cancellation, the team will be put on probation and reinstated by a majority vote of the NFHL officers.
  • In the event of unplayable rain or bad weather, games must be cancelled by phone no less than 3 hours prior to game time (or the traveling time of the opposing team – whichever is greater).

 

All Stars

All Stars are players who have excelled throughout the season. Team captains (both Honorary and Full) are required to:

  • Captains/coaches should keep track of the number of votes players on their teams have received (each team is supposed to nominate the best player from the other team after the end of each game).
  • Captains/coaches should report their top two players (based on who received the most All Star votes from opposing teams during the season) to the league at the end of regular season play
  • Captains should notify their All Stars that they have been selected.
  • The names of the All Stars will be posted on our website and Facebook page.
  • All Stars who attend the Fall Championship will receive a free tournament t-shirt.

 

Umpires

  • Umpires for all fall season games must be certified.
  • During the regular fall season (excluding the Fall Championship), if two opposing teams mutually agree in writing (prior to the game) to allow non-certified umpires, the game will still count. However, both teams must mutually agree to this change in writing before the game.

Click For Umpire Contact Info
Click To Become a NFHL Umpire

Game Structure

  • Regular Season: 15-minute quarters with an interval of 2 minutes between quarters 1 and 2 and quarters 3 and 4. Halftime is 10 minutes. In order for a game to be considered valid, 30 minutes of the game must be played.
  • Fall Championship: 21 minute halves with 3 minute half time.

 

Scoring

  • Scoring rules are determined by NCAA rules (see link above). It is highly recommended that a copy of these rules by kept on you at all times.

FALL CHAMPIONSHIP

Fall Championship Info

The top 16 teams in the league will advance to the Fall Championship. 1st place goes to the team with the highest average game points per game. Average game points per game is derived by taking the total number of game points and dividing that by the total number of games played. If there is a tie between teams in regards to their game percentage, then the following is applied until the tie is broken:

  • Average Goal Differential – average goals scored minus average goals allowed
  • Average Goals Scored – total goals scored divided by the total games played.
  • Average Goals Allowed – total goals allowed divided by the total games played.
  • Head to Head – the two teams who are in a tie will have their games reviewed for the season.
    • Whichever team has the highest number of points in that outcome wins. For example, if Team A beats Team B during the season, in the event of a tie between Team A and Team B, Team A would advance.

Team Eligibility

  • Must be a Full member to be eligible for the Fall Championship.
  • Must have attended the previous Annual NFHL meeting.
  • Must have paid Annual dues.
  • Must not have an outstanding balance with the league.
  • Must have fulfilled minimum game requirements.

 

Game Requirements

  • Teams must play a minimum of 7 games.
  • Opponents can be Full or Honorary members.
  • Each team will be allotted 2 “Forfeit Win” games:
  • Forfeit wins are games where the opposing team cancelled less than 10 full days prior to the game
    time – please see Fall Season Cancellations below for more information on forfeit wins).
  • Only the first 2 forfeit wins will count towards a team’s record.
  • After a team has used up their 2 forfeit wins, all other forfeit wins will be excluded from their record.
  • All forfeit losses (for the team that cancelled a game less than 10 full days prior to the game time) will count towards a team’s official record.
  • Opponents can be full, honorary, “A” or “B” team – there is no restriction on who your opponent is.
  • Teams are allowed to play up to 2 teams twice. If you play a team more than twice, those additional games will not count towards your record.
  • All games count toward winning % and tie breakers (averaged over the total # of games)

Championship Structure

  • Pool Play
  • Full, 2 or 3 day tournament in November.
  • 21 minute halves, 3 minute halftime.
  • To determine pool rankings, teams will be awarded 3 points for a win, 1 point for a tie, and 0 points for a loss.
  • Playoff Tiebreakers: One 10-minute 7v7 sudden victory round, then rounds of “best of 5” shoot-outs.

Teams that are making hotel reservations are required to stay at a NFHL partner hotel.

SPRING TOURNAMENT

Spring Tournament Info

Tournament Overview

  • All NFHL teams are invited to attend the Spring Tournament.
  • The tournament is first come, first served until all tournament spots have been filled.
  • Teams that are making hotel reservations are required to stay at a NFHL partner hotel from the approved list.
  • Teams are guaranteed a minimum of three pool play games, with the chance to play additional games in the playoffs on Sunday.
  • Alumni are allowed to play on their alma mater. All players must be on the team’s roster.

 

Deadlines and Cancellations

Teams must abide by all deadlines to enter the tournament. The specific dates in each month will be announced in the Spring Tournament emails and can be found on the Spring Tournament website. Any cancellations must be in writing and sent to kristin@nationalfieldhockeyleague.com).

  • January (RSVP Deadline): Written RSVP must be received (through a survey that is sent out). By submitting a RSVP, the team is committing to pay tournament dues if accepted into the tournament.
  • February (Dues Deadline): Dues must be received or the NFHL must receive a “Promise to Pay” (P2P) email from the school’s Club Sports Office verifying that the paperwork for dues has been submitted and dues are being processed. The email must give an estimated timeline of when the check will be received.
    • If the NFHL has not received dues/P2P from the school by this date, the team is removed from the tournament. Teams that are removed will be notified by email by the NFHL and are still required to pay dues prior to the tournament.
    • If a team cancels/withdraws on or before the February Dues Deadline, they are still required to pay dues prior to the tournament.
  • March (Final Cancellation Deadline):
    • Teams that cancel/withdraw after the Dues Deadline (February) but before the Final Cancellation Deadline (March) are required to pay dues PLUS a $250 fine prior to the tournament. Failure to pay dues PLUS the $250 fine before the tournament will result in probation from the league. A team put on probation will be reinstated once the dues and $250 fine are paid.
    • Teams that cancel/withdraw after the Final Cancellation Deadline (March) are required to pay dues PLUS a $500 fine and will be placed on probation. A team put on probation will be reinstated once the dues and $500 fine are paid, and with a majority vote from the NFHL officers.

 

“No Shows”

Teams that have committed to coming to the Spring Tournament and do not show will be put on probation until notified by league officers and must pay dues PLUS a fine of $500. A team will be reinstated only by majority votes by NFHL officers and once dues and late fees have been paid.

Rules, Player Eligibility and Game Structure

Click here for current Spring Tournament rules including player eligibility, game structure, etc.

  • PLEASE NOTE: Alumni are allowed to play on a team, as long as they are listed on the roster prior to the start of the first game.

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