ACL Rules and Regulations
2017 - 2018 Season
  1. BOARDS
    1. Boards shall be made of wood for use in ACL sanctioned events. The most common types are birch and oak.
    2. Boards shall have a finished coat that features a smooth texture.
    3. Boards must measure two feet wide and four feet long, with a ±1/4 inch tolerance.
    4. The hole must be 6 inches (±1/8 inch) in diameter, centered width-wise.
      1. The center of the hole must be 9 inches (±1/8 inch) from the back edge of the board
    5. Boards must have a minimum top layer thickness of ½ inch with cross-section support, or ¾ inch without cross-section support.
    6. Boards must have a weight of at least 15 pounds.
    7. The front edge of the board should be raised between 3 from the ground (+/- 1/4 inch).
    8. The top of the board should rest 12 inches above the ground (±1/4 inch)..
    9. No foreign substances may be applied to a board after it has been purchased from a manufacturer.
      1. Substances include but are not limited to baby powder, cleaning spray, and silicone sprays.
      2. A dry cloth may be used to wipe down a board prior to play.
  2. BAGS
    1. Players must supply their own bags for play in an ACL sanctioned event.
      1. Directors may provide players with bags as long as they meet the bag criteria listed below.
    2. Regardless of division, bags used in play must be on the Approved Bag Manufacturer List published annually.
    3. Bags must measure 6 inches wide and 6 inches long (±1/4 inch).
    4. Bags must weigh between 15.5 and 16.25 ounces.
    5. Bags must have a thickness no less than 1.125 inches and no greater than 1.5 inches.
    6. Bags may not be filled with any material other than plastic resin.
    7. After purchase from the manufacturer, bags may not be altered in any way.
      1. Alterations include repair, stitching, removing resin, adding resin, ironing, and any other manipulation that results in a bag becoming different that the original state of purchase.
      2. Players may wash bags using fabric softener and/or detergent and dry in a dryer.
      3. Players may label their bags with initials or a name with a permanent marker. The label must not exceed 1 in.
      4. Bags with holes where plastic resin can leak will not be allowed.
    8. Bags must feature a logo or stamp from the manufacturer.
      1. Faded logos will not be accepted. A player MAY NOT have his or her bags re-stamped and reapproved by the manufacturer. Manufacturers are not allowed to re-stamp or re-logo a bag.
    9. Bags are not required to, but usually feature two different materials on each side.
      1. Any cloth, suede, or fabric-like material is permitted for use on either side of a bag.
      2. There are currently no banned materials for use but the American Cornhole League reserves the right to deem a set of bags “not permitted” if a material is found to be either:
        1. Damaging to other equipment.
        2. Damaging to the integrity of the game.
    10. Players may dry bags but no foreign substances can be applied to the outside of a cornhole bag.
    11. All bags in a set of four must have the same design and color for each corresponding side on all four bags.
      1. For example, a player may use a gray suede side and a red duck cloth side for a cornhole bag. All three of the other bags must have a red duck cloth side and a gray suede side.
      2. For example, a player cannot have four bags that have a grey suede side and alternating colors of red, blue, yellow, and green on the duck cloth side of a bag.
      3. A Player may not switch bags during a singles game (but can after a single game in a series) unless a bag is unintentionally damaged and leaking or if a bag mid-game has been unintentionally altered such that it affects the play of game differently for one player in comparison to the other. In the event of a damaged bag all 4 bags in that set must be swapped out at the end of the round for a new set of 4 bags (intentional damage leads to a forfeit of the game)
    12. If a player finishes a tournament and has earned prize money for his or her performance, the American Cornhole League reserves the right to inspect all bags used by that player throughout the tournament.
      1. If any bags used by that player are inspected and found to not meet the criteria above, the player will forfeit all of his or her prize money for that tournament.
  1. COURT
    1. A court is defined as the total area of play for a cornhole game consisting of two boards.
  2. PITCHER'S BOX
    1. A rectangle measuring 3 feet wide by 4 feet long (length of board) on either side of a board designates a player’s pitcher’s box.
  3. LANES
    1. A lane is defined as two pitcher’s boxes directly across from one another on two different boards on one court.
    2. If a right-handed player is in the pitcher’s box forcing his right hand to be directly over a board, the other pitcher’s box in his or her same lane would be on the opposite board forcing his right hand to be on the outside towards the edge of play.
    3. In doubles play players on the same team will line up directly across from each other in the same lane, not diagonally from each other in opposite lanes.
  4. BOARDS
    1. 2 boards should be located exactly 27 feet (±1/2 inch) apart, from front of one board to front of another.
    2. The front edges of the 2 boards must face each other.
  5. FOUL LINE
    1. The foul line is designated as the front end of the board, which is also marked by the front edge of a player’s pitcher’s box.
  6. VERTICAL CLEARANCE
    1. For play indoors or under covering, the minimum vertical height of a ceiling or covering is 12 feet.
  7. SCORE TOWER
    1. 1 score tower per court (2 sets of boards) should be used and shall be placed a minimum of 1 foot behind one board, outside of the field of play.
      1. Score towers are not required for play.
  1. COIN TOSS
    1. Each game begins with a coin toss. One player or team flips a coin and the other player or team calls their choice of “heads” or “tails”
    2. In singles play, the winner of the coin toss will choose which lane he or she will pitch in for the entirety of the game.
    3. In doubles play, the winner of the coin toss will either choose (not both):
      1. The lane and location of each player of that team which will be permanent for the entirety of the game.
      2. The player matchup for each board.
    4. In doubles play, the loser of the coin toss will get to decide the outcome of the other option in the previous bullet not selected by the winning coin toss team.
    5. In all divisions, the winner of the coin toss will choose which team or player will throw the first bag of the game.
  2. PRACTICE
    1. Unless unanimously decided otherwise by all players on a court, it is customary to complete a “down and back” practice round before beginning a game.
      1. For singles play, players will complete one round of practice throws, walk down to the other board staying in their same corresponding lanes, and then complete one additional round of practice throws before the game begins.
      2. For doubles play, competing players on one board will complete one round of practice throws, and then each player’s corresponding doubles partner will complete a practice round throwing from the opposite board in the same lane as their partner before the game begins.
  3. BAG CHALLENGING
    1. If a player or team believes that the opposing player or team is using a set of bags that does not abide by the bag policy, they may challenge the bags before the beginning of the game.
      1. To complete a challenge, an American Cornhole League director or board member (also referred to as an official) not currently playing in the game must be contacted and he or she will complete a bag inspection.
        1. If the set of bags are approved, the game is set to begin as scheduled.
        2. If the set of bags are not approved, that player or team is given a warning and the bags cannot be used for that game. The team or player must find an alternate set of bags to use for the remainder of a tournament.
      2. If a player or team already with a warning during one season has the same set of bags challenged OR has a different set of bags challenged that are, in turn, disallowed, that player or team forfeits all remaining matches in that tournament and is given a 1 month suspension from the American Cornhole League
      3. If a player who has already served his or her 1 month ban is found to be playing with bags in an ACL sanctioned tournament that do not meet the bag requirements again, he or she will be suspended for the remainder of the season.
    2. Bags that are not challenged prior to a match are deemed acceptable for use during that match.
      1. As mentioned previously, the ACL still reserves the right to inspect a player’s or team’s bags used in a tournament at its conclusion. If any of the bags do not meet the bag requirements, that player or team will forfeit the winnings for the tournament.
  1. PROPER PITCHING TECHNIQIUE
    1. A pitch is defined as one player throwing a cornhole bag towards the opposite board from which he or she is standing attempting to make the bag onto the board or into the hole.
      1. A player is not necessarily required to attempt to contact the board. He or she may voluntarily choose to earn zero points on a pitch by pitching the bag intentionally off to the side or short of the board.
    2. A pitch of a cornhole bag may be underhand or overhand.
    3. Upon release of the bag during a pitch, a player must have at least part of one foot inside the pitcher’s box.
    4. A player may not step on or over the foul line during a pitch of a cornhole bag.
      1. In the event of a player stepping over a line, an official must be contacted.
      2. Once the official is contacted, he or she will come watch the remainder of the match.
      3. If the player steps over or on the foul line during this observation, the player will receive a warning from the official.
      4. For every pitch from that point in the game onward that the player steps on or over the foul line, he or she will have the bag corresponding to that pitch forfeited.
        1. A forfeited bag will be removed from the area of play during that round by the official with as little disturbance to play as possible.
          1. If the forfeited bag has already caused bags in play to move, the player or team opposing the player who pitched the forfeited bag decides to either (not both):
            1. Have an official place the moved bags back in their original location as best as possible per instructions by both teams.
            2. Accept the new bags’ locations and proceed through the remainder of the round.
        2. Any scoring that is unavoidable when removing the bag from play will still count.
  2. SEQUENCE OF PLAY
    1. Rounds
      1. A round is defined as a complete sequence of 8 bags thrown by two players (4 each) towards one board.
      2. Scoring is calculated at the conclusion of each round.
      3. A Player may adjust the board to which he or she is pitching only before a round if it is misaligned or not at the correct distance.
        1. A player may adjust the board from which he or she is pitching at any point as long as it does not disrupt the opposing players pitch, in which case that player would have his or her next bag forfeited.
    2. Pitch Sequence
      1. A game begins with a round in which the winner of the coin toss chooses who pitches the first bag.
      2. The opposing player at the same board in the opposite lane then pitches his or her first bag.
      3. Pitching alternates until all 8 bags (4 by each player) have been pitched which concludes the round.
      4. For singles play, the players will then walk to the other board, remaining in their designated lane, and complete another round of pitching.
      5. For doubles play, the two players’ partners at the opposite board will then complete a round of pitching.
      6. Play continues until a score of at least 21 points is achieved by one team at the conclusion of a round.
        1. A player or team does not have to win by a minimum of two points.
        2. A player or team is not penalized for achieving a score over 21 points, the game is finished and that player or team wins the game.
      7. If a player pitches in an incorrect sequence, the bag or bags that is incorrectly pitched is forfeited.
        1. Then, to reestablish the correct sequence of pitching, the opposing player will pitch two consecutive bags.
      8. If a player refuses to finish a game, that player will forfeit the game by a score of 21-0.
      9. If one partner of a doubles team cannot finish the match for any reason that game will be forfeited by the team that could not finish by a score of 21-0.
    3. Timing
      1. Each player will have 12 seconds to pitch his or her bag from the moment that the opposing player’s bag comes to rest on the other end.
        1. If a player has the first pitch in a round, they will have 45 seconds from when the last bag from the previous round comes to rest on that side of play for doubles and 1 minute for singles play.
      2. Bags must not be picked up while still moving. Players can pick up bags 3 seconds after the bag comes to a complete stop.
      3. In singles play, each player is awarded (2) 90 second timeouts.
        1. During a timeout, a player may leave the pitcher’s box to view the other board.
        2. Touching of bags is prohibited. If a player (or a player’s teammate) touches a bag that is in play during the timeout (or during play outside of a timeout before the round is complete), the round immediately ends and all bags are transitioned to the next round at the other board.
          1. In addition, the opposing team of the team who touched the bags will earn a valued score of 12 for the round regardless of the results of the round.
          2. The team that touched the bags will receive a valued score totaling the points scored only in the hole for that round for that team prior to the touching.
          3. For example, Team A has two bags in the hole and one bag on the board with one bag left yet to throw. Team B has one bag in the hole and two bags on the board with one bag left yet to throw. Team A touches the bags on the board and moves them from their original place. Team A receives a valued score of 6 for the round for the two bags in the hole and Team B receives a valued score of 12 for the round. The round is over and Team B earns 6 total points towards the overall score using cancellation scoring.
        3. If a player crosses the foul line prior to pitching a bag attempting to get closer to the opposing board for viewing purposes, it is inferred that that player is choosing to take a timeout.
        4. Timeouts taken in excess of the allowed timeouts will lead to that player or team forfeiting all remaining bags during that round.
      4. In doubles play, each team is awarded (1) 90 second timeout.
        1. Same timeout rules apply as above
  3. SCORING
    1. Scoring is always completed at the end of a round, not during.
    2. A bag lying on top of the board at the end of a round is valued at 1 point.
    3. A bag through the hole at the end of a round is valued at 3 points.
    4. A bag that neither went through the hole nor is lying on top of the board at the end of the round is valued at 0 points.
      1. Bags that are lying on top of the front edge of the board but are touching the ground are valued at 0 points.
      2. Bags that touched the ground or any other surface before touching the board or going into the hole are valued at 0 points and must be removed from the board by an official.
        1. If this bag causes other bags on the board to move, the final resting places of the bags in play will count.
    5. All scoring for a round features cancellation.
      1. For example, Player A pitches 3 bags in the hole and 1 bag on the board for a total of 10 points. Player B pitches 2 bags in the hole and 2 bags on the board for a total of 8 points. Player A will then earn 2 points (10-8=2) towards his or her overall score (or team’s score for doubles play).
    6. In some instances, the bags in the hole will stack on top of each other until they reach the threshold of the hole. In this instance, a player may ask a spectator to “sweep” the bags from under the hole.
      1. If a player throws a bag and it “hangs” in the hole but is touching a bag in the hole, an official must come and, if at all possible, “sweep” the bags in the hole without disturbing or touching the hanging bag.
        1. If the hanging bag does not fall into the hole after a correct “sweep”, the bag is valued at 1 point.
        2. If the hanging bag unavoidably falls into the hole after a correct “sweep” the bag is valued at 3 points.
    7. Players must wait 5 seconds after a bag comes to a stop on the board before the players may pick up a bag at the end of the round. If a bag is slick enough that it begins to slide down the board, players must wait for that bag to come to a complete stop before proceeding with a round.
  4. PLAYER INTERACTION / PLAYER CONDUCT
    1. Players may not make contact with each other during gameplay with the intent to disrupt pitching motions.
      1. If a player disrupts another player’s pitch with obvious intent, an official reserves the right to disqualify a player for that game resulting in a forfeit.
    2. Players may not interfere with an opponent’s bag during its flight path.
      1. If a player interferes with the flight of a bag, the rest of that player’s bags are forfeited for the remainder of the round and the pitching player gets to re-pitch the bag.
        1. If bags in play are moved as a result of the interfered bag, see section IV.b.iii.2.b for how to proceed.
    3. Talking, yelling, and movement that is distracting to the opposing team is not permitted.
      1. The ACL and its officials reserve the right to deem any behavior inappropriate if it harms the integrity of the game.
      2. Officials may award warnings to any players who display inappropriate behavior.
      3. If a player continues to display inappropriate behavior during a tournament after receiving a warning from an official, the official reserves the right to disqualify the player for the remainder of the tournament.
    4. Coaching is not permitted during a match by Spectators.
      1. Spectators standing on the opposite side of the board may not comment on specific bag situations.
      2. Spectators may not give specific strategic advice to a player during a game. This includes spectators that may be in the ear of a player on the same side of the board during a game.
      3. Spectators may encourage players with general statements like “push the bags in” or “drag the bags in” or “nice block” as long as it is not intended as coaching the player.
      4. In Doubles and other Team Events, teammates may coach players as long as they are clearly identifiable and do not interfere with the timing of play.
      5. The ACL Directors and League may punish spectators and players engaged in coaching however they see fit.
    5. Player conduct
      1. The ACL and its officials reserve the right to deem any behavior inappropriate if it harms the integrity of the game or the reputation of the ACL.
      2. Officials may award warnings to any players who display inappropriate behavior including but not limited to negative references toward the ACL, throwing bags in anger, cursing, fighting, inappropriate gestures and comments disparaging the ACL, its staff, sponsors, players and fans.
      3. If a player continues to display inappropriate behavior during a tournament, on social media or in the presence of sponsors after receiving a warning from an official, the official reserves the right to disqualify the player for the remainder of the tournament and/or ban them from playing in the ACL for the entire season.
The American Cornhole League reserves the right to make changes to the rules and regulations as they see fit during or after the 2017-2018 season.
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