Volleyball Rules | Recreational Services
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Volleyball Rules

Rule 1: Facility | Rule 2: Player Eligibility | Rule 3: Team Composition | Rule 4: Equipment | Rule 5: Beginning a Match | Rule 6: Match Procedures |
Rule 7: Game Play | Rule 8: Officials | Rule 9: (Adapted) Co-Rec Volleyball Rules

Recent rule changes appear in italicized font.

Rule 1: Facility

  1. All matches will be played at the Field House South Gym unless otherwise noted. Alcohol and tobacco are not permitted inside the facility, or in the parking lot.

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Rule 2: Player Eligibility

  1. All Intramural Sports eligibility rules apply. Please check the Intramural Sports Rules and Regulations carefully.
  2. All players must check-in with their University or valid government-issued photo IDs with the supervisor prior to the start of each match.

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Rule 3: Team Composition

  1. The match shall be played between two teams of six players each. A minimum of four players (Co-Rec four must be two men and two women) is required to prevent a forfeit.
  2. No more than two players on a team may be a member or coach of a competitive volleyball club. Please see the Intramural Sports Rules and Regulations for the full Sport Club participant policy. A list of current Club Volleyball members will be available at the Recreational Services office (E216 FH).

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Rule 4: Equipment

  1. Caps with bills are not allowed during intramural play. Players may wear a headband no wider than two inches and made of non-abrasive single-colored cloth, elastic, fiber, soft leather, or rubber. Rubber or elastic bands may only be used to control hair.
  2. Athletic shoes and athletic attire are required.
  3. Jewelry is permitted, however, the Intramural Sports staff reserves the right to require any jewelry removed that is deemed unsafe.

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Rule 5: Beginning a Match

  1. Before the start of the match the referee shall toss a coin in the presence of the opposing captains, after first designating which captain shall call the coin toss.
    • The captain of the winning toss shall choose one of the following options.
      • Team area
      • Service
        • If the captain chooses the serve, his/her team will serve the first set and the third set, if needed. The loser of the coin toss will serve the second set. After each set of a match, the teams will change playing areas. (In the third set, teams will change sides once a team has scored eight points)
  2. All matches will start at their designated times. There is a 10-minute grace period until forfeit is declared. Intramural Supervisors will declare a contest a forfeit and have the discretion to amend the 10-minute forfeit time rule in the event of unforeseen circumstances.

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Rule 6: Match Procedures

  1. The first team to win the best 2-out-of-3 sets wins the match. Sets one and two will be played to 25 points with rally scoring, and a team must win by two. There is a cap of 30 points, meaning a team could win 30-29. Set three will be played to 15 points with rally scoring, must win by two, and the cap becomes 20 points.
  2. Court Boundary: The ball will be declared out-of-bounds if it hits a basketball goal, rope, wall, or any other object not part of the court. A team may play the ball off the ceiling on its own side. A struck ball that hits the ceiling before or after traveling to the opponent’s side of the net shall result in the attacking team losing serve and a point. A ball being over any part of a boundary line when landing is in. It is permissible to run out-of-bounds to play a ball. The ball is dead when it touches a net antenna or does not pass entirely between the net antennas.
  3. Net Height:  8’ for Men's and Co-rec play; 7’4” for Women’s play.
  4. Substitutions: All substitutes will be made in the center back position. All substitutes must make one complete rotation. A player late in arriving for a team of less than six can only rotate in when his/her team has the serve, and must enter in the center back position.
  5. Timeouts: Each team can call one 30-second time-out in each set.
  6. Rotation:  All players are required to play every position on the court as they rotate. Players will rotate clockwise to the next position after their team sides out. Each player must play all six positions including three in the front row and three in the back row, or two in the back row if a team is playing with fewer than six players. The positions must be played in the clockwise order, or the other team will be awarded a point and the serve. (Ex: The server rotates to middle back, middle back rotates to left back, left back rotates to left front, left front rotates to middle front, middle front rotates to right front, and right front rotates to serving position). If facing the net, the serving position will always be in the back row on the right.

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Rule 7: Game Play

  1. The Serve: The server shall stand with both feet behind the rear boundary line and serve from any position behind the boundary line. There are no restrictions as to how the ball may be served except that it must be clearly hit, not thrown or pushed.  
  2. It is illegal for the receiving team to block or spike the ball directly off of a serve.
  3. Legal Contact: Legal contact is a touch of the ball by a player’s body, above and below the waist. Players are not permitted to scoop, hold, or throw the ball. The ball must not visibly come to rest on the player's hands, fingers, or any other part of the body.
  4. A player shall not make successive contacts with the ball unless he/she has blocked a ball at the net.
  5. A ball, other than a serve, may be recovered from the net provided the player avoids contact with the net and does not catch or hold the ball.
  6. The ball must always be returned over the net by the third contact, unless a block is the initial contact in which case the ball must be returned by the fourth contact.
  7. Blocking: Blocking is an act at the net which intercepts the ball coming from the opponent's side by making contact with the ball as it crosses the net, before it crosses the net, or immediately after it crosses the net.
    • An attempt to block does not constitute a block unless the ball is contacted during an attempt. 
    • Only front row players may block. 
    • The team that has blocked shall have the right to three more contacts with the ball in order to return it to the opponent’s side.
    • When the ball, after having touched the top of the net and the opponent’s block, returns to the attacker’s side, the team then has the right of three more contacts in order to return the ball to the opponent’s area.
  8. Net play: A player may:
    • Reach under the net as long as one doesn't interfere with an opponent's attempt to play the ball.
    • Reach over the net to complete a spike which was begun on the player's own side of the net.
    • Reach over the net to block, but not interfere with the opposing team's play.
    • Have his or her foot touching the opponent's court as long as some part of the foot is on the midline.
    • NOT touch the net.
  9. Back-Row Play: A back-row player is allowed freedom in moving about the court but may not jump and attack ("spike" or "kill" the ball) in front of the 10-foot line.  A back-row player may never block the ball. Players must be in legal positions until the ball is served.  When playing with only four or five players, two players will be considered back row players, with the latest server being one.

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Rule 8: Officials

  1. The official(s) shall have the authority to warn, penalize, or disqualify any player(s), substitute, or spectator(s) for violations of sportsmanship including, but not limited to, the following:
    • Disrespectfully addressing an official or staff member.
    • Questioning the official’s judgment or decisions.
    • Use of disconcerting acts or words when an opponent is about to play the ball.
    • Showing disgust with official’s decisions.
    • Using profane or insulting language or gestures toward an official or other player.
    • Baiting players of the opposing team.
    • Disrupting the game so that it may not be continued in an orderly fashion.
  2. Players, and spectators conducting themselves in an unsportsmanlike manner shall be assessed penalties in the following manner:
    • A yellow card will be issued as a warning.
    • A second yellow card will result in a point/loss of rally awarded to the opponent. This is equivalent to a red card. If one player receives two yellow cards, it will result in an ejection.
    • A red card issued alone for a single offense will result in a point/loss of rally to the opponent. A red card will also result in an ejection for the offending player from the remainder of the match.
  3. The official shall have the power to declare side out, award points, enforce substitution procedure, and determine rule infractions.
  4. Protests: In the event that a person feels an official has misinterpreted a rule, he/she must call a time-out at the time of the incident. The official should:  1) Stop the game and 2) bring the protest to the attention of the Intramural Supervisor who will make a ruling. If the protest is upheld the time-out will be reinstated. If the protesting team still feels the ruling is incorrect, it must then lodge a written protest form with the on-site supervisor. The protest will be sent to the Sport Programs Administrative Staff for a final ruling. 

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Rule 9: (Adapted) Co-Rec Volleyball Rules

  1. For Co-Rec volleyball leagues, teams may consist of the following:
    • With 6 players:
      • 3 men, 3 women
    • With 5 players:
      • 2 men, 3 women
      • 3 men, 2 women
    • With 4 Players: (The minimum number of players needed to start a Co-Rec game)
      • 2 men, 2 women
  2. All participants must alternate male-female throughout the rotation.

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