Volleyball Rules

I. Players, Spectators and Substitutions
II. The Game
III. Equipment and Court
IV. Service
V. Playing the Ball
VI. Blocking
VII. Play at the Net
VIII. Faults
IX. Sportsmanship

I. Players, Spectators and Substitutions

  • Teams consist of 6 players; however, a team may start or continue the game with 5 players.
  • A team must have a minimum of 5 players to start a game.
  • Ghost rule applies if a team only has 5 players. Opponents shall receive a point and serve after the end of the first full rotation.
  • The officials shall conduct a coin toss with the captains and go over any rules not covered in the rulebook. Winner of the coin toss shall choose to serve/receive or side. If a team chooses to receive, the other team shall have the choice of side and serve. In the deciding games, the officials will conduct another coin toss. The first team to reach 8 points will then switch sides.
  •  Non-marking court shoes shall be worn by all players.
  • Free substitutions are allowed (on a rotating basis) as long as the player either subs for the same person or into/out of the same position.
  • Each team must provide a line judge for the entire game.
  • A team may use a Libero during the game. The Libero must be designated at the beginning of each game, and will wear a colored jersey/tee shirt. The Libero may not block or attack a ball that is above the height of the net. A hitter may not attack a ball that is above the height of the net if a Libero sets the ball with his/her fingers in front of the 10 foot line. The libero may serve, but only once in every rotation of the lineup.

II. The Game

  • Best of three games.
  • All games are played to 15 points. Teams must win by 2 points. No cap on points.
  • First team to reach 8 will then switch sides
  • RALLY SCORING will be used in all three games, except on game point. You must earn the point by having the team serve to score. Both teams will use side-out scoring when one team reaches game point.
  • Players on serve receive may use a setting action and have a double contact.
  • A double contact is allowed on every first ball.
  • Each team is allowed one 60-second time-out per game. Time-outs will not be carried over.

III. Equipment and Court

  • If both teams cannot agree on a game ball, the official game ball shall be the decided by the referee.
  • Boundary lines are in-bounds.
  • Adjacent courts are considered “out-of-play” while other games are in progress.
  • Any ball, which hits the ceiling, is only out-of-play if it crosses over to the opponent’s side of the net.
  • Balls may not be played off the wall. When playing a ball near a wall, players may not use the wall to gain an advantage. (Both feet must remain on the floor).
  • Ball hitting the basketball supports hanging in a horizontal position will be considered legal and play shall resume.

IV. Service

  • The server may serve from any position behind the end line.
  • Let serve: A serve that hits the net and goes over. Play shall continue if a served ball hits the net and goes over.
  • If the ball is served before the referee’s whistle, a reserve shall be given. Only one reserve is allowed. A “point” for the opposing team occurs for the following service faults:

1. Ball does not pass over net.

2. Ball touches teammate or any other object before crossing net.

3. Ball lands out-of-bounds

4. Ball touches wall or ceiling.

  • If a team’s players serve out of order, the team loses serve and any points scored while serving out of order. The players of the team at fault must take their correct positions.
  • Any attempt to screen the receiving team from seeing the trajectory of the serve is a side-out. This includes two or more players standing together or one player with his hands above his head, as the serve passes over him/them.
  • At the time the ball is contacted for the serve, the players on the court must be in their proper order.
  • The player receiving a served ball may not spike or block a serve above the height of the net.

V. Playing the Ball

  • Each team is allowed three successive contacts of the ball in order to return it.
  • A double contact is allowed on every first ball.
  • The ball may be hit with any part of the body except the foot. A volleyball cannot be kicked or be played on any part of a player's shoe or sock.
  • The first contact can contact any part of the body approved in the above rule, provided that such contacts are simultaneous (except for the first ball over) and that the ball rebounds immediately and without holding or carrying involved.
  • Touching a ball above the height of the net in an attempt to block does not count as one of the three hits allowed; the same player may make the first contact during that play.
  • When the ball visibly comes to rest momentarily in the hands and arms of a player, it is considered as having been held. Scooping, lifting, pushing, or carrying the ball are forms of holding.
  • If, after simultaneous contact by opponents, the ball falls out-of-bounds, the team on the same side shall be deemed as having caused it to go out-of-bounds.
  • When two players of the same team simultaneously contact a ball, it is considered one contact and either player may make the next contact.
  • A player is not allowed to attack the ball on the opponent’s side of the net.
  • No player shall assist a teammate by holding him/her while they are playing the ball. It is legal to hold a player not playing the ball in order to prevent a fault.
  • A back row player may not cause a ball which is completely above the height of the net to cross over to the opponent’s side, unless he/she is either on the ground completely behind the 3-meter line or is in the air, having jumped from behind the line. If the player touches any part of the line, it is a violation.
  • A ball must break the plane of the net before an opponent may contact it or if no play by the attacking team can be made.

VI. Blocking

  • A block is considered legal when a player’s hand is above the height of the net and touches or deflects the ball while it is above the height of the net. A players hand below the height of the net is not considered a block but is considered the first hit and the team has 2 remaining hits left.
  • Blocking may be legally accomplished by only players who are in the front row at the time of service. Back row players may not participate in a single block or team block. (A team block is when two or more players are blocking simultaneously.)
  • The team that has participated in a block shall have three additional contacts after the block.
  • Any player participating in a block shall have the right to make the next contact, such contact counting as the first team hit.
  • Multiple contacts of the ball by a player participating in a block shall be legal, provided it is during one attempt to intercept the ball.
  • Multiple contacts of the ball during a block shall be considered a single contact, even though the ball may make multiple (2 or more) contacts with one or more players of the block.
  • Blocking a served ball is prohibited.
  • It is legal to block a ball on the opponent’s side of the net provided, in the opinion of the official, the trajectory of the ball would have caused it to break the plane of the net.
  • A blocked ball is considered to have crossed the net.

VII. Play at the Net

  • A ball hitting the net during a serve and crossing over will be considered legal. PLAY ON.
  • If a player’s action causes him/her to contact the net during play, accidental or not, with any part of body or clothes, that player shall be charged with a fault.
  • If the ball is driven into the net with such force that it causes the net to contact a player, such contact shall not be considered a fault.
  • If opponents contact the net simultaneously, it shall constitute a double fault and the point shall be replayed.
  • If a player accidentally contacts any part of the net supports, such contact should not be counted as a fault provided that it has no effect on sequence of play. Intentional contact or grabbing of such objects shall be penalized as a fault.
  • Crossing over the center line and contacting the opponent’s playing area with any part of the body is a fault. The whole foot must be completely over the center line in order to be a violation.
  • If the ball, in any way, makes contact with the antenna, it is out. If the ball sails outside of the antenna, it is out.

VIII. Faults

Faults will result in points. A fault shall be declared when:

  • the ball touches the floor
  • the ball is held, thrown, or pushed
  • a team has played the ball more than three times consecutively or a player touches the ball twice consecutively
  • a team is out of position at serve
  • a player touches the net
  • a player crosses the center line and contacts the opponent’s playing area
  • a player attacks the ball above the opponent’s playing area
  • a back row player while in the attack area hits the ball into the opponent’s court from above the height of the net
  • a ball lands outside the court or touches any object outside the court
  • a player reaches under the net and touches the ball or an opponent while the ball is being played by the opposite team
  • the game is delayed persistently
  • illegally served ball or service fault
  • the ball touches or sails outside the antennae
  • a player intentionally hits the ball while the ball is on the other side of the net.

It is not a fault if, during a hard-driven spike, a defensively player double contacts the ball. It will be in the judgment of the official who will determine the intensity of the spike.

IX. Sportsmanship

Intramural Staff reserves the right to deny participation to anyone (player or spectator) who fails to demonstrate proper sportsmanship.

The Intramural Supervisors at the time of play shall have the authority to make decisions on any matters or questions not specifically covered in the Intramural Rules.

Any protest or player ejection ruling will be reviewed by the Intramural Supervisor. The Intramural Supervisor will make the final ruling on these issues and matters not covered in the Rule Book or in the Intramural Players General policies.