1) Rosters – Any number of players may be added to a team’s roster up to 4 weeks prior to the start of the end-of-season tournament by having the player(s) sign and date the team’s liability release form, which is in the binder. If there are players in the end-of-season tournament that are not on the team’s roster, the team forfeits. Forfeits or addition of players after the 4 week deadline are left to the discretion of the commissioners.
a. All players must sign a team liability release form before playing in the league. No one is permitted to play without signing the release.
b. All team members and team captains are responsible to ensure compliance.
i. Failure to have a player on your roster will result in 1 loss for your team regardless of the actual play results.
ii. A second offense will result in a 3 losses penalty.
iii. Penalties for any subsequent offenses will be decided by the commissioners.
iv. Commissioners will do periodic roster checks throughout the season to ensure compliance.
v. Referees should remind captains to have all players sign the liability release form prior to match play.
vi. Four weeks prior to the playoffs, rosters will be pulled and no more players can be added to teams.
c. A player is not eligible to play in more than one division or more than one team per season.
d. Minors must be at least 14 years old and have parent or guardian sign a release form before playing.
2) Co-ed – Each team must play with a minimum of two women and a minimum of two men on the court at all times.
a. In the event that a team has fewer than 6 players, teams may play with 4 or 5 players, as long as there is at least one woman and one man.
b. Teams will forfeit all games when they do not have any women or if they have fewer than four players.
c. There is no requirement that a female must touch the ball before being played back to the opponents.
Scoring & Standings
3) Regular Season Scoring – A match will consist of three games to 25 points, win by 2, with a cap of 27.
a. Rally scoring will be used.
b. Each game counts toward the league standings.
c. The match should be called during the third game if the total match time has reached 1 hour. At that point, the team with the most points wins (even if there is only a one-point difference).
d. Coin toss or equivalent to start match – winner decide who serves first, loser chooses court side.
4) Deciding Games – During the regular season, there will be no ‘deciding’ game.
a. All three games count toward the league standings.
b. There will not be a coin toss or equivalent for game 3.
i. Teams will NOT switch sides halfway through game 3.
a. Standings are calculated as a percentage based on the total games won throughout the season over the total games played.
b. Penalties assessed to a team are assigned as a loss and count as a game played.
c. If, at the end of regular-season play, two teams are tied for a place in the standings (same win/loss record), the places will be determined in the following way:
i. Games won in head-to-head competition
ii. If head-to-head games are even, then teams will be seeded based on their win record against the highest ranked team in the division. If a tie still exists, compare wins to second place team and so on, until one team has more wins than the other when playing matches against other teams in the division.
a. Format: Double-elimination
b. Scoring: Best 2 out of 3 games to 25. Win by 2. There is no cap on any games that go into overtime.
c. There is no time limit for any playoffs match.
d. Deciding game has another coin toss or equivalent.
a. Must be done in the assigned gym and not in hallways / adjacent areas.
i. No one should play with balls outside of the gym.
b. The ref should allow approx. 5 minutes of warm-up before starting the match.
c. The earliest match of the night MUST start on time. The only exception will be issues related to access to the gym or equipment.
i. If there are issues, play for 1 hour from start time.
d. Captains and refs are responsible to keep matches on time.
8) Center Court is available for warmups if it does not have a match scheduled.
a. Exceptions: if there is a forfeit and no one is warming up for the next match OR if the last scheduled match ends early, the referee(s) and captains may mutually agree to allow play on the center court.
b. Unless it is discussed and agreed upon by both captains, always assume that the center court is out of bounds.
c. While playing on Court 1 or Court 3, if there is live play in Court 2 the entire court is out of bounds.
i. Do not enter Court 2, this will be an automatic loss of point. If the ball enters the court notify someone (if possible) but do not enter the court. This rule is for safety reasons.
ii. The areas directly behind Court 2 are in play; if the play can be made without interfering with activity on another court or injuring anyone that might be in the areas behind the court the play should continue.
9) Substitutions – There are three methods. Each team may sub using one method per game.
a. Regular USAV substitutions: Players and teams have an unlimited number of entries per game. If using this method, a male must sub for a male and a female must sub for a female.
i. An example: Player Amy plays all three front row positions. Player Belinda substitutes in for Player Amy and plays all three back row positions. Player Amy substitutes back in and plays in the front row.
b. Queue method of replacement: A Team may choose a position and replace any number of players when they get to that position. Each player will play all 6 positions and then rotate out waiting in the queue to rotate back in. As long as the required number of women is on the court, replacements do not need to be male for male and female for female. Alternately you may have a female only queue and a male only. A team must decide to have one mixed queue or two separate queues (male queue and female queue).
c. Libero – Substitutions involving a libero are not counted as regular substitutions and their number is unlimited. A libero cannot take part in normal substitutions and may only enter or leave the game while the ball is out of play and before the whistle for service. It is necessary to have a rally between replacement of two different players involving a libero.
10) Injuries – Anyone may sub for an injured player as long as the required number of players remain on the court.
a. The injured player may return to the game whenever they are able.
11) Late Players – If a team is playing with less than 6 players, late players may enter the game at any time and in any position – assuming the required number of women are on the court.
12) Forfeits – If a team cannot be fielded by 15 minutes into the scheduled playing time, the team forfeits all three games.
a. If a team is less than 15 minutes late but the match does not start on time the late team will forfeit 1st game. The 2nd game will be played. If a 3rd game cannot be completed in 1 hour, the team with the most points will win the game.
13) Refereeing – Teams will be required to referee according to the schedule set at the start of the year.
a. Teams who do not supply a required ref will have one loss added to their record, per game missed.
b. Additional responsibilities will be assigned for the end-of-season tournament.
c. Referees are expected to stop play (whistle) when a violation of the league rules has occurred.
d. Referees are required to have a whistle to run a match. Whistles are available in equipment bag.
e. It is suggested to have two refs during a game (one with the whistle and one for the scoreboard).
f. During playoffs, you must have two refs.
14) Serving – The ball must leave the server’s hand before it is struck for a legal service.
a. Allowing the ball to drop after it has been tossed for serve is a side out.
b. Net serves are not a fault, and the ball is in play.
15) Hit Characteristics – All body parts used to return the ball is legal.
a. This includes any foot play or “kicking” the ball over the net.
16) Lifts (Carries) – A lift is called only when the ball is caught and/or thrown, it does not rebound from the hit, or otherwise comes to rest.
a. A lift or carry does not occur every time a player contacts the ball with an open palm in an upward motion. A lift is called only if the ball comes to rest in the players palm.
17) Multiple Contacts – A “double-contact” is called on a player that hits the ball twice in succession or the ball contacts various parts of his/her body in succession on the second or third contacts of a play.
a. A double-contact can not be called if one player contacts the ball multiple times on the first contact on his/her side, regardless of how the ball is played over the net (serve, spike, pass).
18) Net Violation – Any touching of the net that is not incidental is a violation.
a. The definition of incidental contact is only hair and clothing.
b. Any body contact with the net at any time is a violation.
19) Center Line – Any part of the foot or hand may cross over the center line entering into the opponents court provided that some part of the penetrating foot or hand remains either in contact with or directly above the center line.
a. Other body parts touching the opponents court is a fault.
i. The exception is hair.
i. Sliding backwards on your butt partially under the net is a center line fault.
ii. Knee(s) touching into the other court is a fault.
c. Official Rules: 11.2.1 It is permitted to penetrate into the opponents’ space under the net, provided that this does not interfere with the opponents’ play. 11.2.2 Penetration into the opponent’s court, beyond the center line: 220.127.116.11 To touch the opponent’s court with a foot (feet) or hand(s) is permitted, provided that some part of the penetrating foot (feet) or hand(s) remains either in contact with or directly above the center line. 18.104.22.168 To contact the opponent’s court with any other part of the body is forbidden. 11.2.3 A player may enter the opponent’s court after the ball goes out of play. 11.2.4 Players may penetrate into the opponent’s free zone, provided that they do not interfere with the opponents’ play.
20) Net Play
a. Attacking the ball over the other team’s side is a fault (ball is NOT in the plane of the net, but COMPLETELY on the other team’s side).
b. Blocking (not attacking) is legal if the other team has already used their 3 hits or if there is no one able to make a play on the ball.
21) Court Boundaries
a. Players (except server) must all be in the court (may be on the line, not over) for serve.
b. Do not move into another court to continue play when the other courts are in use.
i. This will result in the end of play and the point awarded to the opposing team. Additionally, any captain or ref from either court involved can have that player removed from the rest of the set. The removed player will be treated like an injured player and teams can adjust accordingly. That player can return at the conclusion of the set.
To expand on this, the league has taken a firm stance on this rule in order to ensure that injuries do not occur from collisions between players from adjacent courts. To reduce ambiguity, we encourage players to interpret this rule as follows: “If the result of my attempt to play a ball could cause me to enter an adjacent court, I should not attempt to play that ball.”
22) Overhead Objects – All overhead objects above 15 feet are legal.
a. Play continues as long as it doesn’t cross the net and if the contact was over a playable area.
b. Everything below 15 feet and connected to the ceiling (backboards, bleachers, etc.) is out of play.
i. Play over will be called if the referee thinks a play could have been made if the object were not there.
c. All wall objects are out no matter what height.
i. The track is considered a wall object.
23) Stray Balls – A play-over is NOT called every time a ball enters the court.
a. Play-over is only called if the ball affects play on the same side of the net as the ball is on, or if you feel the ball is a hazard to the players near it.
i. A ball that is rolling under the hitter’s feet should be whistled long before it gets to that dangerous spot.
ii. A ball that rolls in front of a player trying to play a ball causing them not to be able to make the play should be called a play-over.
iii. A player on the other side of the net watching a ball that has entered their opponent’s court should NOT call “ball on” to distract others unless the ball is a hazard. If they do call “ball on” it is NOT automatically a play-over.
c. Captains are responsible to bring issues of stray balls to the attention of the referee.
24) Antennas – Unless antennae exist on the net, this will be a judgment call.
a. Given the quality of the nets and the lack of tightness that we are able to get from the equipment it is very difficult to make an accurate call on whether or not the play was inside or outside the line of the antenna.
b. If both teams disagree with the call and the referee(s) cannot say for sure, this should result in a ‘replay’ of the point.
a. When NOT to call #1: If the ref doesn’t see a fault happen and allows play to continue and then when the rally is over they learn and agree that the fault happened it is NOT a play-over. The team at fault losses the rally and the other team gets a point and serves.
b. When NOT to call #2: If the ref blows the whistle before they should have, they must make a decision that will not penalize either team.
i. Example: The ref thought the ball hit the floor, so they blow their whistle. It turns out that the ball hit the player’s foot. Which means play should continue. But the ball immediately goes up and lands in the bleachers. No one could have touched the ball. This is not a play-over because the whistle didn’t have any effect on the result of the play. The team that hit the ball into the player’s foot wins the rally.
c. When to call #1: When the proper call cannot be determined. The ball hits the floor and the referee cannot tell if it is in or out. Some people think it’s in and some think it’s out. This is a replay. Unless both captain agree on what to call.
d. The ref blows the whistle before they should have, they must make a decision that will not penalize either team. Example: The up ref thinks a player enters the adjacent court, so they blow the whistle to stop play, but the down ref says they got a clear view of the play and the player did not enter the court. The ball was still in play when the ref blew the whistle. Since no one can foresee the real outcome of the play, a play-over is directed.
26) Conflict Resolution
a. The referee’s decision is final.
b. Captains (or the assigned designee) should be the only player communicating with the referee.
c. Do not yell at the referee. See Unsportsmanlike Conduct section.
d. If there is doubt regarding a call, the referee can decide to replay a point.
27) Unsportsmanlike Conduct – If a player exhibits any unsportsmanlike behavior (in the judgment of the referee), they, along with the captain, should be given a warning.
a. The first warning is a finger shake.
b. If the player is warned once and repeats bad behavior, it is up to the discretion of the referee to award either a point or a side out and a point.
c. If unsportsmanlike behavior continues, the player will be ejected from the match.
d. Keep play light. These are not certified referees and this league is intended to be both fun and competitive.
Weekly Team Responsibilities
a. All teams scheduled to the play the first match of the evening need to assist with net setup.
b. Teams that are scheduled to play the last match of the evening will be assigned equipment duties. This will include the following responsibilities:
i. Place all scoreboards in bags.
ii. Place clipboard, whistles, first aid kit, binders and anything else owned by the league in bags.
iii. Hang the nets in the corner of the closet.
iv. Place poles in corner of the closet.
v. Place bags in the corner of the closet.
29) Score Sheet
a. The captain or a team member must enter a score submission via our website at the end of a match. If a team records a result and the other team does not, I will take that as truth. If neither team records a result, the match will not be counted to season standings.