All Questions are organized according to the NFHS Rule under which it falls. Use your "find" feature to search for key words or phrases in this section.
Rule 1: The Game
Question 1: Last night after the coaches' & captains' meeting, after the coin toss and the teams were dismissed, I had the timer start the clock. The visiting coach said the timed warm-ups were not to start until the girls actually started warming up with a ball. I told him that time starts once the meeting is over. Was this correct & where does one find this information?
Answer: There isn't anything in either the NFHS rule code or the WIAA regulations that addresses this situation. I would hope that this is something that can be handled mutually by the official, time keeper, and coach. Do you cover this in your pre-match conference? If you sense that the team will not be ready to immediately take the court a friendly reminder to the coach early in the meeting would be advised.
Question 2: Can hand clappers be used at volleyball matches? We ran into this last night. They are very loud. Answer: Not allowed. Please refer to Rule 1-8; “The use of artificial noisemakers shall be prohibited.”
Question 3: We are finding that many schools for which we officiate are having all girls in any level of the volleyball program out on the court while each other’s team is warming up. Often, these girls are wearing street clothes and have been wearing flip flops, boots, or socks with no shoes at all. There have been girls using cell phones while standing out there. Many of them are wearing jewelry that would, of course, be illegal during a match. What is the protocol for members of the other levels of the team who is warming up? Is it the coach's job to approve who is on the court during warms ups? Is it up to the officials to remove all of the illegally clad shaggers?
Answer: Attire for athletes participating in “shagging” balls during warm-ups was a point of emphasis from the NFHS a few years ago. As was stated at that time, athletes participating should be properly attired; appropriate footwear which would exclude flip flops, boots, heeled shoes or barefoot. No jewelry and no cell phone use! If sub-varsity players are to be included as shaggers, they should remain in uniform with their court shoes on to participate in warm-ups. It is the responsibility of the coaches to insure that their players are in compliance. Officials should remind coaches if they see individuals not appropriately dressed to participate in this activity.
Question 4: I have a question about stats. For example, there is a serve attempt, service ace and serve error. When a player gets an ace do you also mark as an attempt?
Answer: Yes, there is always an attempt recorded no matter what the outcome is. I would recommend reviewing the Volleyball Statistics Guidelines. Go to the WIAA webpage – Volleyball – Tournament Materials. You’ll see the Guide posted there.
Question 5: Who is responsible to suspend or cancel a contest due to unsafe conditions? Floor conditions were the issue on Saturday. During the championship match, after 2 of my players were hurt within minutes of each other, one sliding at least 3-4 feet and colliding with the bleachers because she couldn't stop, I pulled my team from the floor and we forfeited the set.
Answer: The responsibility for calling a contest due to unsafe conditions lies with the officials. While the NFHS rules (1-7-2a & 1-7-3) would apply regarding a forfeit, WIAA policy is to reprimand the school when a coach takes it upon him/herself to pull their team from a contest. It is a long held belief that coaches have a responsibility to find a solution other than removing their team from the playing area.
Question 6: May teams huddle on the court prior to the signal for serve?
Answer: Provided there is no delay in the start of play, teams may briefly huddle. If a team is the first to have its line-up checked by R2, they should immediately assume their correct line-up on the court. Once the line-up has been checked they may briefly huddle while R2 checks their opponent's line-up. If a team is the second to have their line-up checked, they may briefly huddle while their opponent's line-up is being checked but should not create a delay for R2 when he/she is ready to check their line-up. Players should not be lying on the floor or creating delays for the start of the set.
Question 7: Do JV third games go to 25 or 15? Or is this a conference rule?
Answer: The format for sub-varsity is determined by the conference or host school.
Question 8: Players who were banned from the match by their coach due to disciplinary reasons still warmed up. Their names were crossed out on the roster. My partner said the coach could not do that.
Answer: Officials are not to be involved in coach’s disciplinary decisions.
Question 9: What is the rule for playing music during tournament time? The last two years, we had an official tell us we cannot play music during time-outs and between games. If this is the case...why is this the only rule that changes from the regular season to post season?
Answer: Whether its regular season or tournament time, there is no such rule.
Question 10: I have seen a pretty strong consistency of officials not calling double hits on sets and carried sets. Thus when poor sets/lifts are not called, it allows for fundamentally poorer teams to "stay in the game" instead of blowing the play dead. Was this a point of emphasis for them during the off-season in order to let play continue?
Answer: Double hits are only allowed on first contacts and prolonged contact is always illegal. The expectation is that officials will enforce the rules and call violations whenever they see them.
Question 11: For lower level games, can we have one official on the tower only? In other words not have a floor official...for JV/Frosh matches?
Answer: Yes. Please refer to the Volleyball Season Regulations; “Two WIAA licensed officials are recommended for all nonvarsity competition, but only one is required.”
Question 12: I arrived on site to the following question. Is there a penalty associated with the home team doing ball handling prior to the beginning of the jv match.
Answer: No, currently there is not a penalty, although when this occurs officials should have the team stop inform them of the language in the Season Regulations, and contact WIAA staff the next day.
Question 13: Can teams leave the gym during the intermission?
Answer: Currently the NFHS volleyball rules do not prohibit a team from leaving the bench area when intermission is being used. If leaving, the coach has the responsibility to have the team back on court ready to play by the end of the intermission and to submit the lineup no later than two minutes into the interval between sets. This means that during the intermission, the coach must still submit the lineup at the same time as no intermission. A team that delays the start of play by not returning to the court on time shall be issued an unnecessary delay penalty.
Rule 2: The Court
Question 1: If a player's foot is touching the sideline, but not beyond the sideline at the moment of her teammate's service, is this a violation?Answer: NFHS 2-1-1 That is legal because the court lines are considered to be a part of the court.
Question 2: Where in the NFHS Rule Book does it state that the net outside of the net antennas is out of bounds? Answer: Please refer to 2-3-1d “Touches the net cables or net not completely inside the antenna, net supports or first referee’s platform.
Question 3: When playing volleyball, if the ball is in play and it hits the backboard of a basketball hoop, is the ball "dead" or still free to play?
Answer: NFHS 2-2 "a ball striking the ceiling or an overhead obstruction above playable area shall remain in play provided the ball contacts the ceiling or obstruction on the side of the net extended that is occupied by the team that last payed the ball, and the ball is legally played next by the same team." NFHS 2-3 "a ball is out of bounds and becomes dead when it (h) touches any part of a backboard or its supports hanging in a vertical position, over a playable area if it is a served ball or, in the judgment of the referee, the ball would not have remained in play if the backboard had not been there." All playable areas and overhead obstructions should be reviewed by officials during the prematch conference.
Question 4: I would like to know the requirements of the center line (which is also half court line for basketball court) through our logo? As I read in the current rule book, a shadow bordered line is permissible still to be used. Also, with our gym layout to get 3 courts in correctly to meet spacing requirements, our main volleyball court is offset a bit on the main basketball court which puts the one volleyball sideline outside of the basketball court sideline. My clarification again on this situation is the volleyball attack line and endline that intersect through the basketball sideline. Do these lines need to continue through the 8" basketball sideline? If so, does it need to be a solid 2" line or can it be a shadow 2" line?
Answer: From the NFHS 2-1-4: "Shadow line is permitted for the center line. Only small gaps (1-2") are allowed for the other boundary lines, including the attack line. These must be solid lines, shadow lines are only allowed for the center line."
Rule 3: Game Equipment
Question 1: I've run into two situations now where schools have a net sleeve printed with their school name or logo on it but it runs on both sides of the net and not the top. Please let me know what the WIAA interpretation would be.
Answer: Illegal. Only allowed on the top of the net per Rule 3-1-1.
Question 2: What volleyball can we use?
Answer: Any ball which has the NFHS Authenticating Mark is legal for use. During the WIAA Sectional Championship and the State Tournament, the ball which is used is the Molten IV58L-3-HS Super Touch (girls) or the V58L-3-HS Pro Touch (boys). Both balls are red, white, and blue in color.
Rule 4: Player Equipment and Uniform
Question 1: Does a volleyball player with a cochlear implant need a letter from the WIAA to play? What about a hearing aid?
Answer: Neither the NFHS nor the WIAA Medical Handbook have restrictions or require a waiver for an individual wearing a cochlear implant or a hearing aid in the sport of volleyball.
Question 2: I am wondering if the volleyball players would be able to have a temporary tattoo of the Breast Cancer ribbon symbol on their upper arm? What about a henna tattoo?
Answer: Temporary tattoos in volleyball fall under the category of body paint in Rule 4-1-7 and are not allowed.
Question 3: I mentioned to an official that one player on another team was in improper uniform as he had different shorts on than the rest of his teammates. I did this after the captains meeting so there was plenty of time for a change to be made. The officials then informed me that even though it was a rule he was going to ignore it, because he did not want to cause a scene.
Answer: Officials do not have the authority to set aside NFHS or WIAA rules/regulations.
Question 4: A team enters with several players wearing pre-wrap, soft rubber bands and bandannas which are folded and go around the entire head (just like a head band). The pre-wrap and bandannas are different colors. Is this legal? Do pre-wrap, bandannas and/or headbands need to be the same color? Are bandannas allowed? What is the distinction between a hair control device and a headband? The coaches and players argued that pre-wrap should be considered a hair control device because that's what it does - even though the pre-wrap is used around the entire head.
Answer: Volleyball allows a variety of hair control devices along with headbands and folded bandanas. Anything that covers the ENTIRE head, not just circling the head, would not be allowed without a waiver issued by this office. Rule 4-1-5; “Hair devices made of soft material and no more than 3 inches wide may be worn. Bobby pins, flat clips and flat barrettes, unadorned and no longer than 2 inches, are also allowed.” Per this rule, pre-wrap, soft rubber bands and folded bandannas would be allowed. The NFHS does not require volleyball players to have hair control devices that match in color. I would recommend reviewing the Case Book; 4.1.5, 4.1.6.
Question 5: I was scoring a varsity game last week and the libero was wearing the proper opposite color uniform, but, the white material was so thin/transparent that it was obvious to me and everyone in the gym that she was wearing a hot pink sport bra. Is this legal? I thought any garments under the uniform had to be a similar color as the dominant color of the uniform top.
Answer: Bras are considered "foundation garments" and are no longer subject to NFHS rules.
Question 6: While officiating a match last night I informed the coaches of both teams that I thought their libero uniforms were in violation of Rule 4-2-2, due to the use of the same color in the side panels that was also in the body of the regular uniforms. Is this a correct interpretation?
Answer: Rule 4-2-2 states that "the libero uniform top must clearly contrast from the predominant color(s) of the team uniform top, excluding trim...." The libero jersey that you mentioned above would be legal.
Question 7: I have a question regarding jewelry rules for middle school volleyball teams. Do the same rules apply at the middle school level as at the senior high?
Answer: Less than ninety schools are currently members of the WIAA at the Middle Level. If your school is a member of the WIAA it is expected that you follow all NFHS and WIAA rules and regulations. If your school is not a member you may choose which rules you will follow.
Question 8: Is there any legal device that may be used in a body-piercing hole to keep it from closing?
Answer: Fishing line covered by tape is allowed. Plastic plugs would not be allowed.
Question 9: Our team is wearing black compression shorts. One player would like to wear traditional black shorts. Is this allowed?
Answer: Legal. Please refer to the Case Book, 4.2.1; "Uniforms on Team A are alike except: (d) style."
Question 10: We have new uniforms, which are royal. The libero is wearing black. Our coach was told that this is not an acceptable color for the libero. Is this correct?
Answer: From the NFHS rule book: “The libero shall wear a uniform top that is immediately recognized from all angles as being in clear contrast to and distinct from the other members of the team.” There are several other sentences in the rule that your coach should reference (Rule 4-2-2). The libero jersey does not need to be school colors but it needs to contrast to the other team members’ uniforms. A clear contrasting color could be white, yellow, green, pink, etc.
Question 11: During the WIAA Tournament what color jersey does the home team wear?
Answer: Volleyball does not use a specific home and away jersey color. Teams are allowed to use any legal jerseys.
Question 12: My team dyed their hair pink for the recent Dig Pink event. The dye hasn’t washed out yet. Is it legal for the players to play in the regional match with pink hair?
Answer: Legal. Neither NFHS nor WIAA rules address hair color.
Question 13: Can headbands have multiple logos on them in volleyball. I cannot find that in the rule book. I cannot find anything to that nature in the rule book. Can you clarify please?
Answer: Please refer to NFHS Rule 4-1-5. The NFHS does not address logos on headbands so there isn’t a restriction on the number or size.
Question 14: Reflective tape on the eyelid used as eye shadow . . . legal? We all thought it was glitter, but it isn't really.
Answer: Provided make-up does not have the potential to come off on the ball it would be legal.
Question 15: Is it legal for our boys’ volleyball team to wear uniforms that are identical to our current except they are sleeveless? They look like a boys’ basketball top but are identical to our tops with short sleeves, but they do not have sleeves.
Question 16: Are hair extensions permissible during match play? My girls are doing an epilepsy awareness event and would like to get purple hair extensions.
Answer: If the extensions are attached with something metal they would not be legal. (Rule 4-1-5)
Question 17: Can a player wear wrist/sweat bands?
Question 18: If the regular players are wearing solid white jerseys (no stripes or piping) with navy numbers, would the libero be allowed to wear a solid gold jersey (not yellow) with navy numbers? Is that enough of a contrast is one jersey is white?
Question 19: If we only have 1 gold jersey (a second was purchased in the off-season, but would not fit the DS who would wear it this year, as she is a new player to the team), would we be allowed to have our starting libero wear the gold jersey (assuming the rest of the team was wearing navy), and if she were to be replaced in a subsequent set, have the new libero wear white?
Question 20: I have an athlete with a subdermal implant. Is it legal? What about if it has a stud attached to it? Answer: Subdermal implants are legal provided no part of the extension protrudes through the skin.
Question 21: I have a player who is using rubber inserts to enlarge her ear lobes. Since these are not metal, is she allowed to keep them in during a match or cover them with tape?
Answer: Not allowed. Players are not allowed to keep foreign objects in their earlobes during warm-ups or a match. It is also prohibited to keep jewelry on and cover it with tape. It would be recommended however tape the enlarged earlobe to the neck to keep it from getting caught on something during play. Many times this is allowed at the middle school level because middle school conferences are picking and choosing which rules to enforce. When athletes play at the senior high level all rules must be enforced.
Question 22: I have a player with tendonitis. Does she need a waiver to wear a neoprene sleeve? What about a brace? Does the sleeve need to be the same color as her uniform?
Answer: No waiver is necessary. Please refer to Rules 4-1-1 and 2 for descriptions of legal braces. Neither a sleeve nor a brace has color restrictions.
Question 23: Are girls with newly pierced ears allowed to wear the studs or put tape over them during games? Answer: As per NFHS Rules; “4-1-6: Jewelry shall not be worn by players during warm-ups and /or competition.” Placing tape over the earrings is not acceptable.
Question 24: I have a question concerning footwear. In warm-ups, the varsity coach was barefoot while warming up her team. Rule 4-2-6 states "appropriate playing shoes shall be worn" and I know as an official we are to screen ball shaggers (members of the C and JV teams) to make sure they have appropriate footwear. Is the coach exempt from this rule?
Answer: While it is ill advised for a coach to be on the court without proper footwear, officials' jurisdiction in this area does not extend to coaches.
Question 25: I have a volleyball player who has a medical condition. The condition is worsened with the long sleeve uniform the varsity wears. Would it be ok if we alter her uniform to be short sleeve while everyone else has a long sleeve uniform?
Answer: NFHS Rule 4-2-1 allows for a variety of sleeve lengths. If your coach has someone question this she should refer them to the NFHS Case Book, 4.2.1, sit. A, which addresses this specific question.
Question 26: I have a volleyball player who has been fitted with a "sam splint" on her finger. It is a metal splint sandwiched between padding. Is it legal for her play with this type of splint?
Answer: Not allowed. Please refer to NFHS Rule 4-1-1; “A guard, cast or brace made of hard and unyielding leather, plaster, pliable plastic , metal or any other hard substance shall not be worn on the hand, finger, wrist or forearm, even though covered with soft padding.”
Question 27: At a recent boys' game, one of the teams had jerseys with a legal NIKE swoosh on the chest and additionally a NIKE tag at the bottom of the jersey. I believe this is in violation of the single logo rule (4-2-1f).
Answer: Correct call. Only one manufacturer's logo is allowed per piece of apparel. There are two solutions; tuck the shirts in (which is probably how they are supposed to be worn) or take a Sharpie marker and color over the NIKE tag on the bottom of the jersey.
Question 28: Apparently there is a new short that players are wearing. I believe they must buy the shorts themselves because while the basic color of the short is the same, black, the waistband is a variety of colors. Some are green, some are blue, some red. Is this legal?
Answer: Illegal. Rule 4-2-1; "...shall wear a like-colored uniform top and bottom..."
Question 29: Are "skids" legal for use by all players?
Question 30: How large can the letter "G" be on the front leg of a spandex uniform bottom? We are adding it to our uniform. I know all of the uniform top rules, and manufacturer's logo rules...but this one I could not find.
Answer: No restriction on size on uniform bottom. Only restriction would be for manufacturer's logo.
Question 31: Is a volleyball player allowed to wear a sleeve on their arm?
Answer: Legal. There are no NFHS rules, which would prohibit this.
Question 32: Can a volleyball player wear this device that measures vertical jump?
Answer: This item is not permitted per Rule 4-1-4. Any equipment that in the judgement of the first referee increases a player's advantage or presents a safety concern is prohibited.
Question 33: A player was wearing a "daith piercing" in her ear and had a note from a Doctor that she needed it to control migraines. Is this legal?
Answer: No, jewelry is not allowed (NFHS 4-1-6). A school can contact the WIAA to inquire about a uniform waiver, but without a WIAA waiver, this is not allowed.
Rule 5: Officials Responsibilities and Positions
Question 1: Does the R2 enter the court to check the lineup before each set?
Answer: No, see Casebook, p. 70 under Starting the Match: "The second referee moves to the sideline beside the court and uses the lineup card not the scoresheet, to verify that the players are in the proper position on the court."
Question 2: As the R2, am I allowed to use my phone or an ipod to electronically keep the line-up?
Answer: No, NFHS Rule 5-5-1 (Note) requires that the R2 record both teams in starting floor position on his/her lineup card. The NFHS has provided an interpretation regarding the use of electronic devices in lieu of a line-up cared, and at this time, that is not allowed.
Question 3: Do we continue to allow the teams to shake hands at the net after the last game in a match? In the rule book they want us to dismiss the teams from the court to the sidelines right after the last game of the match? Answer: Rule 5-4-4e directs the R1 to “…At the end of the match, the first referee shall whistle, give the end-of-set signal, then whistle and release the players. Wisconsin, stressing good sportsmanship is important. Teams are encouraged to shake hands following release by the R1.
Question 4: When there is a deciding game (either the 3rd or 5th), and the captains are called for the coin flip. Is it all captains or just the "playing" captains on the court?
Answer: Please refer to Rule 5-4-4d2. It references “captains” and not specifically “playing captains”. I would interpret this to mean all captains.
Question 5: I thought I read somewhere that if an official chooses to wear black shorts due to heat that he also must wear white socks and white shoes, not black shoes and socks. So my question is whether I am correct and white shoes and socks are mandatory with black shorts or are they optional and we can also wear black shoes and black socks. I know we must wear the black with black pants. Also could you reference where in the rules these policies might appear?
Answer: The information regarding volleyball officials’ attire can be found in the “Guide for Officials” and also in the WI Adaptations. If shorts are worn, due to high heat and humidity, either black or white shoes would be allowed although both partners should be wearing the same thing. Black shoes continue to be the preferred officials' attire, and will be required of the state tournament officials.
Question 6: We're training new line judges. Is there information on what they need to know? I'm especially interested in training them to use flags.
Answer: Access the WIAA website, select Volleyball from the list of sports, click on Rules & Regulations, and then choose "Line Judges Duties and Responsibilities." This is an excellent PowerPoint presentation produced by the Indiana Association.
Rule 6: The Team: Composition and Positions
Question 1: During a match last night, each team at separate points asked R1 to watch for screening, as they felt that the serving team had several players in close proximity with a low serve coming over the top of those players. After the request, R1 informed both team captains that all players along the net must keep their hands at their waist or below while the serve is contacted. Between games I asked the R1 about why the teams were told that if the players left a clear gap between themselves and the other players along the net and were not moving their bodies or arms prior to or during the contact of the serve. She said she felt having arms raised was "against the spirit of the rule" and that there was no need to put their arms up, as "they would have plenty of time to raise them after the ball crosses the net since they are not allowed to attack the serve." My question is if players are not moving/waving their arms and the players leave a gap between them, is R1 allowed to force them to lower their arms prior to or during the serve contact with the threat of a potential screen being called?
Answer: R1 does not have the authority to request that players place their arms at their waist. Please refer to the Case Book 6.5.2, sit. A, B & C.
Question 2: Please review the rule for overlapping.
Answer: Rule 6-4-3c states; “Each rightside player shall have at least part of one foot touching the floor closer to the right sideline than both feet of the center player in the corresponding row. Each leftside player shall have at least part of one foot touching the floor closer to the left sideline than both feet of the center player in the corresponding row. Each front-row player shall have at least part of one foot touching the floor closer to the center line than both feet of the corresponding back-row player.”
Question 3: Receiving team's back row setter was in the left back position, LB, and at the instant of serve, straddled the left front player, LF. That is, LB setter had one foot touching the floor closer to the net than both feet of LF, and one foot farther away from net than both feet of LF. Setter was whistled for overlap, but coach thought this was legal. Rule Book p.27, 6-4-3-b. Case Book pg. 23, 6.4.3 Situation 1.
Answer: Correct call.
Question 4: Is the following situation considered screening: If team S has 3 players close together (not directly in a line) with arms up, but aligned with one at net, the other two about 6-12 inches behind her, but with minimal to no gaps between them and team’s S server serves the ball directly over them, according to Rule 6-5, article 1, part b I feel it should be. An official disagreed.
Answer: Please refer to the NFHS Case Book; 6.5.2, sit. B. The situation details a similar situation to the one that you have described. Screening could potentially be called but one of the criteria that you did not mention was the type of serve used. In any case, this is a judgment call by the official and without actually observing the action it would be very difficult for me to comment on your particular situation.
Question 5: We had a situation last night where the R1 called our team for overlapping because LB and CF were overlapped. I tried to explain that this wasn’t correct. Please advise.
Answer: Legal. Please refer to the Case Book, 6.4.3, sit. G, diagram c. LB is closer to the centerline than CF which is legal provided LB is not overlapping with LF or CB.
Rule 7: Roster and Lineup
Question 1: Recently, at a volleyball tournament, I was told by R2 that I had to keep my line up sheet at the scorer's table throughout the match. I had picked up my sheet and taken it back to the bench area as I walked by the table when we were switching sides of the court between sets. In checking the rules, I can only find that the sheet is required to stay at the table during each set. Please clarify this rule for me: Do I have to stay at the scorer's table or in clear view of the scorer to fill in the lineup for sets 2-5 or may I take my sheet to the bench area and return it to the scorer's table after I have filled in the next set's line up?
Answer: Please refer to the NFHS Case Book, page 28; 7.1.3: “Between sets, the coach takes the combined roster/lineup sheet from the officials’ table to prepare his/her lineup for the next set. RULING: Legal.”
Question 2: Can the make-up of the tournament team’s roster change from match to match?
Question 3: Is there a limit on roster spots for a varsity team? 10? 15? 25?
Answer: the regular season schools may determine their own roster size. I would advise checking to see if your conference has any restriction on roster size. During the WIAA tournament series the roster is limited to 15 players, but the roster may change from one tournament match to the next.
Question 4: You can only have 1 person designated as the Libero for each game of a match correct? Then could they change who that person is before the start of the next game? So in game 1 of a varsity match Player A is Libero, game 2 of the varsity match it would be player B.
Answer: Yes, that is correct. Rule 7-1-2.
Question 5: The R2 verifies the players on the floor with their line up card before a set, and the wrong player is on the court. The R2 does have to take a minute to go back to the scorer to make sure they wrote it down right, then approach the coach on the error. The coach admits they did not communicate the starting line up well to the players, and has no problem putting the right player on the court and the change is made. What if anything should be the penalty to the team? Loss of point/serve? Unnecessary delay? No penalty?
Answer: Please refer to the Case Book page 24 (7.1.2, sit. A). “As the second referee is checking lineups, Team A has No. 22 on the lineup sheet but No. 12 is on the court. The R2 tells the coach No. 22 must take the court and the coach may (a) leave No. 22 in for at least one rally and then substitute, or (b) request a substitution No. 12 for No. 22 prior to the start of the set. RULING: Correct procedure. COMMENT: “If the substitution is to occur prior to the start of the set, the R2 will follow the regular substitution procedure to allow #12 to enter the set.”
Rule 8: The Serve
Question 1: The server bounces the ball before the whistle. After the whistle, she backspins the ball into the air, lets it bounce in front of her, and then tosses it for her serve. Is this grounds for a reserve? This is her consistent way of serving.
Answer: Provided the serve takes place within the 5 second allowance this would be legal. (8-1-1)
Question 2: Just curious about a possible ruling. I have had a couple of volleyball coaches and fans ask me if it is ok for the opposition to yell things like "up", or "jump" when the server tosses the ball for serve, or does a jump serve. The fans are all told not to yell during the serve before the match. My thought would be that should carry over to the opposing players as well.
Answer: Over the years this issue has been addressed many times. In the past, we have indicated that officials need not concern themselves with fans yelling during a serve unless it’s an issue of individuals being singled out. For example, “Hey #3 you’re going to miss!” Athletic directors are encouraged to keep their fans under control but nowhere in the rule book does it state it must be silent when someone is serving. The same is true if the opposition chooses to call out something (such as the examples you gave). Unless it is interpreted as unsportsmanlike (singling out the server, using profane language), officials would simply ignore it. The examples you have given have been addressed in the past and have been considered legal (although not really necessary).
Question 3: Can you verify the rule about re-serve for volleyball? The wording is a bit confusing on re-serves when a player tosses the ball up and chooses not to serve it. Is the re-serve allowed once per serve, or once per server per rotation?
Answer: Please refer to the Case Book, 8.1.6; "Player S1 is awarded a re-serve and serves two more points before being replaced by Player S2. Player S2 is awarded a re-serve during his/her term of service. RULING: correct procedure. COMMENT: Each player is entitled to one re-serve during any one team's term of service."
Question 4: Team A wins a rally and the serve. With Player X for Team A at end-line, R1 blows whistle and beckons for serve. Player X realizes that she is not the correct server and within the 5 second count tosses the ball up into the air and lets it fall to the ground. R1 calls for re-serve. Team A, now rotates to the correct positions and the correct server takes possession of the ball and serves. Play is allowed by R1. Is this the correct call?
Answer: Legal. Please refer to the Case Book, 8.1.6, sit D. Similar situation.
Question 5: I have an officiating question for you. Team's A server tosses the ball in the air and let's it drop. The official calls for a re-serve. The server serves two more points before again tossing the ball in the air and letting it drop. Is the server entitled to a second re-serve or only the one?
Answer: Illegal. 8-1-5; "Each player may have only one re-serve during a team's term of service."
Question 6: We have a player who likes to start her jump serve from outside the sideline, she then runs along the baseline and serves. Last week at our invite she was called for a violation, because she started the serve outside the sideline. Is this a violation?
Answer: NFHS Rule 2-1-6 defines the serving area and rule 8-1-2 states; “...shall not touch the end line or the floor outside the lines marking the width of the serving area at the instant the ball is contacted for the serve.” This means that the server may begin their approach outside the serving area but at the moment of contact must be within the defined serving area.
Question 7: #4 is serving when she realizes she is the wrong server and tosses the ball and lets it drop. The official signals for a re-serve. She changes places on the floor with #5 who is the correct server. The official signals for the serve and #5 tosses badly and lets the ball drop to the floor. Ruling?
Answer: Case Book 8.1.6 Illegal serve; loss of rally/point.
Comment: The improper server has already used up the proper server's re-serve privilege for that player's term of service (Penalty 3).
Rule 9: During Play
Question 1: What is the ruling if a player’s hair touches the net?
Answer NFHS Rule 9-6-7 "A net foul occurs while the ball is in play and: a) It is not a foul when a player's loose hair touches the net..."
Question 2: Please review the libero setting while on or in front of the attack line.
Answer: As per Rule 9-5-; “A libero shall not a) Complete an attack from anywhere if, at the moment of contact the ball is entirely above the height of the net.” Therefore is it possible for the libero to set the ball across the net provided the ball is not entirely above the height of the net when contacted.
Question 3: I was officiating a game last night and the coach was insistent that any time the ball came off of the setters fingers spinning (especially if it went backwards) that she had to have carried the ball. I explained that I watch each hit and call it dependent on the hit not only on the action of the ball. If the ball remains on the setter’s hands too long or if it rolls on her hands I will call an illegal hit. However, if the ball simply pops off the fingertips even if the ball is spinning it is not necessarily an illegal hit. Is this correct?
Answer Rule 9-4-5; “Legal contact is a touch of the ball by any part of a player’s body which does not allow the ball to visibly come to rest or involve prolonger contact with a player’s body.”
Question 4: Some coaches are reporting their players are being called for stepping over the centerline. The officials are calling that illegal. When asked the officials state that the players cannot step over the centerline. Please clarify
Answer: Legal. Rule 9-5-7; “A player may touch the floor across the center line with one or both feet/hands provided a part of the foot/feet or hand(s) remains on or above the center line. Contacting the floor across the center line with any other part of the body is illegal.”
Question 5: At what point should the officials call a replay because of a perceived injury? Is it okay to call a replay after the ball is dead because it hit the floor while someone was sitting on the floor and couldn't get to the ball because of a possible injury? (She went out for the next play, but was back in a couple of plays later.)
Answer: Please refer to the list of replay situations in Rule 9-8-1g. In the situation you’ve described, player on the floor unable to play the ball because of a possible injury.
Question 6: If a player is excited and jumps up from the bench after a good play, the water in her bottle flies and lands on the court. If it takes a lot of time to clean up the water due to no towel, is it a penalty? This was not at a time out.
Answer: Rule 9-9-1 (Unnecessary delay) “....is not limited to:” This means it could include the situation you have described.
Question 7: Is it ok to kick the volleyball to keep it in play? Please include the WIAA or NFHS rule if possible. Answer: Legal. Rule 9-4-5; "Legal contact is a touch of the ball by any part of a player's body which does not allow the ball to visibly come to rest or involve prolonged contact with a player's body."
Question 8: There seems to be a lot of confusion concerning the end of set protocol for a non-deciding set. I signal the loss of rally, the fault, the end of set signal, and then the change of court signal. I have the players on the court change sides going around the net poles without going to the end line. I have seen some referees at the end of the set send the players on the court to their bench and then have them change sides. I have also seen some referees follow the old protocol of sending the teams to the end line and then have them change sides. Please clarify.
Answer: Please refer to NFHS Rule 9-2-3b; “When directed by the first referee to change courts, the teams shall proceed immediately to their new team benches and the players shall proceed counterclockwise along the sideline past the standard to their new team benches.” This is also referenced in Rule 5-4-4b.
Question 9: On a ball headed out of bounds that contacts a player’s hair versus the skull, is it considered a touch? This happened at a girls match whereby it was apparent it contacted hair, but not the head/body. The officials did not call it a touch as hair contacting the net is considered incidental contact.
Answer: Rule 9-4-1; “A contact is any touch of the ball by a player (excluding the player’s loose hair).” Also a situation in the Case Book: 9.4.1.
Question 10: At a recent tournament there were vertical hanging backboards about 6' from the endline of the court. On one court, a ball contacting the backboard was automatically dead with no opportunity for a replay. On the other court it was dead but the official considered whether there were grounds for a replay or not as per NFHS Rule 9-8-1h. What should the ruling have been?
Answer: If it is determined that the vertical hanging backboard is in a playable area a replay would be called if "...in the judgment of the referee, the ball would have remained in play had the backboard not been there, and a player is able to make a legitimate play for the ball." Where identical multiple courts are being used it is important for officials to make consistent calls on ground rules.
Question 11: Now that players may wear a towel tucked into their waist-band, what is the ruling if the towel touches the net?
Answer: Net violation. Rule 9-6-7a.
Question 12: Based on Rule 9-5-3, is it legal for a back row player, while on or in front of attack line, to jump and contact ball that is not completely above the height of the net to complete an attack?
Answer: Legal. Generally, if you do not find an action listed as illegal in the NFHS Rule Book, it should be considered legal.
Rule 10: Substitution and Libero Placement
Question 1: An injured libero has been replaced by re-designation. Can he/she return to play during the match? Answer: He/she would not be allowed to return during that same set, but would be allowed to return to play in a subsequent set. 10-4-3
Question 2: Rule 10-4-5 talks about the Libero rotating to the server position while she is already on the court. I've always been under the impression that the player that is coming back into the game for the Libero (when the Libero is staying in to serve) should be rotating to the front row. Tonight in our match, the player that came back in for the Libero (while the Libero went to serve) stayed in the back row. Is this a correct procedure? Or does that player (coming back in for the Libero) indeed have to be rotating to the front row? Can you clarify this for me?
Answer: It may be unusual to have the replacement come into the LB position since that person would need to receive and play defense, but it is legal.
Question 3: Regarding the libero and checking the lineup on the floor after a timeout. #2 is replaced by the libero and play continues. A timeout is called and after the timeout, the players return to the court including the libero. When I came to check the lineup on the court, I told them that #2 has to be on the floor and then the libero can come in after I check the line up just as at the start of the set. This was at a freshman match.
Answer: Rule 10-4-2d. Please refer to the Case Book, 10.4.2 situation: “Team R calls a time-out. At the completion of the time-out, with both teams on the court, Team S executes a replacement for the libero. This is the team’s only replacement on this dead ball. The first referee let’s play continue. RULING: Correct procedure. COMMENT: A replacement cannot take place during a time-out but may take place once both teams are back on the court ready to play.”
Question 4: If I put a sub in for a player, does that sub, if taken out, only able to be subbed back in for that same original player for the rest of that set? Or, can I use that sub for other players as well in the same set?
Answer: Not allowed. Rule 10-3-1. Please refer to the NFHS Case Book, page 35, 10.3.1, sit. B; “COMMENT: These players may enter the set an unlimited amount of time as long as the entry is in the original position and the total number of substitutes does not exceed 18. Any number of players may enter into a position. However none of these players may enter into a different position in the rotation order for that set.”
Question 5: We had a set where I was going to have 2 subs go in. My second player was late to the sub area and the sub was denied. I told the ref that I wanted to take a timeout and then make my second sub after the timeout. The R2 said he would not allow this sub to occur even if I were to use one of my timeouts. As far as I can tell, if I am willing to take a timeout I can make another sub if needed as long as I have a timeout available.
Answer: The official was correct. Rule 10-1-3; "Each team is permitted only one request for substitution during the same dead ball. Other requests for substitution by the same team shall be denied." From the description of the event, it appears that this took place during the same dead ball period.
Question 6: We officiated a volleyball game last night and the coach said that referees have been inconsistent with substitution procedures. Some have had the 2nd pair of subs wait outside the substitution zone between the 10 M line and the end line, others have had the subs stand in a line (behind) with the 1st set of subs. I just wanted to clarify proper procedure.
Answer: From the NFHS rule 10-2-3B, “If more than one substitution is to be made, the substitutions shall be made in succession, one pair of players after another (substitute and outgoing player) with only one substitute in the substitution zone at a time.”
Rule 12: Conduct
Question 1: A player on the court receives a yellow card for unsporting conduct. is the head coach required to remove her from the court? Is the head coach required to sit for the rest of the set? Match?
Answer: No to all. Refer to 12-2 Penalties and Procedures for Unsporting Conduct Violations. Warning: a yellow card is administered by the first referee at the first dead ball. The warning shall be recorded in the Comments section on the scoresheet. No penalty point is assessed.
Question 2: I'm R2. The coach comes over to me and says fans behind the bench are making nasty comments to and about her girls, which I can't hear. Is there anything I do about this? What do I say to her?
Answer: This is a game management issue. Please refer to 12-3; “When a spectator becomes unruly or interferes with the orderly progress of the set, the first referee shall suspend the set until the host management resolves the situation and the set can proceed in an orderly manner.”
Question 3: Are assistant coaches ever allowed to stand to coach?
Answer: Not allowed. Please refer to NFHS Rule 12-2-5a-e. The list of privileges does not include standing to coach.
Question 4: During the match, the coach that is standing is not the coach that was in the meeting. Is this a violation? What is the penalty?
Answer: The head coach is required to attend the pre-match meeting (Rule 12-2-3). Not attending could result in an unsporting conduct (12-2-8).
Question 5: Under what circumstances can a head coach designate that their assistant coach be allowed to stand during play, instead of themselves? What if the team has co-head coaches? Can they both stand, just not at the same time?
Answer: Rule 12-2-6, in the Notes, “the privilege to stand during play shall not be designated to an assistant coach.” 12.2.9 Situation C: "During the pre-match conference, the R1 asks for a designation of one head coach for the match. The designation remains for the match."
Question 6: When a team has co-coaches, I understand that only 1 coach is designated/permitted to stand during a game. But can they rotate every other game? So game 1, Coach A stands. Game 2, Coach B stands. Game 3, Coach A. Etc.?
Answer: I’ve advised in the past that if a team has co-coaches, only 1 coach should be designated as the “head” coach for the entire match, thus having the ability to stand to coach.
Question 1: Can our freshman volleyball coach be the club coach for our current 8th graders (next year's 9th graders)?
Answer: No. Your Varsity or JV coaches would be able to coach them, but not your Frosh coach (see below).
I. COACHES AND COACHING CONTACT
Coaches may not have coaching contact with any athletes they will be coaching the following school season during restricted times (except their own children). There is no distinction between varsity and J.V. coaches, i.e., J.V. coaches cannot coach varsity athletes during restricted times, and vice- versa, nor any distinction between paid and nonpaid (volunteer) coaches. An exception is that varsity and J.V. coaches can have coaching contact with students who have just completed 8th grade or any preceding grade up until these 8th graders actually start their 9th grade year.
Hosting an Awareness/Fundraiser (ex. “Pink”) Event
Question 1: A player’s mother is having a pink volleyball game and was asking to find out if she could put the sponsor’s logo on the uniform. She was not able to find if it was legal or not. I checked the rules book, and the ‘hosting a pink event’ site and found that it is illegal to have a sponsor’s logo on the uniform. Was I correct in this? Answer: You are correct that sponsor’s logos are not allowed on uniforms. Please refer to the School Center and reference the heading “Hosting Pink Event” located under Volleyball; Rules Related Materials.
Question 2: Our team is not going to have a dig pink event, but we wanted to replace it with a fundraiser to the XXX Association. I was just checking to see if that would be all right. We would have different uniforms and probably still use our pink volleyball.
Answer: The WIAA does not sanction specific events. Your local school board or administration should do so. I would advise though, that you review the information posted on the volleyball web page regarding host a “Pink Event” as that has information that may be helpful for your event. Keep in mind also that the WIAA does prohibit fund raising in relation to performance during a contest (donations based on the number of ace serves, kills, etc.).
Question 3: I was hoping to hold a fundraiser during one of the matches this season and wanted to make sure that this money raising event was not in violation of any WIAA rules. The plan is to have the players (all levels) ask people if they would like to donate money for cancer research (all money raised would go to the coaches vs cancer organization) by giving a lump sum or an amount per kill, or ace or dig that the team has during the match. Could you please advise me on any issues there might be in doing an event like this?
Answer: The WIAA does not allow players to receive pledges for game achievements. See the following from the Eligibility Q & A: “While we appreciate the causes which our schools and athletes support, I recommend that you find a different method to raise funds. The Board of Control has made it clear that fundraisers connected to performance in competition are NOT allowed. Both from the sportsmanship perspective, as well as from the "paid to perform" and or gaming/gambling end of things, it is not a good idea and not allowed. Your plan would be allowed in a practice setting. A lump sum donation would be acceptable.”
Question 4: I had a coach ask me the other night about the girls wearing pink hair extensions for a Pink Out event. I told her I wasn't sure about extensions, but knew for sure that the girls could dye their hair pink if they wanted to. Can you shed some light on this situation for me?
Answer: It depends on how the extension is attached. If it has any kind of hard metal or plastic attachment to the girls’ real hair it would not be allowed. If it was woven into the hair and secure than it might be OK. You are correct that hair dye would be allowed, but caution should be used if the hair coloring is spray on rather than actual dye. Spray on tends to run when the player becomes hot and sweaty.
Question 1: What is the bench limit for the WIAA Tournament?
Answer: Please refer to the WIAA Tournament Regulations: “Each participating school will be allowed a maximum of 15 players in full uniform for each tournament match. Noncompliance with this regulation, once competition has begun, shall be regarded as flagrant, unsportsmanlike conduct on the part of the head coach resulting in his/her immediate ejection (leave premises) when brought to the attention of the game officials. A maximum of 22 bench personnel, which includes a maximum of 15 eligible players and additional people such as coaches, manager(s), statistician(s), principal, athletic director, etc., shall be permitted to occupy the team bench.”
Question 2: Next week our girls’ volleyball team will be our school's "team of the week" and part of this celebration they wanted to throw t-shirts into the stands when they get announced for their playoff game on the 20th. Would that be ok to do or, since it is a playoff game and "neutral" environment, should we not permit that since it is a playoff event?
Answer: Thanks for checking on this. As you noted, the neutral environment we strive for during the WIAA tournaments, would prohibit throwing t-shirts into the crowd.
Question 1: We have attended two varsity tournaments where the host school had to enter a JV team to replace the varsity team that pulled out of the tournament at the last minute. We have played three JV teams as a result of this happening this season. I would like to know if we can count these as wins in our overall record for the season and for seeding. After all, it isn't our fault that this happened and I don't believe it should affect our record. What is the WIAA stance on this?
Answer: Only matches played against varsity teams may be counted in the overall season record and for seeding purposes.
Question 2: Is there a requirement, if the facility allows, that the score clock and the scorebook should be together, especially during a varsity competition (conference match)?
Answer: If a facility absolutely cannot have the scorer and scoreboard operator sitting together they will not be prohibited from hosting a match. The priority would be for the scorer to be courtside for access by R2 and players that are substituting into the match.
Question 3: Can you please explain to me what is meant by “Non-Determining sets” on the season summary form?
Answer: Sometimes in tournament pool play, teams play 2 sets so it’s possible to have a “match” be 1 set won and 1 set lost. You need to play the determining set either 2 out of 3 or 3 out of 5 in order to count it in the overall record and season summary.
Question 4: Our school wants the varsity volleyball team to scrimmage the faculty. They have a scrimmage available.
Question 5: We would like to have our middle school students serve between the JV and varsity contests. Is this allowed?
Answer: Yes. Please refer to the Recruiting Guidelines found on the Eligibility page of the WIAA website.
Question 6: We would like to have a player play in both a JV and varsity match on the same day. The matches are being held in two different cities. Is this allowed?
Answer: Please refer to the WIAA Volleyball Season Regulations, Individual Participation Limitations; "It is strongly recommended that a student participate at only one level (varsity or nonvarsity) on the same day." Since the tournaments are being held in two different locations, this would be interpreted as two separate contests which would be counted as 2 of the maximum number of matches allowed, which is 15. Keep in mind that if a dual match is scheduled, "A student who participates at multiple levels on the same day may not play in more than the equivalent of five sets if the varsity match is three out of five set match."
Question 7: Each player is allowed to play in 5 sets in a night and it could be some on JV and some on Varsity. A team we played early in the year had a player play 2 games on JV and then 3 on Varsity. In our conference, we play a 4th game if a team wins 3-0. What if the team we played had that same player play in game 4 of varsity for his 6th game of the night. Is that allowed since game 4 was considered an exhibition game? When we approached the officials about this they told us it was not their responsibility to track this. If that is the case, then who is responsible for tracking the amount of games each player plays in?
Answer: The “exhibition” set would count against the maximum of number of sets allowed (5). The official is correct that they are not responsible to track that information since not all officials are working both levels of competition (JV and varsity). Schools are expected to follow the regulations. In most cases the scorekeeper catches the violation or its discovered after-the-fact by the violating school’s coach or the opposing coach.
Question 8: Recently officials prohibited players from shaking the opposing coach's hand during the introductions. Please clarify if this is allowed or not.
Answer: In volleyball we have always allowed this display of sportsmanship.
Question 9: Is there any rules that allow volleyball players to play more than 5 games in an evening for a dual match? Similar to the 5-quarter rule in basketball. We have low numbers and we were trying to see if there is anything we could do to allow more athletes to participate.
Answer: Volleyball does not have a waiver in place to allow for more than 5 sets during a dual match. With most sub varsity teams playing best 2 out of 3, coaches should be able to work out a system with their line-up so that the sub varsity players will still have sets left for the varsity match before they reach the maximum of 5 sets.
Question 10: Can a JV Team have more than the maximum allowed matches? We are currently one over the max but are watching the number of games our athletes that play both Varsity and JV are playing.
Answer: No, Please refer to the WIAA Volleyball Season Regulations; “The maximum number of contests is 15, and no more than seven of the 15 may be multiple-school contests (involving total of more than two teams)”.
Question 11: I've been trying to find out how many different volleyball contests are allowed for freshmen and haven't been able to find it on WIAA website.
Answer: Please refer to page 62 of the Volleyball Season Regulations; “The maximum number of meets is 13. No more than six of the 13 may be multiple-school meets.”
Question 12: We have more girls out for volleyball this year then ever before. Is it possible to have a varsity reserve team? How do we go about creating one?
Answer: Your school board should officially approve the varsity reserve team. Then create a schedule specifically for this team. The varsity reserve would have the same match limits as the varsity and JV teams and each girl would still need to adhere to the individual season limitations.
Question 13: We have a player that needs to wear a heart monitor. Does she need WIAA approval?
Answer: Yes. Contact WIAA staff with the name of the player and provide a copy of the physician's orders for its use. The WIAA will provide a wavier which should be shown by the head coach to the officials prior to each match.
Question 14: Could you tell me the rule on JV games if one team has won the first two games? Must a third game be played or is it if both coaches agree to play it. It has come up as we are a small school and have the six game waiver.
Answer: This would be a conference decision if it’s a conference match. Usually, subvarsity matches are 3 set matches regardless so that the players receive more playing time. If it’s not a conference match, it could be mutually decided.
Question 15: Do we have to have anyone in particular keep the scorebook for freshman level volleyball games or can it be a volunteer parent from either team?
Answer: It’s the host school's responsibility to provide an individual that is knowledgeable and reliable for the role of the scorekeeper. Exactly who that person is, is up to the host. Volunteer parent, if trained, is acceptable.
Question 16: I have an athlete on my volleyball team that has asked me if they could bowl with their mother, in a mother daughter bowling tournament, it has a cash payout. They were wondering if this would conflict with rules of participation in volleyball?
Answer: Bowling is not a WIAA sponsored sport, therefore participation in this event would be allowed.