USAV vs. High School

USAV rules for playing volleyball differ somewhat from NFHS volleyball rules.

Here are the most common differences in rules for the 2007-2008 volleyball season.

14 of the biggest differences in Rules

  1. backboards

    USAV
    ruled same as ceiling 

    NFHS
    judgement replay for vertical backboard 


  2. ball characteristics 

    USAV
    surface must be uniform, light color or combination of colors 

    NFHS
    surface must be white, with NFHS Authenticating Mark 


  3. rosters 

    USAV
    Rules for playing volleyball say all team members, including managers, trainers, etc. are listed on the roster. Players not listed on the roster can't play 

    NFHS
    players can be added to the roster, but loss of rally is the result 


  4. designating a captain 

    USAV
    one team member (not the libero) must be designated as the team playing captain on the roster, and is the captain anytime that player is on the court. If the team captain is not on the starting line up, another player must be designated captain anytime the team captain isn't on the court. 

    NFHS
    One captain must be designated as captain on the line up sheet for each game. That player remains captain unless she leaves the game. 


  5. coaching when ball is in play 

    USAV
    Coach my stand during play. Assistant coaches may instruct players while seated on the bench. 

    NFHS
    Coach must be seated when referee prepares to whistle/signal for serve, and remain seated during play. 


  6. coaching when ball is out of play 

    USAV
    If seated, coach is required to sit on bench nearest the scorekeeper. Coach may stand or walk within free zone in front of team bench without disrupting the match. Assistant coaches may instruct players while seated on the bench. 

    NFHS
    no restriction on coach's location while on bench. during a dead ball, head coach may stand in libero replacement zone to instuct players 


  7. individual sanctions 

    USAV
    warning - no card shown - verbal or hand communication penalty - yellow card held in one hand expulsion - red card held in one hand disqualification - red and yellow cards held in one hand 

    NFHS
    warning - yellow card held in one hand penalty - red card held in one hand disqualification - red and yellow cards held in separate hands 


  8. unnecessary delay team sanctions 

    USAV
    delay warning - no card displayed - one hand held against opposite wrist. delay penalty - yellow card held against opposite wrist. 

    NFHS
    High School rules for playing volleyball say a time out is charged for unnecessary delay. If team has used both timeouts, a loss of rally results 


  9. player equipment 

    USAV
    barrettes allowed. 

    NFHS
    barrettes not allowed. 


  10. coin toss 

    USAV
    captains must attend the coin toss. Both pre-match coin toss and deciding game coin toss are for serve/receive or choice of playing area. 

    NFHS
    head coach and captain must attend. Home team selects playing area/bench for game 1 upon entering the facility. Pre-match coin toss is serve/receive only. Deciding game coin toss is serve/receive or playing area. 


  11. switch courts in deciding game 

    USAV
    yes 

    NFHS
    teams do not switch sides. 


  12. change in line up after submitted 

    USAV
    by substitution 

    NFHS
    not allowed 


  13. illegal attack signal 

    USAV
    USAV rules for volleyball signaling illegal attack is extend one arm and hand straight up from the shoulder and then bend arm at the elbow to lower the forearm and open hand in front of the face to about chin level. 

    NFHS
    place one arm to the side of the body at head height, elbow bent at a right angle, and then make a forward and downward motion with one arm from the shoulder with the forearm and hand. 


  14. signal for 3rd and 4th team contacts by same player 

    USAV
    signal "double contact" 

    NFHS
    signal "four hits"

More USAV/High School Rules for Playing Volleyball

center line characteristics

USAV
line must be solid

NFHS
may be solid or shadow-bordered 


extended attack lines

USAV
required for nationally sanctioned competitions, optional for other competitions

NFHS
not addressed 


ceiling obstructions

USAV
ball is in play above 23 feet. Judgement for replay below 23 feet

NFHS
ball is in play 


warm up area

USAV
Rules for playing volleyball state the team warm up area starts at the end of the team bench area, and must not be nearer the court than the front of the team bench 

NFHS
the warm up area must be in a non-playable area 


temperature 

USAV
minimum 50 degrees F 

NFHS
not addressed 


exposed cable 

USAV
must be clearly identified 

NFHS
must be covered 


net markings 

USAV
not specifically addressed by rule 

NFHS
not prohibited by rules 


net posts 

USAV
distance from sideline is 20 to 39 inches 

NFHS
distance from sideline is a minimum of 3 feet 


roster changes 

USAV
After roster is submitted, uniform number is correctible, but no player changes are allowed. 

NFHS
Rules for playing volleyball state a roster violation or additions result in a loss of rally. 


when rosters are due 

USAV
10 minutes prior to start of match 

NFHS
10 minutes prior to start of timed warm up 


limit to team members 

USAV
team is limited to 15 players and 5 coach/staff 

NFHS
no limit to the number of players on a team, or the number of coach/staff 


number of players 

USAV
must have 6 players to start the match. Must have 6 eligible players to continue play 

NFHS
must have 6 players to start the match. May continue with less than 6 players 


Expulsion and Disqualification 

USAV
no penalty point. Volleyball rules require disqualified team members must leave playing, bench, warmup, and spectator areas for the remainder of the match. 

NFHS
loss of rally/point is assessed when a disqualification occurs 


use of red and yellow cards 

USAV
USAV rules for playing volleyball state cards are only to be used by the first referee. 

NFHS
Cards are carried by both officials. Umpire uses cards to signal need for sanction to referee. 


number placement on uniform front 

USAV
numbers must be centered on the front of the jersey 

NFHS
either on the shoulder, or no more than 5 inches below the bottom edge of any neckline, ribbing, or seam 


libero uniform 

USAV
Volleyball Rules for the libero say the libero shorts may differ from teammates. liberos shirt must always display a visible number. 

NFHS
libero's shorts must be like-colored to teammates. Libero may have two uniform numbers, one as libero, one as non-libero. 


teams to end line at end of games 

USAV
teams do not go to end line at the end of game. Teams do go to end line at end of match 

NFHS
teams go to end line at the end of all games 


length of timeouts 

USAV
30 seconds. No warning whistle is blown. 

NFHS
60 seconds. Warning whistle is blown at 15 seconds before end. 


Time out ending early 

USAV
No 

NFHS
Yes, if both teams are ready to play. 


Multiple substitution procedure 

USAV
Rules in volleyball state that only one incoming substitute for a team can be in the substitution zone at a time. 

NFHS
all incoming substitutes may enter the substitution zone at one time. 


exceptional substitution 

USAV
doesn't count as a team substitution. Player replaced by exceptional substitution may not return to that match. 

NFHS
Counts as a team sub if fewer than 18 have been used. Player replaced by exceptional substitution may not return to that game. 


maximum team substitutions 

USAV
12 team volleyball substitutions with unlimited entries 

NFHS
18 team substitutions with unlimited entries 


illegal substitutes 

USAV
team delay sanction 

NFHS
unnecessary delay (timeout) 


libero as captain 

USAV
not allowed 

NFHS
allowed 


libero serving 

USAV
libero may not serve 

NFHS
libero may serve in one rotation in a game 


libero replacements 

USAV
A rally must always take place between two libero replacements 

NFHS
A rally must always take place between two libero replacements unless the next action the libero will take is to serve. 


toss for service 

USAV
one toss for service after the service is authorized. ball must be tossed or released before contact. 

NFHS
After the ball is released for service, it may be caught or allowed to drop to the floor to get a re-serve. 


Time allowed for service 

USAV
8 seconds 

NFHS
5 seconds 


legal contact 

USAV
In USAV rules for playing volleyball, it is legal for the ball to be played anywhere on the body. 

NFHS
In high school, the ball can only be played by a body part on or above the waist. 
(This high school rule is changing in 2009) 


contact with net cables outside of the net 

USAV
legal unless contact interferes with play or used for support 

NFHS
In high school rules for playing volleyball, contacting the cables is a net violation. 





Rules for Playing Volleyball Related Pages

Libero Rules

Referee Guidellines

College Rules

High School Changes 


› Rules for Playing Volleyball

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