Playing Rules

Updated September 1, 2023
General Rules

Florida State University does not provide accident insurance coverage for injuries received by Intramural Sports participants. Each participant should make sure that they have coverage either through family policies or the student insurance plan.

Florida State University PROHIBITS possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages on University property. Smoking and the use of smokeless tobacco is also prohibited at Campus Recreation facilities. This includes the Rec SportsPlex, Main Campus Fields, Westside Courts, and Tully Gym. Violators will be asked to leave the area. Failure to do so can result in forfeiture of the contest, suspension of individuals and/or teams, and appropriate action by the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards and/or the FSU Police.

Sport Rules

Current NADA (National Amateur Dodgeball Association) rules will govern play with the following modifications:


1. Participation is limited to currently-enrolled, fee-paying FSU students, faculty members, and full-time staff. FAMU & TCC students and members of the community are not eligible.

2. In order to participate in an intramural contest, each player must present his/her current, valid FSUCard. Check-in takes place at designated sign-in locations at the facility, not at the fields or courtside.

3. Additional information regarding player eligibility, team rosters, and participant check-in is available in the Seven Principles of Intramural Sports, available online at the FSU Intramural Sports web site and in the Intramural Sports Office at the Main Campus Fields (1001 W. St. Augustine Street). Requests for exceptions to any policy must be directed to the IM administrative staff during regular weekday business hours in the Intramural Sports Office. No exceptions are granted at the fields or courts.


1. Players can compete on only one men’s or women’s team, regardless of league.

2. Each team will consist of six (6) players. Roster size is unlimited, but only six (6) will be active players on the court at a time. Once a player has signed in for a team, that team is the player’s team of record and the player may not switch to another team.

3. All teams must have at least four (4) players to start a match and continue playing a match in the event of injury, disqualification, or ejection. Having only three (3) players at game time will result in a default; having only two (2) or less will result in a forfeit.

(Co-Rec) Co-rec teams must start each game with a minimum of two (2) players of each gender on the court. At no time may more than three (3) players of each gender be active participants on the court for a co-rec team.

4. Substitutes may elect to be active or inactive for a game. Active substitutes shall line up along the sideline at the team’s return cone to the right of the official. They will be permitted to enter the game on a catch-and-return. Inactive substitutes shall remain away from the return area and will not be permitted to join the catch-and-return line for that game.


1. Appropriate gym footwear must be worn. Cleats, boots, sandals, and flip-flops are not permitted.

2. Hats and any other headwear that has a hard bill or creates a knot-like protrusion are not permitted.

3. Jewelry, casts, or any items deemed dangerous by the official MAY NOT BE WORN during the game. This jewelry consists of any visible rings (including wedding bands), watches, necklaces, earrings, studs, bracelets, and any other such similar jewelry. Medic alert bracelets must be taped to the body or secured under clothing such as a wristband or sock to be worn during play. Each team will receive only one warning without penalty. Following the warning, any player from a warned team in the game found to be wearing prohibited equipment (jewelry, etc) will be ruled out for the game and may not reenter via a catch-and-return in the current game or for a subsequent game until the jewelry is removed.

4. Dodgeballs will be provided by the Intramural Sports staff at the game site. Each court will have their own color of dodgeballs. Only the designated color of dodgeball may be used on that court in the event of dodgeballs ending up on other courts.


1. For all leagues, the playing area shall be the normal basketball court (black lines in Tully Gym). Court lines are out-of-play.

2. Out-of-play areas include anything outside the basketball court including basketball goals, supports, walls, curtains, and the ceiling. Spectators and substitutes are out-of-play. Dodgeballs that hit out-of-play areas are immediately dead and cannot be caught for an out. Players hit with a thrown ball after it has struck an out-of-play area, out-of-play structure, or out-of-play person are not out.

3. In all leagues, each team is designated one half of the court.
A. In men’s and women’s play, each team’s area extends into the opponent’s half of the court up to the 3-meter line of the volleyball court. This will create an overlapping zone between the 3-meter volleyball lines in which participants from both teams may be legally positioned. Therefore, within the court lines, active players from each team may advance across the midcourt line and up to the 3-meter volleyball line on their opponent’s end of the court.
B. (Co-Rec) In co-rec play, all players must remain on their side of the mid-court line throughout the match. There is no overlapping zone.

4. Active, in-play players must remain inside the basketball court at all times. Active, in-play players may not leave the court, except on extremely limited occasions as described by the ball retrieval rule.

5. Outside the court in all leagues, players must remain on their side of the mid-court line (extended) when retrieving balls. Any substitutes and spectators must remain along the designated sideline and outside the designated court lines at all times. Active substitutes and inactive team members may not take a position behind the endline. Inactive substitutes and spectators must remain along the designated sideline. Substitutes and inactive team members may not cross the mid-court line anywhere on the court at anytime.


1. Each match will consist of as many games as can be played within the 30-minute time limit. For timing purposes, a new game starts as soon as the last player is put out in the previous game. Time will be kept for all matches on the overhead scoreboard.

2. Teams earn 1 point for each game won. The team which has won the most games (has the most points) when the time limit is reached shall be declared the winner of the match.

3. If a game is in progress when the time limit is reached, the team with more players & (co-rec) pins on the court will earn the point. If tied (same number of players & pins), no point is scored.

4. In the event that each team has won the same number of games (tied) at the end of regulation, an instant overtime session will be played. This rule is only applicable to playoff games.

5. For the overtime session, each team shall begin again with six (6) players and (co-rec) three (3) pins as normal. At the signal, players will continue normal play.
(All leagues) The team which first eliminates a member of the opposing team will be declared the winner.
(Co-Rec) Alternatively, the team which first knocks down a single pin of the opposing team will be declared the winner. If a team knocks over its own pin, it will immediately lose the contest.


Note: An “active player” is one who started the game for a team and has yet to be put out. An “inactive player” is one who started the game for a team and has been put out in the game.

1. The object of the game is to put out all members of the opposing team OR knock down all of the opposing team’s pins.


1. To start a game, three (3) dodgeballs are placed on the free throw line on each end of the court.
(Co-rec) Three (3) pins are placed on each end of the court in the following locations: one on each free throw lane block and one on the end line of the volleyball court (grey line in middle of basketball free throw lane).

2. The six (6) active players for each team will start outside of the basketball court (volleyball court in women’s play) with a foot on the end line. At the signal, players shall retrieve the three (3) balls on their side of the court. Once the ball is picked up, it may be thrown immediately or carried forward before being thrown.

3. A ball that is contacted in such a way that it rolls out of reach of a team and into the opponent’s side of the court may be collected and thrown immediately by the opponent.

4. Following the initial rush, dodgeballs may be collected and thrown from anywhere on the team’s side of the court. The midcourt line extends indefinitely through the gym. Retrieval of dodgeballs from outside of the court must be made on the team’s side of the midcourt line at all times.


1. A player is out when…
(1) a player is hit anywhere (including clothing) by a dodgeball that is thrown by an active opposing player and that has not touched the floor or an out-of-play area / structure, unless the player is out-of-bounds actively retrieving a ball.
(2) a player throws a ball that is legally caught by an active member of the opposing team (even after a deflection).
(3) a player commits an illegal throw.
(4) a player jumps or moves out of bounds (outside the basketball court boundary lines) while attempting to dodge a ball.
(5) a player touches any part of the opposing team’s exclusive area of the court (outside overlapping area) during ball retrieval.

2. When a player is holding a dodgeball, the dodgeball is considered an extension of the hand. The player may NOT use the dodgeball to deflect a thrown ball in an effort to shield themselves. If the deflected ball is not subsequently caught by the same person or a teammate, the person originally deflecting the ball is ruled out. (See Deflections for additional information)

3. A ball thrown by an active player remains live and able to put out an opposing player even if the thrower is subsequently put out while the ball is in the air.

4. When a player intentionally targets and hits an opponent in the head with a dodgeball at short range, the game referee shall call a technical foul on the thrower and rule the thrower out. The player hit shall be permitted to remain in the game or be replaced by a substitute immediately. Poor sporting behavior may result in player ejection. In unintentional and long range situations, players hit in the head by a dodgeball are out (Getting Out, 1(1)).

5. If there is a discrepancy between leaving the court in attempt to dodge a ball and leaving the court to retrieve a ball, the player will be called out for leaving the court while attempting to dodge a ball.

6. When a player is put out, they shall move to a position along the sideline of their team’s side of the court. No out-of-play players may take a position along the endline. If in possession of a dodgeball, one may toss or roll it to a teammate or place it on the court.

7. Team members who have been put out are considered inactive players for the game. Inactive players shall not interfere with game play on the court. Inactive players may deflect balls back into play and retrieve balls that are out-of-play, including those behind the endline. Immediately after retrieving a ball from behind the endline, the inactive players shall move to the appropriate sideline area. Retrieved balls may be tossed or rolled to a teammate or placed on the court. Inactive players may not toss a ball into the court in such a way that interferes with the game play. If interference is ruled, an active player shall be called out or (co-rec) a pin shall be removed from that team’s side of the court.


(Co-Rec) 1. A pin is considered down when…
(1) It is knocked over from the vertical position to laying on the floor.
(2) It is contacted in such a way that it remains vertical, but is positioned completely outside of the court lines.

(Co-Rec) 2. Pins may be knocked over by any method including rolling a dodgeball or otherwise being struck by a grounded dodgeball.

(Co-Rec) 3. Upright pins may not be moved or repositioned by any player once a game has begun. Violations result in the pin being removed from play.

(Co-Rec) 4. Once a pin is considered down, a team may clear it from the playing area.

(Co-Rec) 5. A team which accidentally or intentionally knocks over one of its own pins shall have that pin removed from play.


1. Players may not excessively squeeze or crush a dodgeball in an attempt to make the dodgeball more compact for throwing. In such cases, the player will be ruled out. Repeated violations will result in ejection (damaging the equipment of FSU Intramural Sports).

2. For each illegal throw, the thrower is ruled out. No illegal throw can put out an opponent. However, an illegal throw can be caught for a catch-and-return.
A. The thrower must maintain position inside the court boundaries on their side of the court — or during the open period in their designated area of the court — before, during, and after a throw. If a player steps on or over an out-of-bounds line or the designated restraining line, the throw is ruled illegal. “Suicide throws” are illegal.
B. Dodgeballs must be thrown or tossed using the hands and arms. Dodgeballs that are kicked towards an opponent, struck or spiked with an open hand or closed fist towards an opponent, are considered illegal throws.

3. Balls may not be placed on the opponent’s side of the court within the placing team’s reach. The placer shall be out.

4. Balls rolled or tossed onto the opponent’s side of the court without the intent of putting a player out must be rolled towards or tossed within the opponent’s 3-point arc. Balls rolled or tossed that do not go through this area and go out-of-bounds in the corner or out a sideline are illegal throws. The thrower / roller / tosser shall be out.

5. Balls may not be intentionally heaved outside of the court area near or onto the back bleachers. The heaver shall be out.


1. A deflection occurs when a thrown ball hits off an opposing player or airborne ball and remains in the air. Players who deflect a ball or are hit with a deflected ball are out, unless saved by a legal catch of the deflected ball.

2. All dodgeballs are live and are able to put people out until they touch the ground or any other object that is out of play and become dead. A thrown dodgeball may deflect off of multiple players, effectively putting out multiple opponents with a single throw.

(Co-Rec) 3. At all times, dodgeballs can knock over pins including off deflections or through rolling at the pin.

4. A grounded ball cannot put out a player and therefore can be safely deflected or picked up by the defending team. A ball which deflects off of another ball that is on the court or (Co-Rec) a pin is considered to have touched the floor and is not a deflected ball (immediately dead).

5. A player may deflect a ball with a dodgeball or with any part of their body in an effort to keep it from hitting the ground. If the deflected ball is legally caught by the same person who deflected the ball OR by any teammate before touching an out-of-play area or the floor, the player deflecting the ball is not declared out (saving yourself or a teammate). This action is considered a “catch save”, with all players previously hit by the airborne ball ruled safe and the thrower ruled out. If the deflected ball is not caught, the deflector is out.

(Co-Rec) 6. A ball that deflects off of a pin may NOT be caught by any player (thrower is not out, this is not a catch-and-return for an inactive player).

7. Deflections off of an opponent that return to the thrower’s side of the court are considered immediately dead (for purposes of eliminating players) when they completely cross the appropriate restraining line. Any opposing players hit by the deflected ball are out. The throwing team may immediately catch or retrieve and rethrow the ball. Such deflections may knock over one or more of the thrower’s team’s pins.


1. A thrown dodgeball that is legally caught by an active, in-play member of the opposing team before it has struck an out-of-play area, the floor, or a teammate will result in the thrower being declared out AND the return of the first teammate in the catch-and-return line for the team, if that team has less than six (6) active players on the court. At no time shall more than six (6) players be actively participating on the court for a team. There are no stored catch-and-returns. Players returning as a result of a catch-and-return shall immediately return to the court from anywhere along their team’s sideline (subject to being hit and re-put out immediately upon returning to the court with both feet in-bounds).

(Co-Rec) In a co-rec game, when a ball is caught by an active player, a member of the underrepresented gender must be the player to return to the court. If both genders have the same number of active players on the court, the first player in the catch-and-return line shall return. For example, when a team has two males and one female active on the court at the time of a legal catch, the player who returns to the court must the first female in the catch-and-return line.

2. Any airborne ball that has deflected off of a player may be legally caught by that player or by a teammate(s). This is a “catch save.” The catcher is safe and any players hit prior to the catch are also safe (save your teammate(s)). The thrower is out and catch-and-return applies for the catching team.

3. A ball that deflects off of another airborne ball can be caught to put out the thrower. Catch-and-return applies in this case.

4. A legal catch for an active, in-play player occurs when:
(1) the catcher begins the catching action entirely inbounds (entire body including both feet)
(2) catches a ball that has not yet deflected off of another player or out-of-bounds object
(3) the catcher remains inbounds throughout any movement which follows the catch and establishes a stationary position inbounds while still in possession of the ball (ball may not be tossed to another player).

5. If a player begins a catch inbounds, catches the ball, but they subsequently step on or over an out-of-bounds line, or falls out-of-play, the catch is nullified. The catcher is ruled OUT for stepping out of bounds. The catcher is OUT regardless and cannot return via the catch-and-return rule as they began the catch as an active player. The thrower is safe as this is not a legal catch. All in-play catches must be completed inbounds.

6. If a player is holding a ball or multiple balls and attempts to catch another thrown ball, the player must maintain possession of all balls including the thrown ball to complete a legal catch. If any of the balls are dropped, it is considered a dropped catch and the failed catcher is ruled out.

7. An out-of-bounds catch following a deflection does not save that player. Thus, the player that the ball deflected off of is still out. This is not a legal catch by an out-of-bounds player (deflected ball) and therefore does NOT constitute a catch-and-return.

8. Players may not lift or support their teammates in catching a thrown ball.


1. When obviously hit by a legally thrown dodgeball or one’s thrown ball is obviously legally caught by another player, the player that is out shall move to the sideline without waiting for a ruling from the referee. Should the game referee be required to call a player out on an obvious put out, that player shall be called for a technical foul and not be permitted to participate in the team’s next game of the match.

2. If a player is called for a technical foul, they are considered out for the current game and may not participate in any catch-and-return opportunities AND the player may not participate in the next game AND the team will compete with one less player as a maximum throughout that game (usually 5-on-6).

3. For a second violation, the player shall be disqualified from all further participation in the match AND the team will compete with one less player a maximum in its next game in the match before returning to full strength, if a substitute is available.

4. This rule does not apply to non-obvious put outs or other strange plays at the discretion of the referee.


1. When there are no available substitutes (for teams with more than 6 players) or no inactive players (those which have been put out) available (for teams with 6 or fewer players) for a team, active players on the court will be permitted to leave the court to retrieve dodgeballs. However, only one player at a time is permitted to leave the court at a time when retrieving dodgeballs if all 6 players are active and there are no substitutes or inactive players.

2. When there is at least one (1) inactive player or active substitute, active players will be PROHIBITED from leaving the court to retrieve dodgeballs. Substitutes and Inactive players will serve as ball retrievers at all times.

3. During the limited period when all starters are active, players who leave the court to retrieve a ball are not eligible to be put out. Players shall return to the court immediately once they have retrieved the ball. Excessive delays are prohibited.

4. Active players may not go across the restraining line (3-meter line in men’s and women’s and mid-court line in co-rec) for any reason. A player may reach across the designated restraining line and grasp a ball, but may not touch the opposing team’s exclusive area of the court with any part of their body during retrieval.

5. Outside of the court, inactive players and active substitutes may not go across the mid-court line (and the mid-court line extended out from the court) at any time.

6. Under no circumstances may a spectator pick up a dodgeball or otherwise try to help retrieve a ball for their team. If anyone other than the active or inactive players or registered substitutes of the respective teams (the 6 starters or active substitutes) involved in the game grabs a dodgeball or impedes the progress of a member of the opposing team in ball retrieval, that dodgeball immediately becomes forfeited to the opponent. Spectators should always make their best attempt to get out of the way of the thrown dodgeballs and allow easy access for the players to get to them to retrieve them.

7. If three (3) or more balls become unretrievable, play may be stopped and all dodgeballs retrieved and moved onto the court. Balls shall be distributed evenly among teams (an even number per team regardless of the number of players remaining for a team).


1. If at any time, a team has all six (6) dodgeballs on its side of the court, it shall be required to roll or toss one ball to the opponent’s side of the court. The roll shall be directed towards the 3-point area of the court and must be rolled or tossed with enough force to pass unaided over the end line.

2. Teams and players must be actively involved and engaged in the game, either by attempting to put out other players, shooting shots, or retrieving balls. Regardless of the number of balls in team possession, inactivity including excessive rolling or heaving of balls without the intent to put out an opponent is considered poor sporting behavior and may result in the stoppage of play by a site supervisor and forfeiture of the match to the opponent.

3. The game referee shall issue a warning to a team that is engaged in stalling. If the game referee determines that stalling continues after the warning, the game referee will end the game and award the point to the opposing team. A new game will follow, time permitting. If a second game is ended due to stalling by the same team, that team will forfeit the overall match. There is no appeal for stalling violations.

4. If a double stall (each team) is called, the game will be ended with no points scored. If a double stall is called on 2 occasions during a match, the match may be ended as a double forfeit for the participating teams failing to play within the spirit of the rules.

5. If a game ends during the final timed minute of a match, the overall match score is within a point (i.e. 4-3 or 3-2), and it is determined that the team leading is stalling to avoid starting an additional game, the game referee may require the teams to play an instant overtime session style game as a penalty to the stalling team. If the losing team wins and ties the match score, a second instant overtime game will be played to determine the overall match winner.



The following rule variations apply in addition to the standard dodgeball rules listed above.

1. Extreme Dodgeball is played in the racquetball courts at the Leach Recreation Center and is self-officiated.

2. Matches are two 15-minute halves with a brief halftime.

3. Each match will consist of as many games as can be played within this time limit.

4. Games are to be kept track of by the players and then reported to the supervisor on duty upon completion of the 30-minute match.


1. Extreme Dodgeball is an open league played 3-on-3.

2. There are NO headshots. The thrower is out should they hit an opponent in the head.

3. If an opponent catches the ball, the thrower is out. Upon catching a ball, a teammate of the catcher can now step back into the field of play.

4. A player is out if they are hit with a ball anywhere below the shoulders.

5. Any ball that is thrown and touches the floor or wall before touching a player is considered dead.

6. If a ball is thrown and a player attempts to catch the ball, but it hits off them and bounces off the wall that player is out, and the ball is dead.

7. Any player that uses the ball to deflect a throw is out. The ball is an extension of the arm of the player.

8. If you are out, stand in the corners of the racquetball courts or against the wall at the halfcourt line.


Sporting Behavior violations, cheating, and other blatant rule violations will not be tolerated. The Intramural Sports staff (site supervisors or administrative staff) reserves the right to stop any match at any time and disqualify one or both teams for such violations.

1. When a single team is facing disqualification, an instant appeal to the disqualified team’s opponent will occur when a single team is disqualified. The match-site team captain of the opposing team may select to take the awarded victory or continue playing the match.

2. When both teams are facing disqualification, the IM staff will meet with both team captains to determine if the match shall continue.

The match clock will continue to run during all disqualification proceedings and discussions. There is no appeal of a double disqualification or any further appeal of a single disqualification (no postgame protest or office appeal). ​


1. The mission of Intramural Sports is to provide a recreational environment for the University community which is safe and enjoyable. While the game atmosphere is often competitive, ensuring participant safety, providing a fun, social atmosphere, and promoting good sporting behavior behavior among participants, spectators, and team followers are our primary concerns. The game atmosphere should remain good-natured at all times. Participants shall maintain good sporting behavior throughout their participation in all facets of the intramural program.

2. The Sporting Behavior Rating System is intended to be an objective scale by which teams’ attitude and behavior can be assessed throughout the intramural sports league and playoff seasons. Behavior before, during, and after an intramural sports contest is included in the rating. The team captain is responsible for educating and informing all players and spectators affiliated with his/her team about the system.

3. A team is responsible for the actions of the individual team members and spectators related to it. Additionally, FSU Intramural Sports does not recognize the use of coaches. Only the team captain shall speak to the officials regarding administrative matters (protests, ejections, disqualifications, etc). Furthermore, the team captain’s efforts in assisting officials/staff to calm difficult situations and to restrain troubled teammates are key to controlling team conduct.

4. Good sporting behavior is vital to the conduct of every Intramural contest. In order to encourage proper conduct during games, officials, administrative personnel, and supervisors shall make decisions on whether to warn, penalize or eject players or teams for poor sporting behavior. These decisions are final. The Intramural Sports administrative staff will rule on further penalties as a result of a sporting behavior conduct penalty.

5. Each participant should choose his or her team members carefully, as all team members will suffer the consequences of any disciplinary action taken by the Intramural Sports staff against that team for violation of the intramural rules and sporting behavior guidelines. Protests or appeals of sporting behavior ratings will not be recognized. The Intramural Sports administrative staff reserves the right to review any rating given to a team.

6. Additional information regarding team and participant sporting behavior including the rating method, factors, and scale is available in the Sporting Behavior Principle of the Seven Principles of Intramural Sports, available online at the FSU Campus Recreation web site.