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 he/she has 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 USA Volleyball 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. LINES ON THE COURT: Boundary lines consist of two sidelines and two end lines which mark the playing court. The center line divides the playing court into two square team courts, but is not marked. All lines are considered to extend indefinitely. It is the players’ responsibility to assure that all lines are in their proper location prior to the start of each play. Lines moved during play do not cause the rally to stop. If it cannot be determined whether a ball lands in bounds or out of bounds, it is a replay.

2. SERVICE ZONE: The service zone is behind the end line and between the extension of the sidelines and extends to the end of the free zone.


1. Doubles: 2 players on the court per team, no more than 3 on the roster. Triples: 3 players on the court per team, no more than 5 on the roster. Four-person: 4 players on the court per team, no more than 6 on the roster. Six-person: 6 players on the court per team, no more than 12 on the roster.

2. The required number of players to begin a match shall be two (2) in doubles and triples, three (3) in four-person, and four (4) in six-person play.

3. In co-rec play, mixed doubles is one (1) player of each gender. Mixed triples includes at least one (1) player of each gender. In four-person, two (2) players of each gender are required. In six-person co-rec play, three (3) players of each gender are required. In open play, there are no gender restrictions. No more than 2 of one gender can play on the court at one time.

4. The captain is the one player who represents their team in dealings with the officials.

5. Unlimited substitutions are allowed as long as one player does not occupy more than one position in the service order during a single game. Abnormal substitutions may be allowed in case of injury.


1. A player’s clothing must be presentable and appropriate for the competition. Players on the same team are permitted to wear clothing of different colors and designs. Players may wear hats, visors or sunglasses at their own risk.

2. Players may play barefoot, in socks or in booties. Shoes may be worn but they cannot have any type of nonflexible cleats or spikes.

3. It is forbidden to wear any objects that may cause an injury to a player, such as jewelry, pins, bracelets, casts, etc. Players may wear glasses at their own risk.

4. Participants must behave respectfully and courteously in the spirit of fair play towards the IM staff, teammates, opponents and spectators. They must refrain from actions aimed at delaying the game or taking unfair advantage. In case of doubt, clarification may be requested.


1. Matches may either consist of a single game, or best 2 out of 3 games. A team wins a match by winning one or two games, respectively.

2. Game scoring will be as follows, depending on the match format:
a. One game match: 30 points, win by 2, no cap.
b. Best 2-of-3 match: 1st and 2nd game: 21 points, win by 1, 21-20 wins game. 3rd game (if needed): 11 points, win by 2, no cap.

3. All games will use the rally scoring system with a point awarded on each service regardless of which team served. Points are scored on side-outs with serve also changing sides.


1. Before the warm-up in the first game and before each deciding game, players will conduct a game of “rock, paper, scissors” to determine service and side. The winner of the coin toss chooses either: to select to serve or receive service of the first ball or the side of the court on which to start the game. The loser takes the remaining alternative and, for the second game in a 2 out of 3 match, gets to select from the above choices.

2. ROTATION ORDER: The rotation order specified by the starting lineup must be maintained throughout the game. (There is an exception for doubles).

3. PLAYERS’ POSITIONS AT THE TIME OF SERVICE (2,3,4) Players may be anywhere within their court. (6) Same overlap rules as indoor play. See the IM Volleyball Rules for specifics.

a. BALL IN (OR IN BOUNDS): A ball is in when its first contact with the ground is on the playing court or a boundary line.

b. BALL OUT (OR OUT OF BOUNDS): The ball is out when: its first contact with the ground is completely outside the playing court, and it does not cause boundary lines to move; it completely crosses the net outside the posts or under the net after the attacking team’s third contact; or it touches an object out of play.

a. TEAM CONTACTS: Each team is entitled to a maximum of three contacts to return the ball to the opponents. A player may not contact the ball two times consecutively except during or after blocking or at the team’s first contact. Blocking constitutes a team contact. However, any player may make the first contact of the ball after the block. Therefore, the blocker may contact the ball twice in a row (block + next contact).

b. SIMULTANEOUS CONTACTS: If two opponents simultaneously and instantaneously contact the ball over the net, the ball remains in play and the team receiving the ball is entitled to another three hits. If such a ball lands out of bounds, it is the fault of the team on the opposite side of the net from where the ball lands. (2,3) A joust occurs when players of opposing teams cause the ball to come to rest above the net through simultaneous contact. A joust is not a fault and play continues as if the contact was instantaneous.

c. ASSISTED HIT: A player is not permitted to take support from a teammate or any object in order to reach the ball. However, a player who is about to commit a fault may be stopped or held back by a teammate.

d. CHARACTERISTICS OF CONTACT: A player may touch the ball with any part of the body. A player may have successive contacts with the ball during a single attempt to make the team’s first contact with the ball, provided that the fingers are not used to direct the ball. The ball must be contacted cleanly and not held (including lifted, pushed, caught, carried or thrown). The ball cannot roll or come to rest on any part of a player’s body. (2,3) An exception is allowed during the defensive play of a hard-driven ball, which is an attack-hit or blocked ball traveling at a high rate of speed. In that case, the ball may be momentarily lifted or pushed, providing that the attempt is one continuous motion and the player does not change the direction of the motion while contacting the ball. A contact of the ball with two hands, using the fingers to direct the ball, is a set. A player may set the ball in any direction towards his/her team’s court, provided that the ball is contacted simultaneously by both hands and does not visibly come to rest. Rotation of the ball after the set may indicate a held ball or multiple contacts during the set, but in itself is not a fault. A legal set directed towards a teammate that unintentionally crosses the net is not a fault, regardless of the player’s body position. (2,3) If the ball is intentionally set into the opponent’s court, the player must contact the ball above his/her shoulders and must direct the ball perpendicular to the direction his/her shoulders are facing. (2,3,4) When contacting the ball with one hand, it must be cleanly hit with the heel or palm of the hand (a roll shot), with straight, locked fingertips (a cobra), knurled fingers (a camel toe) or the back of the hand from the wrist to the knuckles. One-handed placement or redirection of the ball with the fingers (a dink or open hand tip) is a fault.

a. BALL CROSSING THE NET: A ball directed to the opponent’s court must go over the net within the crossing space limited as follows: Below, by the top of the net, the sides, by the posts and their imaginary extensions, and above, by any structure or obstacle.

b. ALL TOUCHING THE NET: The ball may touch the net while crossing the net including during the service. A serve that touches the net is NOT a fault.

c. BALL IN THE NET: A ball driven into the net may be recovered within the limits of the three team contacts.

a. REACHING BEYOND THE NET: While blocking, a player may touch the ball beyond the net, provided they do not interfere with the opponent’s play, before or during the attack-hit. A player is permitted to pass his/her hand(s) beyond the net after an attack-hit, provided that the contact was made within his/her team’s playing space. Within the limits of the three team contacts, a player may contact a ball that has crossed the net below the net (or outside the posts) in an attempt to recover a ball that has not been contacted by the opponents. The recovered ball must cross the net below the net (or outside the posts).

b. PENETRATION INTO OPPONENT’S PLAYING AREA: Players may partially or completely cross the center line below the net or outside the poles, either before, during or after a legal play of the ball, provided that this does not interfere with the opponent’s play. Incidental contact with an opponent is ignored, unless such contact interferes with the opponent’s opportunity to play the ball. While opposing players are not required to avoid the ball or the player, they cannot intentionally interfere with any legal attempt to play the ball on their court. If a player crosses the center line and interferes with an opponent during the continuation of a play, it is a fault.

c. CONTACT WITH THE NET OR POSTS: It is a fault for a player or a player’s clothing to touch any part of the net. Exceptions are: Incidental contact of the net by a player’s hair or If a player’s hat, visor or glasses fall off during play and then contacts the net When a ball is driven into the net or the wind blows the net and causes the net to touch a player, no fault is committed. Once a player has contacted the ball, the player may touch the posts, ropes or any other object outside the total length of the net, provided that it does not interfere with play.

a. DEFINITION: The service (or serve) is the act of putting the ball into play by the serving player in the service zone.

b. SERVICE ORDER: If the serving team wins the rally or a replay is directed, the player who served the previous rally serves again. If the serving team loses the rally, the next server on the receiving team serves the ball. (2) If a player is discovered serving out of order, that player continues to serve with no loss of points. The opposing team remains in their service order, but the offending team will reverse their original order of service to ensure that no player will serve three consecutive terms of service. Excessive misuse of this privilege is poor sporting behavior.

c. AUTHORIZATION OF SERVICE: It is the responsibility of the server to assure that both teams are ready for service. A player on the receiving team may stop play when not ready for a service as long as no attempt to play the ball is made. In this case, the rally is canceled and replayed. Misuse of this privilege is poor sporting behavior.

d. EXECUTION OF SERVICE: The server may move freely behind the end line. At the moment of the service or take-off for service, the server must not touch the ground outside the service zone. The player’s foot may not go under a boundary line. After the service contact, the player may land on the court or outside the service zone. The server contacts the ball with one hand or any part of the arm after clearly tossing or releasing theball and before the ball touches the playing surface.

e. SERVICE ATTEMPT: If the server releases the ball for service but does not attempt to complete the service motion, a replay will take place. A player may only receive one such replay during anyone term of service.

f. SCREENING: The server’s teammates must not prevent the opponents, through screening, from seeing the server or the path of the ball. On an opponent’s request, a player must move sideways, bend over or bend down.

a. DEFINITION: All actions to direct the ball towards the opponent’s playing area, except in the act of serving and blocking, are considered to be attack-hits. An attack-hit is completed the moment the ball completely crosses the vertical plane of the net or is touched by a blocker. A player may contact an attack-hit at any height, provided that contact with the ball is made within the player’s own playing space.

b. ATTACK-HIT FAULTS: It is a fault when a player completes an attack-hit on the opponent’s service, if the ball is entirely above the height of the net

a. DEFINITION: Blocking is the action of player(s) close to the net to deflect the ball coming from the opponent by reaching above the height of the net.

b. HITS BY THE BLOCKER: The first hit after the block may be executed by any player, including the player who touched the ball at the block.

c. BLOCK WITHIN THE OPPONENT’S SPACE: In blocking, the player may place his/her hands and arms beyond the net provided that action does not interfere with the opponent’s play. The player is not permitted to touch the ball beyond the net until the opponent has made an attack-hit.

d. BLOCKING CONTACT: A blocking contact is counted as a team hit. The blocking team will have two hits after a blocking contact. Consecutive, quick and continuous contacts may occur by one or more blockers, provided that these contacts are made during one blocking action. (2,3,4) There are no restrictions on which players may participate in a block. (6) Back row players may not participate in a block. (CR) Male players may not participate in a block.


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.