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 National Federation (High School) 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 in 1035 Tully Gym. 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 classification. In addition, players may compete for one co-rec team as well.

2. Six (6) players constitutes a team. All players must present their valid FSUCard at the game site to sign-in to participate. A team must have 4 players to start a game. Players who arrive late may be added to the roster and may enter the game at a dead-ball situation.

3. Team rosters will be formed based on the players who compete in the team’s first regular season game (sign-in at the courts on the night of the game). Additions may be made to the roster at any time throughout the season and during the playoffs. New players will become part of a team’s roster when they sign-in at a subsequent game. No player may participate on more than one team, unless his/her second team is a co-rec team.

4. Substitutions may only take place during a dead ball. A substitute must be from the serving team and shall enter into the rotation in the serving position only (exception: injury). A substitute must enter the game before the serve. Once a substitute has entered the game, they must play through the entire rotation and back to the service position before being removed from the game. There is no limit to the number of individual entries or team substitutions in any one game. Substitution is not “person for person”.

5. If a player becomes injured and cannot continue playing immediately, they must leave the court. If a team desires to have that player remain in the game, and if the player cannot continue immediately, that team must use a charged time-out.


1. Volleyballs are available for check-out from sign-in staff at the lobby participant sign-in table.

2. The court shall be regulation size with a net height of 7′ 11″ for men’s matches, 7′ 9″ for co-rec matches, and 7′ 4″ for women’s matches.

3. All players must wear shoes. Tennis shoes and soft-soled shoes are permitted. Shoes should have non-marking soles.

4. Jewelry is NOT allowed to be worn by any participant during an intramural event. This jewelry consists of any visible rings (including wedding bands), watches, necklaces, earrings, studs, bracelets, and any other such similar jewelry. Claw clips are also not permitted to be worn during play. Medic alert bracelets must be taped to the body or secured under clothing such as a wristband or sock to be worn during play. A player is subject to ejection for failure to remove any jewelry after first warning.

5. Spectators are permitted only behind the end line or in bleachers, when provided. No spectators shall be positioned between courts.


1. Match time is forfeit time. A team needs at least 4 legal players to begin the match. Any team that forfeits a match will not be eligible for the playoffs. If the forfeiting team wants to play the rest of their regular season matches, they must come into the Intramural Sports Office by noon the next working day to present their case.

2. All matches will be best 2 of 3 games.

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.
A. In the first and second games, the game will be won when one team has scored 30 points and has at least a 2-point advantage over the opponent. No game shall exceed 32 points. If the teams are tied at 31-31, the next point scored will determine the winner.
B. The third and final game will be won when one team has scored 15 points and has at least a 2-point advantage over the opponent. There will be no cap on points in the third game.

4. The choice of serve or playing area shall be decided by a coin toss by the referees between the designated captains of each team before the first game. If more than one game is played, the team not serving first in the previous game of the match shall serve first in the next game. A coin is tossed again if a third and deciding game is needed.

5. Two 30-second time-outs will be allowed per team per game. The time-outs may be used consecutively, if needed.
A. First request for a third time-out in a game results in a yellow card (warning) and subsequent requests result in a red card (point).


1. At the instant the ball is hit for service, the server may not be in contact with the endline, the court, or the floor outside the two lines marking the service area. The server may stand on or between the two lines or their extensions which mark the service area. The service area spans the entire endline. All other players must have both feet inside the court.

2. A served ball is dead if it is hit illegally or before the referee has signaled to begin service. The ball must be hit with one hand. An illegally hit serve results in loss of service. If the ball is served before the referee signals for service, a re-serve results, on the first infraction only.

3. A server is given 5 seconds to contact the ball for service after the referee’s first whistle.

4. A server will be allowed one release and drop per service term.

5. A served ball is dead and a point is awarded if the ball crosses the net entirely outside the antenna, touches the antenna, touches the ceiling, or any obstruction, lands on the floor on the server’s side of the net, passes under the net, or lands outside of the opponent’s court. A serve that touches the net and continues over to the opponent’s side of the court is a legal serve and the ball is in play.

6. The team which receives the ball for service after a sideout shall rotate clockwise before serving.
(This includes a team’s first service in a game after their opponent’s first serve).

7. At the time the ball is served, the players of each team must be within their respective court positions.
A. No center position player may be nearer the sideline than that respective sideline player.
B. No backline player may be nearer the net than the corresponding front line player.
C. Center Back may completely overlap the right back when right back is serving as long as center back does not act as a screen.
D. All players except the server must be within the court as the ball is served. After the ball is hit for the serve, players may move from their respective positions.
(The position of players is judged according to the position of their feet in contact with the floor at the time the ball is contacted for service.)

8. At the moment of service it is illegal for players of the serving team to wave their arms, jump, or form groups of two or more players for the purpose of forming a screen to conceal the action of the server. The referee will be the sole judge of this action which does not have to be deliberate to be a fault.

9. A player may not attack or block a serve. The action is illegal as soon as contact is made regardless of the player’s position on the court or whether the ball is returned to the opponents.


1. An attack occurs when, at the moment of the player’s contact, the ball is entirely higher than the top of the net and such contact directs the ball towards the opponent’s side of the net.

2. A player may not reach over the net to attack the ball. A player may reach over the net during the follow through after a spike, or during a block on a team’s attack or third team hit.

3. Only front row players may take part in a completed solo or collective block.

4. Back row players may not participate in a completed solo or collective block, nor may a back row player attack the ball above the height of the net in front of the 3-meter line.

5. If two teammates contact the ball simultaneously, this is considered one contact, and either of the players may make the next play on the ball. (This does not include action on block attempts.)

6. Players may have successive contacts of the ball during a single attempt to make the first team hit of the ball coming from their opponents (includes serves). Even if the ball is blocked, provided there is no finger action used during the effort and the ball is not held or thrown.

7. If two opposing players contact the ball simultaneously above the net, either may play the ball on the next hit for the first of their team’s three hits. If the ball visibly comes to rest during simultaneous contacts by opposing players, the referee will direct a replay. The player on the side opposite the projected flight after a simultaneous contact is considered to have contacted it last.

8. The net may not be touched by a player while the ball is alive. If the ball is driven into the net with such force as to cause the net to contact an opponent, such contact shall not be considered a fault. Inadvertent contact of the net by the hair may be overlooked by the official.

9. The lines are considered part of the court; thus any part of the ball hitting a line is inbounds.

10. A player may be on the centerline and over the line as long as some part of their encroaching foot remains in contact with the line. Contact with any other part of a player’s body with the opponent’s side of the court during play constitutes a fault.

11. A player may go outside the court and may cross the extension of the centerline, but if playing the ball, the ball must not be completely across the centerline extension. Players may not enter another court that is being used to play a ball.

12. Any attempt to distract a player by yelling, stomping the feet, or distracting action will result in a sporting behavior conduct penalty and a red card (point) given.

13. A ball is dead if:
A. It touches the floor.
B. It hits the antenna.
C. The ball becomes lodged or momentarily comes to rest on any obstruction over the court.
D. It is whistled dead by an official for any reason.

14. Any ball that has been caused by your team to strike the ceiling or ceiling fixtures on your half of the court may be played again by your team provided that the third hit has not already occurred. The hit on the ceiling does not count as one of your team’s three allowed contacts.

15. A ball may not be held, lifted, pushed, thrown, or carried at any time. Using an open hand to contact the ball in an underhand motion or to direct the ball forward from behind the head with an open hand usually constitutes a lift or carry.

16. A double foul occurs when players on opposing teams commit rule infractions at the same instant. The ball will be re-served by the serving team.


1. Team Composition
A team is composed of six (6) players, three (3) men and three (3) women. Play may start with no less than four (4) players, two (2) men and two (2) women. A team may also play with 5 players. At no time may there be more than three (3) players of a gender on the court for a team. Therefore, the only legal combinations are 3 males + 3 females, 3 males + 2 females, 2 males + 3 females, and 2 males + 2 females. Substitutions may only take place as a male for male or female for female.

2. Positioning & Serve
In court positioning (service rotation), males and females must alternate positions; therefore, they must also alternate serving. On the serve, any legal technique may be used.

3. Contacts
Each team may have three (3) contacts on its side of the net. For Co-Rec Competitive/Advanced League there are no further restrictions. For Co-Rec Recreational/Beginner League the following apply. If the ball is returned on one contact, either a male or a female may contact the ball. If, however, two (2) or three (3) contacts are required, a member of each gender must be part of the contacts. If a ball is returned over the net to the opponent with 2+ contacts not involving both genders, a co-rec violation will be called and a point awarded to the opposing team.

4. Male Restrictions
(Co-Rec Competitive/Advanced) There are no restrictions on male players regarding attacking or blocking the ball.

(Co-Rec Recreational/Beginner) At all times whether starting the play as a front or back row player, male players may attack the ball only from behind the 3-meter attack line. Male players may not break the plane of the net when blocking. Violations of this rule result in a co-rec violation being called and a point awarded to the opposing team.


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 sporting 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. 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 behavior. These decisions are final. The Intramural Sports administrative staff will rule on further penalties as a result of unsporting conduct.

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.