NFHS Volleyball Rules Interpretations for 2022-23

Publisher's Note:  The National Federation of State High School Associations is the only source of official high school interpretations. They do not set aside nor modify any rule.  They are made and published by the NFHS in response to situations presented.  Dr. Karissa L. Niehoff, Publisher, NFHS Publications Copyright 2022.

2022-23 NFHS Volleyball Rules Book Correction:  (Underlining show additions; strikethrough shows deletions.)  Page 2, 2022-23 Volleyball Rules Changes:  10-2-1a; 11-2-1; Page 42, 10-2-1a - The head coach or playing captain may verbally request or visually signal...; Page 56, COMMENTS ON THE 2022-23 RULES CHANGES - 10-2-1a; 11-2-1. 

SITUATION 1:  During team warmups; the officials notice a player on Team A wearing plastic beads at the end of hair braids.  The braids, pulled back in a ponytail and secured with an elastic hair tie, (a) extend down the player's back swaying back and forth as the player moves; (b) fall above the player's shoulders moving within the plane of the player's shoulders.  RULING: (a) illegal, (b) legal. .  COMMENT:  Hair-control devices that are securely fastened and do not present a risk of injury to the player, teammates or opponents are permitted.   In situation (a), the official shall notify the coach of Team A and allow the player to make the equipment legal by securing the beads closer to the head and within the plane of the shoulders to minimize risk of injury from swinging beads.  (4-1-6)

SITUATION 2:  No. 5 on Team R is struck in the head by a hard-hit attack and immediately displays signs and symptoms of a concussion (loss of balance, dizziness and confusion).  The R1 calls an injury time-out.  The R2 explains to the head coach of Team R that No. 5 must be removed from the contest and will not be able to return to play until cleared by an appropriate health-care professional.  RULING:  Correct procedure. COMMENT:  When an athlete exhibits signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion, that athlete shall be immediately removed from the contest and shall not return to play until cleared by an appropriate health-care professional.  The officials are not to diagnose injuries, but to remove the athlete and notify the coach.  Allow the health-care professional to determine the outcome of the injury. (5-4-3c(18), 5-6-3i, 10-3-5, 11-4-1, NFHS Suggested Guidelines for Management of Concussion, Appendix B)

MSHSAA Situations/Clarifications

SITUATION 1:  Missouri schools shall utilize two line judges in all interscholastic play.  Schools are strongly encourage to use adults in these positions.  The line judges are considered game personnel under NFHS Volleyball Rule 5-1-1 along with the official scorer, libero tracker and timer.  By state association adoption, each school shall be responsible for providing one line judge to officiate all levels of volleyball matches.  Line judges may use flags.   (See 2022-23 MSHSAA Volleyball Rules Meeting Announcements)

SITUATION 2:  The MSHSAA Board of Directors approved a state association adoption per rule 1-2-2 of the NFHS Volleyball Rules Book to allow schools the option for sub-varsity level (i.e. junior high, freshman, junior varisty only) dual matches and tournaments to abbreviate the third set, when played, to be completed at 15 points or 25 points.  If schools cannot agree, the 3rd set shall be played to 25 points.  The modification should be specified in the game contract, the officials' contract and agreed upon prior to the contest.  (Section 2-I of the MSHSAA Volleyball Manual)  This state adoption does not extended to varsity level tournaments.   

SITUATION 3:  B-Team Abbreviated Match Modification - At the junior high level it would be permissible for the B team dual matches only to play one set, not a complete match, if there are not enough players with sets remaining as per the individual daily set limits in By-Law 3.25.1b for dual competition.  All NFHS volleyball match playing rules must be followed.  The modification should be specified in the game contract, the officials' contract and agreed upon by both schools prior to the date of the match. (See Section 1-L-2 of the MSHSAA Volleyball Manual)

SITUATION 4:  The MSHSAA Board of Directors approved a state association adoption per rule 9-1-2 of the NFHS Vol leyball Rules Book for teams to remain on the same benches throughout the match.  In the event there is a clear and distinct disadvantage, teams may switch sides.  Officials shall determine if a disadvantage is present. (Section 1-H of the MSHSAA Volleyball Manual)  

MSHSAA Questions and Answers  

QUESTION 1:  Team A is playing at home and there is a) a permanently mounted basketball goal on one side of the gym, that hangs over the playing court on one end; b) sunlight coming through the windows on one side of the court.  These would be considered clear and distinct disadvantages during the match and officials should allow team to switch courts between sets.  ANSWER:  a) Yes; b) No.  COMMENT:  In example b) the sun will go down as the match continues so this is not an example of a clear, distinct disadvantage throughout the match.

QUESTION 2:  Schools are playing a varsity tournment using the best of 3 format for bracket play.  The head coach from both teams decide they want to play the 3rd set to 15 points instead of 25 points. Is this allowed at the varsity level?  ANSWER:  No.  COMMENT:  At the varsity level the match must be played according to NFHS Volleyball Rules.  The third set must be played to 25 points, win by two.