MSHSAA Note:  Check this link often as new situations may be placed here throughout the season.


NFHS Volleyball Rules Interpretations for 2018-19

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 2018.

Corrections to Rules Book:  (Underlining show additions; strikethrough shows deletions)  Page 33, 8-1-6: (Signal 314);  Page 33, 8-2-6d: (Signal 314); Page 65, NFHS Official Volleyball Signals 20A:  Official's right hand should be indicating the Team Time-Out.

Corrections to Case Book and Officials Manual:  None.

SITUATION 1:  Team R is playing with five players due to injuries.  The vacant position is in center back.  The players in right back and left back switch positions before serve to put their stronger passer in left back to receive serve. The second referee signals illegal alignment.  RULING: Correct procedure .  COMMENT:  The vacant position still holds the alignment rules for the position as it rotates.  The right back and left back cannot break alignment of the vacant center back position. (Rules 6-4-3b, 6-4-5 NOTE)

SITUATION 2:  A player on Team A is severely injured during play.  The officials stop play with an official's timeout.  The coach of Team A requests a substitution for the injured player at the end of the 30 seconds, but the injured player is unable to move.  After 20 minutes of stoppage time, the player is removed from the court and the officials allow the substitution and resume play with a replay.  As the teams take their positions on the court, (a) Team A requests a lineup check; (b) Team B requests a line up check.  Both requests are granted by the second referee. RULING:  Correct procedure. COMMENT:  The second referee may grant a lineup check to assist the teams in the restart of the set after a long stoppage due to an injury or illness. (Rule 9-8-2 EXCEPTION, 11-4-1)

SITUATION 3:  On a dead ball, Team S requests a substitution (No. 4 for No. 8).  The second referee recognizes the sbustitution with a whistle and signal.  No. 4 is not ready to enter the set and significantly delays the completion of the substitution.  The second referee signals unnecessary delay (administrative yellow for first offense), then allows the substitution to be completed.  RULING:  Incorrect procedure.  COMMENT:  Once an unnecessary delay is called during a substitution, the substitution is denied and no further substitutions may be requested by the team at fault until after the next completed rally. [Rules 10-2-7b(1), 10-s PENALTIES 2]

SITUATION 4:  Team R's coach requests a substitution and the second referee recognizes the request with a whistle and signal.  The substitute is still on the bench removing warm-up shirt and tying shoes when the outgoing player and the second referee are ready to complete the substitution.  In an attempt to avoid a delay, Team R's coach withdraws the substitution.  An unnecessary delay is charged to Team R.  RULING:  Correct procedure.  COMMENT:   Once a substitution is requested and recognized by the second referee, it cannot be withdrawn.  The unnecessary delay is assessed to Team R. No substitutions may take place after the delay is assessed. [Rules 10-2-7a(2), 10-2-7b(1), 10-2 PENALTIES 2]

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 2018-19 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 only to abbreviate the third set, when played, to be completed at 15 points or 25 points.  The modification should be specified in the game contract, the officials' contract and agreed upon prior to the match.

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-K-2 of the MSHSAA Volleyball Manual)

MSHSAA Questions and Answers  

QUESTION 1:  Our varsity team plays most matches as 2-out-of-3 but we play a few as 3-out-of-5.  How many sets may a player participate in within one DAY when we play:  a) a 2-out-of-3 varsity and JV match, b) a 3-out-of-5 varsity and a 2-out-of-3 JV match?  ANSWER:  a) In the 2-out-of-3 match format, all players have a daily set limit of FOUR, to be used in any combination between levels  (freshman, junior varsity, varsity, etc.). b) When the varsity plays the 3-out-of-5 format, players that split time between varsity and JV have a daily set limit of FIVE.  Since freshman and junior varsity matches must use the 2-out-of-3 format, players that see no varsity time would still have a daily set limit of FOUR.

QUESTION 2:  How should I calculate the maximum number of volleyball sets for the season that my players who split time between JV and Varsity may participate in, so I don't allow them to exceed the maximum?  ANSWER:  When a player plays on more than one level you can calculate her maximum prior to the season starting. A player may participate in a maximum number of sets for the season that equals four times the number of dual matches (excluding tourament matche) played by the higher team on which the individual plays plus the corresponding legal number of tournaments schedule by the higher team on which the individual plays.  The match format used does not affect the calculation or the maximum.

EXAMPLE:  As allowed in By-Law 3.29.6, High School A's varsity team will be playing a schedule of 16 duals and 3 tournaments and their JV team will be playing a schedule of 18 duals and 2 tournaments.  The higher team's schedule is used for the calculation for players that split time between two levels.  Therefore, since the varsity is playing 16/3, any player switching between these levels would be limited to a total of 64 sets for dual match particiaption (16 x 4) plus unlimited participation in three tournaments over the course of the season.  The three tournaments could be varsity or junior varsity or a combination of both, but players must not participate in more than 3 tournaments (excluding districts), even if they have sets leftover within the 64.

QUESTION 3:  How should I calculate the maximum number of volleyball sets for the season for players that play on only one level - such as the junior varsity team?  ANSWER:  The calculation would work as described in the prior question and example.  In the example in the previous question, players only playing on JV would have a maximum of 72 sets (18 x 4) plus unlimited participation in their two JV tournaments.  Such JV-only players could not participate in any varsity matches or tournaments, or their season limits would change as described in the prior question.

QUESTION 4:  Our varsity team plays a few 3-out-of-5 set matches during our season.  How will this affect my player's maximum set limitation for the season?  ANSWER:  The format that your varsity plays (2-out-of-3 OR 3-out-of-5) or how many matches of each format you play will NOT affect the season set limitation or how it is calculated.  Fifth sets played in 3-out-of-5 set matches must be counted toward the total sets for each player for the season and the maximum described may not be exceeded.  Close tracking of set totals throughout the season for your players, and comparing it to the maximum which should be calculated preseaon, will help you plan as the season progresses.