Current Rule Changes

Note: The documents that are available for download below are in .pdf format, which requires Adobe Acrobat software. This software is available as a free program - if you do not have Adobe Acrobat on your computer, please click here to get it.

2015 NCAA Rule Changes

The NCAA Women's Volleyball Rules Committee has adopted a two-year cycle for rule book production and rule changes, and 2015 is not a rule change year.  The 2014-15 NCAA Rules and Interpretations book is included in the NCAA "Welcome Packet" for all PAVO members and NCAA registrants.  Additional copies can be ordered on the NCAA website:  A summary of the rule changes, clarifications and points of emphasis are listed below may be downloaded in a PDF document by clicking here. Of course, to fully understand the implementation of these points, you'll want to attend an NCAA/PAVO Clinic as part of your season preparation.  The rule modifications applicable to NAIA and NJCAA are also available - click here for a PDF.   

PAVO Women's Volleyball Officiating Manual

The PAVO Women's Volleyball Officiating Manual includes invaluable information for volleyball referees, line judges and scorers.  Protocols, techniques, and mechanics are all covered in detail.  All well-equipped officials will own this book as a complement to the rule book.  This valuable publication is published every other year in even-numbered years, and is included in the NCAA "Welcome Package" for PAVO members.   The Officiating Manual can also be purchased on the PAVO E-store

NCAA Scoresheets, Lineup Sheets & Libero Tracking Sheets

The NCAA develops scoresheets, line-up sheets and libero tracking sheets that accommodate all recent rules and techniques.  No changes were made on the scoresheets for the 2015 season.  Click here to download these PDF documents in a bundled file, free of charge.





Major Rules Changes for 2014 and 2015

Playing Surface (1.1.1)  For facilities constructed after 2016, a free zone of 3 meters (9 feet, 9 inches) is required.  Rationale:  Increases player safety and lessens the interference of fans.  This change may also allow for longer rallies with increased free space.  

Assessment of Sanctions (6.4)  Delete the sanction level of expulsion (dismissal for the remainder of the current set).  A further sanction after a penalty (red card) or the first instance of extremely offensive conduct would result in disqualification (dismissal for the remainder of the match).  Rationale: Places a greater emphasis on sportsmanship by not allow allowing coaches or players to return after being expelled.   

Rally and Completed Rally (  Modify the definition of a rally as follows:

Current definition: "A rally is the sequence of playing actions from the moment of the service contact by the server until the ball is out of play. A rally is completed when the playing actions result in a point awarded to either team."

New definition: “A rally begins from the moment of the service contact by the server until the ball is out of play. A rally is completed when a point is awarded to either team.”

Rationale: This will allow a coach the option of substituting when play is stopped to issue a penalty (red card). Prior to this change, if play was stopped to issue a penalty point, it was not considered "playing actions," so the rally was not considered "complete". A substitution would not have been allowed.

Pre-Match Warm-up Protocol (  The pre-match warm-up protocol (Table 2) may be adjusted by conference policy for the first 20 minutes (until the 40-minute mark on the clock).  The adjustment to the current protocol may only be made on a conference level and may not be used for non-conference matches.  The NCAA championships will follow the default warm-up protocol.  Rationale: This change allows conferences to alter their warm-up protocol due to facility space constraints.

Accident or Injury ( Allow coaches the option of replacing the injured libero with the player she came in for and then allow one substitution for the replacement player (only).  Rationale: For all other injured players, the coach may substitute any legal substitute. Currently, if play is stopped because the libero is injured, the coach may only return the player that the libero came in for to continue play.  This would allow the coach to replace the injured libero with the player she came in for and then allow one substitution for the replacement player.       

Solid-Colored Jersey (  The sleeve(s), and front and/or back of the jersey can each contain a single mascot and or school reference. The mascot/team reference should not exceed 3" x 5" or 4" x 4".  Rationale:  Allows for displays of school spirit while keeping the integrity of the solid-colored uniform rule. 

Player Contact with Net (15.2.1)  Contact with the net outside the antenna is legal provided it does not interfere with the play or is not used as a means of support while playing the ball.  Rationale: Allows for more consistency by officials when calling net violation and aligns with other volleyball rules codes. 

Significant Editorial Changes   

Uniform Numbers (   Uniform shirts may be numbered from “0” through “99”.

Timeout Length (11.2.2) Change the default length from 60 seconds to 75 seconds.  A timeout may be less than 75 seconds if both teams are ready to play. 

Libero Uniform ( It is not required that the libero’s shorts be identical to her teammates. 

Terminology Modification (18.4) Change the terminology from “scorekeeper” to “scorer”.


Summary of Changes and Points of Emphasis in

Officiating Techniques and Mechanics

Officials’ Arrival Time. The referees should arrive at least one hour prior to the scheduled match time, and shall be courtside 45 minutes before match time.  Line judges and scorers should be courtside 30 minutes prior to match time.

Indicating Net Fault for Player Number “0”. When a player wearing “0” commits a net fault, the referees will form an open “0” with the appropriate hand.

Ending Timeouts Early. The horn indicates the end of all timeouts.  Except for televised matches, if both teams are ready before the clock reaches “0:00”, the timeout will end with a horn.   

Officials Exit Plan. The officials should discuss their exit plan during the pre-match briefing.  This plan should be communicated with the event manager.  If there is an intermission between sets two and three, the officials will use the same exit plan, unless the intermission meeting is in a different location than the locker room. 

Intermission Warning.  If an intermission is used between sets two and three, the scoreboard operator will sound the horn at the three-minute mark.  If there is no horn, a whistle is not used as an alternative.

Deciding Set Court Switch (Televised Match).  During a televised match that has a deciding set, if a timeout has not been called by either team, the referees will administer the court switch at eight points and then sound the horn for the media timeout. 

The rules and techniques described above will be explained in detail at the NCAA/PAVO clinics, along with other points of emphasis.  Be sure to attend a clinic for a complete explanation of the rule and technique changes.  


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