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DIII men's volleyball rules modified

By Greg Johnson

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel during an Aug. 16 conference call approved several rules clarifications in Division III men’s volleyball, including not allowing the libero to serve.

The Division III Men’s Volleyball Committee, which administered the inaugural Division III Men’s Volleyball Championship in April 2012, had recommended several adjustments to align with the playing rules used in NCAA National Collegiate competition going forward.

Rather than appoint a separate playing rules committee as is done in several other NCAA sports, NCAA men’s volleyball programs play using USA Volleyball Domestic Competition Regulations, with some modifications. With one season now under its belt, the Division III Men’s Volleyball Committee reviewed playing rules in Division III to make sure they align whenever possible with the modifications adopted for National Collegiate competition.

In addition to not allowing the libero to serve, the following adjustments also were approved:

  • Timeouts were adjusted from 30 to 60 seconds, with a 15-second warning whistle.
  • The centerline rule was clarified to allow encroachment into the opponent’s court with feet or hands, provided that some part of the player remains in contact with or directly above the centerline, and there is no interference with opponents. That rule also aligns with NCAA women’s volleyball.
  • Players are allowed to pursue a ball beyond the court as long as the play does not extend into the bleachers.
  • Reserve players are allowed to use balls to warm up with during timeouts in the free zone of the court. This affords players an opportunity to be properly warmed up for substitution purposes. Attacking between sets onto the team’s own court also is permitted. This allows players who have not entered the match the opportunity to properly warm up between sets.


The panel also approved a change that permits only International Shooting Sport Federation Phase I electronic targets to be used for air rifle (10 meters) and smallbore (50 feet) in NCAA competition.

Additionally, all ties should be broken using the USA Shooting Rule 6.14. If there is not a shoot-off, Count Back Rules should be used with the first tiebreaker being the highest number of inner 10 shots.

Other actions

The panel did not support proposed experimental rules in men’s soccer and bowling.

The Men’s and Women’s Soccer Rules Committee had endorsed the Atlantic Coast Conference’s desire to experiment with eliminating the re-entry rule in the second half in league matches for the upcoming season. The ACC proposed using information collected over the season to decide whether the rule had merit for the collegiate game.

The Playing Rules Oversight Panel, however, felt that those statistics wouldn’t adequately reflect all of Division I men’s soccer.

In bowling, the panel voted down a request to experiment with the Lee Point System, which would emphasize individual or head-to-head scoring over team scoring. For example, each team’s No. 1 scores would be compared against each other with the winner being awarded a point in the team score. This would be done for each of the positions in the lineup to determine an overall team winner.

The panel believes the current methodology (total pinfall) is the best way to decide a team winner.