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NCAA Women’s Volleyball Makes Rules Proposals

Featured, Rules • January 5, 2024

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA (January 5, 2024) – The NCAA Women’s Volleyball Rules Committee discussed rule change proposals and approved an experimental rule to allow women’s teams to use the men’s/international volleyball (non-smooth cover) during the non-traditional season this spring.

All rule recommendations must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which is tentatively scheduled to discuss women’s volleyball proposals Feb. 20. The committee recommended allowing players to contact the ball more than once with any part of the body in a single attempt on a team’s second contact when the ball is played to a teammate.

However, if the ball is played over the net in this type of scenario, it would be ruled a fault, and the team would lose the point. Committee members debated the topic thoroughly before deciding to propose this change.

Through the years, officiating double contacts has sparked intense debates between coaches and volleyball officials during matches. Committee members think the proposed elimination of this judgment call can bring more consistency to the game.

The committee also feels that it will promote the continuation of play, which would make the game more entertaining for the players and fans. Data collected from an experimental rule in the spring of 2022 showed it will change only a small number of calls.

“We believe we won’t lose skill training because it is not significantly advantageous to the team that would have been called for double contact,” said Lyndsey Oates, NCAA Women’s Volleyball Rules Committee chair and coach at Northern Colorado. “Our goals with all the proposals were to continue to make volleyball an exciting game to watch and play. Our sport is in such a great place that we only want to continue advancing it and not set us back.”

Two liberos

The committee recommended each team be allowed to designate two liberos for each set of the match. Only one libero would be allowed on the court at a time and be allowed to serve in one position.

The rationale for the proposal is to allow more players the opportunity to compete and to increase action and improve play.

“This will allow schools who want to use this rule the ability to provide more opportunities for playing time,” Oates said. “Coaches have the discretion to decide if it will be a good tactical decision or not.”

Other rules proposals

  • Allowing the referee to issue an administrative sanction (red card) to the home team in instances where spectators encroach the playing area and the host administration fails to resolve the problem.
  • Allowing interference above the net (whether an opponent was touched) to be added to the list of plays that can be challenged in video review.
  • Expanding the jewelry rule to allow small, snug-fitting nose rings and ear cuffs.
  • Requiring all protests to be resolved during the match.


Women's Volleyball Liberos Volleyball NCAA Rules