Yankee Volleyball Association
Rules and Policies


Edited and approved by the Yankee Executive Board on
January 24, 2024

Rules of Play
In general, except as specified below, the Yankee Volleyball Association follows the rules of USA Volleyball (USAV).
Teams and Players
Team uniforms do not need to be matching in color or design. Numbers cannot be taped on, but may be written on with an indelible marker. Numbers must at least 4" on the front and 6" on the back. Placement of numbers does not need to be centered on the front and back, but needs to be clearly identifiable while contrasting in brightness and color with the jersey by the use of either a contrasting border around the number or the number itself contrasting.  If a libero is being used, the libero's shirt must be contrasting to the other team members' uniforms and legality of the libero's uniforms is at the sole discretion of the head referee. Long pants are allowed in Yankee tournaments.
Teams may use their time outs in order to obtain legal uniforms or use a ghost player if the other 5 players on the court have a legal uniform however, if a ghost player is subbed in, that player may not re-enter until the next set. Teams also may choose to play the round robin or pool play with illegal uniforms (provided all shirts have some sort of unique number), in which case they will be disqualified from the playoffs.
For USAV Tournaments, teams wearing uniforms not conforming to USAV regulations will be assessed a 6 point penalty at the beginning of each set until the regulation is met to the satisfaction of the referee. USAV tournaments other than regionals may be designated to allow Yankee uniform rules.
The tournament head referee has the final decision on all uniform questions.
Ghost Players and Permanent Injury Replacements
Teams may play with one ghost player. If a team starts with 5 players, the 6th player must be entered as "G" on the line up sheet and must be maintained in the rotation. When it is the ghost player's turn to serve, the first referee will award an immediate point/side-out to the receiving team. Teams playing with a ghost are eligible for tournament playoffs.
A ghost player may be substituted for an injured player with an abnormal substitution if and only if there are no other players on the bench. The normal injury time-out is allowed prior to substituting a ghost for the injured player. If a ghost player replaces an injured player, the injured player may not re-enter the set.
A team may substitute a player from its roster for the ghost at any time, if there were no other players on the bench when the ghost entered the set.
With tournament director discretion a team may remove a permanently injured player from its roster and add a replacement player to the roster of the same rating.  The removed player may not return to play at any point during the tournament.  This replacement may only be done during pooly play and cannot be done during playoffs.  The replacement player must play during pool play to play in playoffs.
If a player is expelled or disqualified, a ghost player may not be substituted for that player. If the team has five players or fewer after the sanction, they shall be considered an "Incomplete Team" as defined by USAV.
The Yankee rating for a ghost is the same as the level of the tournament (e.g., a C+ tournament will have C+ rated ghosts), regardless of whether the ghost starts the day or is a replacement for a player later in the day.
Team Affiliations
Individuals in Yankee may play on as many different teams as they desire during the season (but only one per tournament). Playing on teams in Yankee tournaments does not affect eligibility for USAV-registered teams.
Individual Ratings
All players participating in a Yankee Tournament will be rated for their individual skill level, in a range from A+ (highest) to D (lowest) and are subject to all standard Yankee Rules and Regulations. 
An individual's overall rating evaluates their ability relative to other players in New England in each of the basic skills of the game: serving, passing, setting, hitting, blocking, and defense.
Initially, new members will rate themselves when filling out their membership application. Team Representatives are expected to help new members determine their appropriate rating level and will be held responsible for the accuracy of the rating. Any player who has played in any Yankee/NERVA tournament in the last five years (as a full or one-day member) must register as a renewing member at their previous rating (or higher). Player ratings for the last five years are available on the Yankee website. Players that have questions should contact a Ratings Chairperson.
It is ultimately the player's responsibility for joining Yankee at the proper level. If a player joins at the wrong level (e.g., played before at a higher level), when the error is caught, the rating will be immediately corrected. If caught at a tournament, any change may affect the team's qualification for the tournament.
Any Yankee member can request a ratings change for himself/herself or recommend a ratings change for other members. The Ratings Chairpersons or their designated representatives will evaluate all requested or recommended ratings changes. If a ratings change is warranted the Ratings Chairpersons will notify the member in writing, giving approximately two weeks notice before the change is effective so that individuals and teams can adjust.
Immediate Re-rating At a Tournament
Any player designated as subject to immediate re-rating (including new members) can be immediately re-rated by a member of the Ratings Committee (who is present and of the same gender as the player in question). If the re-rate causes a team's total rating to exceed the tournament maximum, the team will be disqualified from the playoffs.
Any player that joins (including membership upgrades) after April 30 is instantly re-rateable by a same-sex rater at any tournament.
Team Ratings

For participation in tournaments, a team rating will be calculated by totaling the individual ratings of the top six players on each team's roster for that tournament.  This total cannot be more than 3 points above the tournament level.


For tournaments designated as +0 for 'flat' tournaments the team total rating (top six players) may not exceed the level of the tournament for men's and women's tournaments.

In addition to this, for co-ed or reverse co-ed tournaments designated as +0 or 'flat' the zero point limit will also apply to the top 3 players of each gender.

Additional Restrictions on Co-Ed (CR) or Reverse Co-Ed (RCO) tournaments 

  • Only the ratings of the top three men and the top three women on the roster will be counted and must be no more than 3 points above the tournament level.
  • C+ Level and below: an individual male rating cannot be more than +2 points above the level of the tournaments.
  • B- & Lower Tournaments: The total of the top 3 male player ratings cannot be more than +2 points above the tournament level 
  • B & Higher Tournaments: The total of the top 3 male player ratings cannot be more than +3 points above the tournament level 
  • The total of the top 3 female player ratings cannot be more than +3 points above the tournament level for any level.
For purposes of calculating team ratings, each rating level will have a numerical equivalent: A+ = 10, A = 9, A- = 8, B+ = 7, B = 6, B- = 5, C+ = 4, C = 3, C- = 2, D = 1
The maximum number of ratings points allowed for each level of competition shall be:
Level A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D
Max. 51 45 39 33 27 21 15 9
Teams that are over the ratings limit for that tournament will be permitted to participate in pool or round robin play but will not be eligible for playoffs. Their sets will count as wins/losses for their opponents. If the roster is changed to one that is within the limit prior to the start of the first match then there is no penalty. If the ratings violation is determined after a team has begun play and they decide to change to a legal roster, any sets already played or started will be forfeited, unless the roster is changed by deleting a player who has not played, in which case there is no penalty. The team will then be allowed to continue play and be eligible for playoffs.
Forfeited sets can be completed, but the team that forfeits only retains any points they had accumulated up until the point of forfeiture. Any forfeit that occurs before the set has begun results in the forfeited team's final score being equal to the lowest possible set score. (e.g. 4-25, 0-25, 0-21)
Individuals may not play in tournaments that are more than three levels below their individual rating (e.g., "A-" players may play in a "B-" tournament, but not in a "C+" tournament). Male players cannot be more than 2 points above the tournament level for C+ and below RCO and CR tournaments (e.g. a B+ cannot play in an RCOC+ or CRC+ tournament, but an A- can play in an RCOB-).
For purposes of calculating team ratings limits, women playing in men's tournaments will have their ratings reduced by one level  only in B- and higher tournaments (e.g. "A+" players will be calculated as "A" or worth 9 ratings points, "B-" players will be calculated as "C+" or worth 4 ratings points). 
Divisions and Levels of Competition
Yankee tournaments will be sanctioned for men's, women's, co-ed, and reverse co-ed categories. Levels of competition are A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C and C-. The specification of a category and level (i.e., Women's B) shall be a division of play.
Women are allowed to play in men's tournaments (with a rating adjustment as described above), but men are not allowed to play in women's tournaments.
Friendship Tournaments
Friendship Tournaments shall be allowed at any time through December 31 in order to promote early season competition. Friendship tournaments may also be allowed on designated weekends after December 31 at the discretion of the Yankee Tournament Coordinator and the NERVA Assignor of Officials. Friendship tournaments must still be sanctioned and scheduled through the Yankee Tournament Coordinator, all participants must be Yankee members, and the ratings limits are in effect.The differences from regular tournaments are that requirements for USAV-certified referees are waived for Friendship Tournaments. Tournament Directors may also decide to forego prizes.
Sanctioning & Scheduling Tournaments
All Yankee tournaments must be sanctioned and scheduled by the Yankee Tournament Coordinator. In order to qualify for sanctioning tournaments must comply with the following conditions:
1) All participants must be members of Yankee Volleyball Association and/or the USAV.
2) All referees, whether non-playing or playing, must be USAV-certified referees, except at Friendship Tournaments as specified below. The head referee must be a non-playing referee.
3) The current Yankee ratings, as they appear on the official Registrar's List, must be used for all individual and team rating calculations.
4) All current Yankee rules must be adhered to and enforced.
5) The Tournament Director is required to be present for the duration of the tournament (unless TD responsibility is handed over to another certified Tournament Director) All Tournament Directors must be approved by the Tournament Coordinator or the current Yankee Board. After the approval by the Tournament Coordinator or the Yankee Board, the new Tournament Director may draft one tournament for the proceeding session. After successfully running their first tournament, the Tournament Coordinator or Yankee Board will determine if the Tournament Director is ready to draft additional tournaments. If the determination is made prior to the next sessions draft, the new Tournament Director will be limited to three draft picks. If the determination is not made prior to the next session's draft, the new Tournament Director will be limited to one draft pick. Until the new Tournament Director has completed two successful sessions of tournaments (success is at the discretion of the Tournament Coordinator or the Yankee Board) they are considered under probation by the Yankee Board.
Team Representatives are responsible for making sure an up-to-date team roster has been submitted to the Tournament Director on the day of the tournament prior to the team's first match of the day. The roster is required to list team members' names, current Yankee ratings, and uniform numbers. Any change in uniform number may be made on the roster at any time without penalty. Rosters and team lineups are not required to be signed by the captain, coach, or team representative.
No deletions are allowed on a roster that has been submitted once a team starts playing, except in the case of deleting a player who has not played. If changes must be made to the roster after they are initially submitted (beyond the uniform number), they must be made by the Tournament Director at his/her convenience or the roster change will be disallowed. Players may be added to the roster at any time after the start of any match (other than to replace an expelled player) with the approval of the Tournament Director who will verify the memberships of the added player(s) as well as the legality of the roster after the changes.
Team rosters will be posted by the Yankee Representative or Tournament Director for players to view during the day's competition.
Tournament Director
The Tournament Director will be responsible for checking team rosters and referees for memberships and ratings, collecting membership applications and fees, and ensuring that Yankee Rules & Policies are followed.
At the discretion of the Yankee Board and in accordance with USAV rules, Yankee Registered members, Club Teams, and Tournament Directors who run unsanctioned indoor 6's tournaments will be sanctioned.
If a Tournament Director has to cover expenses when they cancel a tournament mid-day for safety issues or 'Acts of God' they can appeal to the Board for their operating loss.
If a Tournament Director cancels a tournament after 6pm on the Wednesday before, they must pay each assigned referee $50.00 if the cancellation is for reasons other than "Acts of God".
A Tournament Director may only hold one other position while running a Yankee tournament; either referee or player, but not both.
Tournament Format
The Tournament Director is responsible for determining the format, but these will usually be either pool play or round robin followed by playoffs. Yankee Rules and Policies do not specifically designate that there must be a playoff or any formal playoff format, although there is a membership expectation of a playoff. If there is a playoff, the format must allow for the following:
1) No team shall be eliminated from playoffs by a tiebreaker procedure.
2) Teams qualifying for playoffs, but tied for position, shall be assigned position by the following methods, in order of priority: 1st- won-lost percentage between tied teams; 2nd - point differential between tied teams; 3rd - total point differential in pool or round robin competition; 4th- flip of a coin.
3) Participating teams are expected to furnish support officials as requested, including a second referee, scorekeeper, scoreboard operator/libero tracker, and two linespersons. A first referee must also be provided in Friendship tournaments. Teams are required to work the sets indicated by the Tournament Director.
4) Participating teams are not allowed to intentionally forfeit their remaining set(s) of pool play and still be eligible to advance to the playoffs.
5) Except for discriminatory practices based on race, sex, or religious belief, Tournament Directors will have the right to set their own policies for acceptance of teams in their tournaments. Some factors affecting acceptance might be order of payment received, having been shut out of a previous tournament, previous history of reliability or non-payment, etc.
6) A protest committee will be formed at the beginning of each tournament to vote on any potential protest that might arise during play for that day. This committee should consist of the head referee, Tournament Director, and at least one team representative.
7) Yankee follows the rules of the host facility, including its policy on alcohol and drug usage. In most cases this means no consumption or possession on the premises. Failure to adhere to those rules is considered a serious breach of the code of conduct and is subject to significant penalty.
8) The Tournament Director and/or Head Referee will report all penalties, expulsions, disqualifications, and other incidents at tournaments to the Yankee Executive Board for consideration of further action.
9) The Tournament Director must get approval from the Yankee Tournament Coordinator for any changes in tournament format or fees after publication of the schedule. Non-compliance may result in possible loss of sanctioned tournaments for the remainder of the season.
10) Tournament Directors can run tournaments with alternate formats or minor deviations from USAV rules if (a) they get advance approval from the Yankee Tournament Coordinator and (b) all participants are notified of the format in advance.
11) For a regular day tournament, the minimum amount of play guaranteed to participants is 168 points. If the tourney will be less than this, it must be advertised as "modified". If a modification to the format is made after the publication of the schedule and with less than two weeks notice, then the Tournament Director must give a full refund if any team chooses to withdraw. Tournament Directors have the option to adjust the team fee with approval of the Tournament Coordinator or Yankee President.
12) A team’s failure to have a complete officiating crew available and on time for an officiating assignment could result in the team having to forfeit the first set of its next match. For every minute an officiating team is late to fulfill its assignment, one point will be awarded to that team’s next opponent in the first game of the next match up to 25 points. No more than 25 points will be awarded to the team’s next opponent, even if the team designated to officiate misses the entire match. The time that determines how many penalty points are assessed begins at the end of the warm-up. A team will forfeit its entire net match for failing a second time to have an officiating crew available and on time for an officiating assignment.
13) For a team’s last assignment, if a team leaves before completing their last work assignment, the tournament director has the right to ban that team or club from participating at that tournament site for the following season. It is strongly suggested to all teams that you check out with the tournament director before leaving the venue after the last match of the day to avoid any unnecessary penalties.
Mixed Gender Tournaments
All rules follow USAV Mixed Gender Rules with the following exceptions:
Reverse coed with back row attack (and the women's net portion of a co-ed reverse) allows all men to attack the ball from behind the 3 meter line when the ball is above the height of the net. All men are considered back row players. A jump serve is not considered an attack.
Reverse coed tournaments (and the women's net portion of a co-ed reverse) that do not allow back row attacks by men, any ball put over the net by a man must have an upward arc when the ball leaves their hand. A man cannot be a back row attacker from any position as long as the ball has an upward trajectory. A jump serve is not considered an attack.
Reverse coed tournaments where back row attack is allowed by male players do not need to follow USAV co-ed rule 2.2 which would require a male player to be a contact if a ball is played more than once by the team. Any mix of players can play the ball, continuing the rally.
All tournaments will be designated either BR (back row attack) or No BR at the time they are drafted and this will be specified on the schedule.
The individual Tournament Director, commensurate with expenses incurred in running the tournament shall establish fees for individual tournaments. Yankee tournaments are not to be run for the excessive profit of any individual or organization.
Tournament Directors are expected to provide income and cost breakdowns for their tournament, or periodically for a typical tournament, to assist the Yankee Executive Board in monitoring tournament costs in the region.
1) All referees at Yankee-sanctioned tournaments must be USAV-certified referees, except at Friendship tournaments.
2) The Head Referee must be a non-playing referee. Other referees may be player-referees.
3) The Referee Coordinator will assign all non-playing referees. Tournament Directors planning to use player-referees must inform the Referee Coordinator of their plans and officiating requirements.
Yankee Championships
At the end of each season the Yankee Volleyball Association may organize and run Championships at each level of competition that has had participation during the year and which draws sufficient entries to justify a tournament. Rules for Championships will be published annually.
Draft Rules
The following rules have been established to dictate the process of drafting tournaments for the upcoming Yankee season.
All Yankee, friendship, and USAV/NERVA tournaments must be drafted at the Yankee draft.
The Yankee season consists of two halves (fall and spring) for which tournaments will be separately drafted at (approximately) these two times: August (fall draft) and November (spring draft). The date, time, and location of the draft shall be determined by the Yankee board and will be announced no less than 14 days in advance. The fall draft handles dates from September through mid-January. The spring draft handles mid-January through Yankee championships and regional qualifiers.
If held, Yankee championships and regional qualifiers usually begin in early May.
Draft entrant participation and eligibility will be determined by the Tournament Coordinator. Each unaffiliated draft entrant will be granted one slot in the draft and one pick per round determined by random draw. Draft entrants determined to be affiliated by common interest may enter the draft separately but must alternate picks (one affiliated entrant per round). Affiliated draft entrants should decide among themselves who will use each draft round pick. If they cannot agree, picks will alternate between the draft entrants with the initial order drawn randomly.
Prior to the Draft, the Tournament Coordinator will publish a balanced schedule for the session. It is strongly encouraged that a member of the board review that schedule for balance, coverage and sensibility.
The following quotas are the maximum number of teams per consecutive level that can be drafted on any given weekend:
  • men's and women's C and C+ = 21
  • all B+ and above = 10
  • all others = 16
For example, the quota for men's C+ is 21. Thus, a men's C+ can only be drafted if the combined number of teams already drafted at either a C/C+ or C+/B-, plus the number of team in the tournament to be drafted, is no more than 21.
Note: If a single tourney consumes the entire quota at a given level (there is no other site with a competing tournament), that site is welcome to make the tournament larger than the quota. However, this is not recommended, as it most likely will be difficult to draw that many teams. For example, a site can run a 15 team B+ tournament if no other B or above tournaments are already scheduled that weekend. But if a competing tournament is already scheduled, the B+ would be limited to 10 (minus the team count of the competing tournaments).
For coed/reverse-coed tournaments, 1/2 the tournament size (rounded down) will count against the women's quota and against the men's quota. (e.g., A 10 team CR C+ will count as a 5 team women's C+ and 5 team men's C+.)
A draft entrant may fill their site (only one facility/building) for a single day when their turn in the draft arises, even if it requires slotting multiple tournaments. (This applies to large sites and back-to-back half-day tournaments.)
No tournament may be drafted with more than five (5) teams per court.
The Tournament Coordinator has the right to close out any weekend that s/he feels is saturated.
Tournament directors needing to cancel a tournament, for whatever reason, should notify the tournament coordinator as soon as cancellation is certain. If a Tournament Director wishes to change an already drafted tournament (e.g., change size or level) or add a new tournament to the schedule after the draft, s/he should be sure the tournament fits within the quota for the weekend and then contact the Tournament Coordinator who has final say on all such changes.
Tournament Directors will not deposit a check for any tournament earlier than the Thursday before the tournament and no later than thirty (30) days afterwards.