TD Guidelines

Tournament Director Guidelines



This document is a resource for tournament directors and potential tournament directors that wish to run regular season Yankee-sanctioned adult volleyball tournaments in the New England region.

General Guidelines

All tournament directors must sign a contract with Yankee to confirm that they know and understand and will abide by all Yankee rules at their tournaments.

The guidelines set about in this document and its accompanying reference documents are established to promote the following:
  • Safe, fair competition for volleyball players
  • Fair treatment of referees, tournament directors, players, and Yankee officials
  • Fair value for the money for players
  • Fair profit for tournament directors

Types of Tournaments

Yankee sanctions men's, women's, and co-ed/reverse (USAV Mixed Sixes) tournaments from Yankee C- to A- level.


As a tournament director, you are expected to provide a facility that fulfills the USAV guidelines as published in the USAV rulebook. This means that the nets must be regulation height and the court must be regulation size with clearly painted boundary lines and 3-meter attack line. There should be sufficient room around the court, both in the service zones and in the free zones to the sides of the court, as defined by the current USAV rulebook. A referee stand must be provided for each court, with sufficient room opposite the referee stand for a second referee to stand away from the pole and to move from one side of the court to the other. In addition, there should be room behind the second referee for the scorekeeper's table.

The TD is responsible for providing tournament volleyballs, in good condition, regulation size, and properly inflated. The TD is also responsible for providing scorer's tables, scoresheets, black and red pens, pencils, and scoreboards. It's a good idea to have extra volleyballs, pens, scoresheets, etc. in case some are lost or damaged during the day.

Also, Yankee strongly suggests that the TD have a first aid kit and phone available in case of injury or emergency.

Yankee will tolerate some minor laxity in the facility guidelines. For example, Yankee has occasionally allowed scorer's tables to be in positions other than opposite the head referee, as long as they are clearly visible to the head referee. Exceptions should be cleared by the Yankee Board.

Arranging to Run a Tournament

All tournament directors wishing to run a Yankee tournament (either Fall or Spring) must attend the cooresponding in-person Yankee tournament draft OR online draft. The Yankee tournament draft is held twice a year, in late summer for the Fall season and in early winter for the Spring season. The dates are announced in the Volleyball New England newsletter and at the Yankee website ( The draft is conducted according to the set of Yankee tournament draft rules, announced at the beginning of the draft and available from the Yankee secretary. Note that in the absence of a physical draft, an online draft may be conducted by the Yankee Tournament Coordinator in its place.

Any person wishing to become a new tournament director must contact the Tournament Coordinator, well before the draft.  New TD's must be accepted by the Yankee Board and are considered probabtionary TD's. Probationary TD's can draft up to three tournaments in their first draft.  The Yankee Board will assign a Mentor that will serve as a resource for the TD prior to, during, and after the TD's first tournament.  That mentor will be at the tournament for support. The mentor will then make a recommendation to the board on whether that TD requires additional mentoring or can be taken off probationary status.



Team Selection

The process by which a TD reserves spots in their tournaments differs. Many TDs opt not to reserve a spot in a tournament until a check for the team entry fee has been received. This protects the TD from teams that reserve spots but fail to show. Other TDs will hold a spot for a few days for a team representative who calls or emails far enough in advance (to give time for a check to arrive).

It is up to the tournament director to decide which teams to select. For most tournaments, teams are accepted on a first-come/first-served basis (once they have completed the registration process, e.g., sent payment and roster if required). If the selection criteria used is anything but first-come/first-served, the TD must let this be known at the draft, so that it can be noted in the posted schedule. If any alternative selection process (not FCFS) is used, teams that are put on a waiting list because of this, must be notified of this no later than the close of business on the Monday before the tournament .

Any team on a tournament waiting list should be allowed to withdrawal from that tournament at any time receiving a full refund.

Tournament Format

For a regular day tournament, the minimum amount of play guaranteed to participants is 168 total points. The most common format for tournaments is one five-team pool per court, where every team plays a 2-game match against every other team in the pool. That yields a ten 2-game matches per pool. Whatever format you chose, keep in mind that in most Yankee tournaments, teams usually play a minimum of eight games. Yankee also requires that no more than five teams be scheduled per court. Any more and teams have too long to wait between matches and the burden on the referees is too great.

Occasionally, a TD will need to run with one or more four team pools, e.g., if teams fail to show or a tournament does not run. In these cases, the TD might schedule teams to play one another three games or to play longer games in order to guarantee a suitable minimum amount of play. The Yankee website,, has downloadable tournament forms to suit many of your needs.


Once your tournament is on the Yankee schedule, the referee assignor will find the best match of referees according to the level of the tournament, number of courts and teams, geography, available referees, and other factors. To request referees e-mail the referee assignor (currently Kirsten Boessneck  Referee assignments and other information will be visible to you as a TD in Zebraweb (you will be given an account there).

For insurance purposes, you need to have certified referees working all matches of your tournament unless the tournament has been drafted as a friendship tournament and occurs before January 1. The minimum number of referees are as follows: 1 court - 2 referees; 2 courts - 3 referees; and 3 courts - 5 referees unless you are using players that are certified referees. The base pay for full time referees is for 6 matches plus one playoff for the head official and 7 matches plus one playoff match for the rest of the referees.

As the tournament date draws closer, it is important for you to be in touch with the referee assignor, letting him/her know how your tournament is filling, if you think you might need to reduce the number of teams or courts, or if you may be in danger of canceling. It is recommended you start this series of emails or phone calls a month before the tournament. For directors who run several tournaments, being in regular contact with the assignor is crucial. As soon as you know something about your tournament, be sure to relay that information to the assignor (e.g., the tournament is full and definitely will run or the school took away one of the courts and the tournament will only be able to accommodate fewer teams).

It is standard procedure for the assignor to let you know who will be working your tournament by Wednesday, but last minute changes may be necessary. The assignor will let you know of these changes if at all possible--they will also be viewable in Zebraweb.

If there is the potential for inclement weather that may delay or cancel a tournament, be sure to get the phone numbers for referees ahead of time. If weather necessitates delay or cancellation, it is your job to reach the referees before they leave for your tournament.

Canceling Tournaments

If it becomes necessary to cancel a scheduled tournament because of lack of entries or other circumstances, you must announce the cancellation no later than 6 p.m. the Wednesday prior to the tournament. You must, at a minimum, personally contact the team representative for each team that has entered, the referee assignor, and the Yankee tournament coordinator. You must provide each entered team with a full refund of its entry fee. It is considered proper form to also announce the cancellation via the BAVP e-mail mailing list and to notify the Yankee website editor, so that he or she can place the cancellation message on the website.

If you cancel a tournament later than Wednesday and/or fail to properly notify the people listed above, you will be liable for a $50 fee for each referee assigned to your tournament and might be subject to further Yankee penalties, such as loss of future tournaments.

The Day Of The Tournament

Starting on time is important. The day of the tournament, the TD should show up well before the tournament, because there is a lot to do before the tournament can start. The TD should inspect the facilities and make sure the paperwork is prepared for the teams.

As teams show up, provide the team representatives with their team's roster sheet. Encourage them to fill them out immediately and return them to you, complete with every team member's name, uniform number, and Yankee rating.


Any team member that is not already a Yankee member must complete and sign the Yankee membership form and pay the Yankee (full or one-day) membership fee. Checks are preferred for the Yankee membership fee. In any case, be sure to provide the joining member with a receipt. There is a tear-off receipt at the bottom of the form for this purpose. All memberships must be in the mail to the Registrar by Monday after the tournament.


Membership Verification

The TD must verify each player's membership and rating with the current Yankee membership roster. The current roster will be provided to the TD by the Yankee registrar prior to the tournament.

Before play starts, the TD must hold a captains' meeting. At this meeting, the TD should do the following:
  • Introduce yourself as tournament director Introduce the referees
  • Introduce the site coordinator, who will explain the facilities, i.e. the locations of restrooms, phones, showers, and facility-specific restrictions (e.g., pets, smoking).
  • Assign a protest committee, consisting of at least the TD, the head referee, and one player
  • Explain that all participants must be either full or one-day Yankee members
  • Describe the format of the tournament, including the structure of the pools, time between games and matches, the criteria by which teams break pool, and the structure of playoffs
  • Announce what the prizes are and for which places
  • Introduce the head referee, who will then go over the ground rules for the tournament.

TD must post the pool assignments, the team rosters (once they have been verified with the Yankee membership listing), and a ratings writeup sheet with a pen or pencil in a prominent place in the facility. In addition, the pool assignment for each court should be posted near that court.

Throughout the day, the TD should record the win/loss records of teams on the pool assignment sheets, both at each court and at the central location. It is best to keep a master results sheet and/or the scoresheets from the matches to ensure that the recorded results are not altered.

After the Tournament

After the day of the tournament, the TD must follow up in the following ways:
  • Create a news article on the website about your tournament and its results. Close the tournament, list the winners, and attach your news article.
  • On the Monday following the tournament, send completed new membership forms, membership money collected, all team rosters, completed ratings suggestion sheets, and the tournament summary sheet to the Yankee registrar. You can also give them to a representative of Yankee, such as a Yankee Executive Board member, if one is available.
  • It is encouraged that assigned referees that worked your tournament be paid as soon as possible and in full. Failure to pay your referees with-in three weeks of the tournament date may result in loss of TD privileges along with further disciplinary action. 

General Guidelines

Don't forget that the success of your tournaments depends on the participants receiving fun, safe, and fair competition for their money. If you follow the guidelines in this document, the participants will receive a fair amount of play, fair competition, with safe facilities.

Yankee supports TDs making a fair profit on their tournaments. However, remember that you, as a TD, are competing with other TDs and facilities for players. You should consider the prizes that you offer, the quality of your facility and equipment, and the additional incentives (such as player packs or raffles) that you offer as compared to the other competing tournaments. There is room for you to trade off providing better prizes, providing more prizes (e.g., first and second place), holding raffles, providing player packs, and the amount of profit you make.

Dealing with Problems

No matter how prepared a TD is and no matter how many times a TD runs tournaments, unexpected incidents arise. Ultimately, you as a TD must use your best judgment as to how to deal with a situation. However, the following paragraphs can offer some suggestions for some events that might occur.
  • A team does not show.
    Many TDs require prepayment before a spot is reserved for a team in a tournament. If you have done this, and a team does not show, you are under no obligation to refund the team's money. You should show up for the tournament with pool schedules for 3-, 4-, 5-, 6- (one and two court), and 7- (two courts) team pools, in case you have to adjust the pool schedules the day of the tournament due to no-shows.
  • Too many teams show.
    As long as a TD is careful about confirming teams and diligent in communicating with team representatives, this should never happen. In the rare case where this occurs, the unconfirmed team should be turned away if the tournament is full (i.e., five teams per court). Yankee prohibits more than five teams per court as it increases the amount of waiting between matches for teams and increases the workload on referees.
  • A team is over the tournament's rating limit.
    If a team is over the tournament limit, you are under no obligation to allow them to play nor to refund their money. However, if a team is barely over the tournament limit, you should allow them to play in pool play, but not in the playoffs. For example, if you allow a team that is over the limit to play and they finish first in their pool (in a tournament in which the top two teams break pool), the second and third place team in their pool should qualify for the playoffs. If a team is much too high for the tournament, under no circumstances should they be allowed to play, as they might injure other players. In any case, the Yankee tournament coordinator should be notified of the circumstances after the tournament is over.
  • A new player is entered grossly underrated.
    Occasionally, a new player will be mis-rated when entering Yankee. If a team enters a new player that is obviously several levels higher than the rating at which he or she should be, it's unfair to the other teams playing in the tournament. Yankee allows a TD to re-rate a new player that is grossly underrated before the sixth round of play, if a member of the Yankee ratings committee that is the same gender as the player is present and agrees.
  • A referee that is assigned to your tournament fails to show up.
    The referee assignor will notify you before your tournament to let you know who is assigned to work your tournament. This system works very well and Yankee referees are extremely reliable. However, on rare occasions, unforeseen circumstances might cause a referee to be late or fail to show. In such a circumstance, call upon the expertise of the referees present, especially the head referee.

    Depending on where your tournament is held, it may be worthwhile to contact the referee assignor immediately. It may be possible to find a replacement even on such short notice.

    Many tournaments will have players that are certified referees and can referee a few matches. In you have players that referee matches, or if your assigned referees work more matches than they should, you will have to pay them accordingly. You do not have to pay the referee that did not show. You should notify the referee assignor after the tournament if one of the assigned referees does not show.
  • A player insists he/she is a member of Yankee, but does not appear on your membership list.
    In a case like this, the TD should have the player complete and sign the Yankee application and collect the membership fee from the player. The TD should mark the player's application to indicate that he/she claims to have signed up before. If he/she is indeed a member, the registrar will return his/her membership fee. In no case should the player be allowed to play without completing a Yankee application form, as the organization's insurance will not cover him/her or the TD in the case of an injury. Again, encourage the player to pay using a check, as it is easiest to tear up or return his/her check than to produce a Yankee check to refund his/her money.
  • Misbehavior of players.
    Unfortunately in competition, sometimes tempers fly. Yankee values and encourages sportsmanship and fair play above all and will not tolerate gross misbehavior. Referees have the authority to issue penalties for misbehavior during and between matches and you, as TD, should support them in whatever penalties they assess.

    In the rare case in which an individual directs verbal or physical threats, or physical violence, toward players, referees, or spectators, the individual should be disqualified and expelled from the facilities. The situation should be reported to the Yankee Executive Board for possible disciplinary action. You, as TD and representative of the facility in which the tournament is being held, should be ready to notify the police in extreme cases.

    All incidences of penalties, expulsions, or disqualifications should be noted in the post-tournament report to the tournament coordinator.

Resources Available To TDs

Yankee has a number of resources available to TDs. The Yankee tournament coordinator can provide a TD with a link to print scoresheets, team lineup sheets, and ratings writeup sheets. Pool formats for many different pool makeups are available at the Yankee website, or you can also ask the tournament coordinator or Yankee president for advice on nonstandard format options.

A great deal of information about running tournaments, including facility guidelines, responsibilities of participants, and formats, is available in the USAV rulebook and guide and at the USAV website. Yankee rules and policies that TDs and players must follow are in the Yankee Rules and Policies, available at the Yankee website and upon request from the Yankee secretary.

You will find a list of Yankee representatives, including Yankee executive board members, Yankee registrar, Tournament coordinator, Referee coordinator, and referee assignor, all of whom are available to help you and should be seen as resources, at the Yankee website, and in the Yankee newsletter/blog.

The Volleyball Players Facebook group (, consists of over 5000 members (as of this writing), many of which are members of Yankee. It is a great resource for announcing the status of tournaments, to advertise a tournament, and to obtain advice or engage discussion on nearly any volleyball-related topic.