Innertube Water Polo Rules
The rules governing this Intramural Sports activity consist of rules used by the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) and rules unique to the CMS Intramural Sports Program. This rules sheet is not meant to be all-inclusive; rather, it is a summary of the more common rules, policies and procedures used by the Intramural Sports Program. Important policy information can be found in the Intramural Sports Participant Handbook, which is available on our Web site. Additionally, all information contained on this sheet is subject to change without notice. All players are responsible for reading this document and understanding the rules, policies and procedures prior to participating in this activity.
I. Players & Substitutions
- Teams are comprised of seven (7) players six (6) plus the goal keeper. A team may not begin or continue a game with less than five (5) players. Co-Rec rules to note: All teams may not have more than one (1) player difference in gender. For example: 7 players = 4 men and 3 women or 4 women and 3 men, 6 players = 3 men and 3 women only, 5 players = 3 men and 2 women or 3 women and 2 men.
B. Substitutions may be made after a goal, before or between periods or for an injured or ejected player. Substitutions between periods may be done freely anywhere in the pool. If a team wishes to substitute after a goal, the team manager or captain must call out “substitution.” After receiving permission from the official to enter, the substitutes may enter in any manner at any location. If the substitute does not receive permission before entering, he/she will not be allowed to substitute at that time.
- Illegal Equipment/Jewelry: Referees will not permit any player to wear equipment which in his/her judgment is dangerous or confusing to other players or is not appropriate.
Illegal items include, but not limited to:
- A guard, cast or brace made of hard and unyielding leather, plaster, pliable (soft) plastic, metal, or any other hard material. Even if covered by soft padding, these items are not allowed when worn on the elbow, hand, finger, wrist, or forearm. Leg braces and knee braces must be covered with at least one half of an inch of slow recovery rubber or other similar padding so that no metal or hard edges are exposed.
- Head decorations, headwear and jewelry, including earrings, wedding rings or bands, other rings, necklaces, bracelets, rubber bands, Lance Armstrong and other soft bracelets, metal barrettes, bandanas, baseball caps, and headgear with a bill or hard, unyielding outer surface.
- Costumes that interfere with the safety of play (e.g. chicken suit)
- Exception: Medical alert bracelets or necklaces may be worn if taped down. Also, a headband no wider than two (2) inches and made of non-abrasive, unadorned single-colored cloth, elastic, fiber, soft leather or rubber may be worn. Rubber/cloth elastic bands used to control hair may be worn.
- Referees will not permit any player to participate if, in his/her judgment, items such as a player’s fingernails or hairstyle may constitute a safety concern.
- Ball: Each team may provide their own ball. The best ball will be used. If an agreement cannot be reached between the two teams, the official will decide which ball to use by either using the best ball or an Intramural Sports ball.
- Attire: All players are required to wear swimsuits. Players are encouraged to wear close fitting shirts or rash guards. Women are to wear a swimsuit under their shirt. Cut-offs, underwear and nudity are strictly prohibited.
- Inner tubes: Inner tubes will be provided by the Intramural Sports program. Players are not allowed to jump on inner tubes.
III. Length & Game Time
- The clock will begin running at game time! The ten minute rule will be in effect. Teams not present with the required minimum number of players ready to play ten (10) minutes after start time will forfeit the game and it will not be played. (See IM Sports Handbook for 10-minute rule)
- Games will consist of four (4), eight (8) minute quarters.
- A one (1) minute intermission will follow each quarter. Halftime will be three (3) minutes.
- No extra periods will be played during league play in the regular season. All games will end as a draw if the score is tied at the end of regulation.
Overtime during playoffs: If the scored is tied at the end of the second half, play will continue without change of goals in sudden-death overtime. The first team to score a goal will be declared the winner.
- Time-outs: No time-outs will be granted unless for injury at the official’s discretion.
- A goal is scored by the ball passing fully over the goal line between the goal posts. A goal scored is allowed if the ball was in the air when the whistle for quarter-time, halftime, or full time was blown, provided it was not touched by another offensive player.
- A goal may be scored by any part of the body, provided:
- At the start, restart, or throw in, the ball has been played by two (2) players.
- After a free throw or corner throw, the ball has been played by one player in addition to the player making the throw. The team to which they belong or place in the field of play from where the goal is scored is irrelevant.
- Playing the ball means handling the ball with the palm side of the hand. This matters only at the start of restart of the game. An attempt by the goalkeeper to stop the ball before is has been played in this way does not constitute playing and should the ball cross the goal line and hit the goalkeeper, the keeper must be awarded with a goal throw. If the ball goes through the posts and over the goal line, the goal will not be scored.
V. Game Rules
- Starting Play: To start each quarter, both teams line up at the opposite ends of the pool. (With at least one hand on the pool side) until the official signals for play to begin and drops the ball in the center of the pool.
- After a goal is scored, play is restarted by a goal keeper throw from the team that was scored upon.
- It is illegal to hold the ball completely underwater.
- It is illegal for one player to hold the ball for more than fifteen (15) seconds without passing or shooting.
- All players must sit in the horizontal position on the inner tube.
- Penalty for playing inside this area: Penalty shot if by the defense, a goal keeper throw if by the offense.
- Goal throws: An offensive player throwing, or
off whom the ball touches or goes over the opponent’s goal
line, concedes a goal throw to the defending goalkeeper.
- This throw must occur within five (5) seconds from the normal place between the goal posts. The referee will signal by whistle immediately when the ball crosses the goal line.
- Corner throw: A defensive player touching, or
off whom the ball touches or goes over the player’s own goal
line concedes a free throw to the opposing team player nearest the
2-meter mark on the side where the ball goes out. The throw is
taken from this mark. In case of a goal throw or a corner throw,
the whistle must be blown immediately as the ball crosses the goal
line. When a corner throw is taken, no player may be within the
2-yard area except the defending goalkeeper.
- The throw must be taken within five (5) seconds after the referee is satisfied that play should be resumed. The referee must signal by whistle immediately when the ball crosses the goal line.
- Free throw: Free throws are awarded after all
ordinary fouls. The referee should signal this by blowing the
whistle and pointing in the direction against the team which
committed the foul. The free throw must be taken in the near
vicinity of where the foul occurred.
- The throw must be made to enable other players to observe the ball leaving the hand of the thrower within five (5) seconds. The opposing team must give ample space for a player to make the free throw.
- Penalty shot: Penalty shots are taken from the five (5) yard mark and the goal keeper must have a portion of their tube on the goal line. All players must remain outside the goal box and at least three (3) feet away from the person taking the shot. The ball will remain live if the initial shot deflects back into play, where it may be played by any player.
- Ball Movement: Players dribble the ball by pushing it in the water, holding it between their knees, holding it with one or two hands, holding it against their body, or holding it in their lap. (It is illegal for defensive players to remove the ball from someone’s lap)
- Goal Box: The area that extends two (2) yards from the back edge of the pool and extends the entire width of the pool is considered the Goal Box. This area is marked by cones on the side of the pool. Only the goal keeper is allowed in this area during live ball play.
- Team Fouls and Misconducts
- Ordinary fouls: These fouls are penalized by a free throw. They include:
- To start before the referee blows his whistle.
- To assist a player at the start or re-start during the game.
- To hold onto, or push off from the goal post or their fixtures; to hold onto the rail or fixtures, except at the start or restart; to hold onto or push off from the side during actual play.
- To stand on the bottom except for the purpose of resting, or to walk on or jump from the bottom when the play is in progress.
- To take or hold the ball under the water.
- To strike the ball with a clenched fist
- To be within two (2) yards of an opponent’s goal line or to remain there except when behind the line of the ball.
- To touch the ball before it reaches the water when thrown in by the referee for a face off.
- To delay the game by failing to assist the normal progress of the game when in possession or control of the ball.
- To substitute improperly.
- Exclusion fouls: When a player commits an exclusion foul, the other team is awarded a free throw.
Furthermore, exclusion fouls will be treated much like common fouls in a basketball game. Team and individual fouls will be recorded. On the seventh (7) team foul during the half the bonus will go in effect. Once in the bonus, the offended team will be awarded a penalty shot after every foul.
Five (5) exclusion fouls from any one individual will result in that player fouling out of the game.
Exclusion fouls include:
- To hold, sink, or pull an opponent and/or his or her inner tube with or without the ball.
- Attack, strike, or kick an opponent in such a manner as, in the opinion of the referee, to endanger the opponent’s person in any way. (Deliberately throwing the ball at any opponent constitutes such an attack.)
- To push or restrict the freedom of movement of an opponent with or without the ball.
- To deliberately splash water in the face of an opponent.
- For a player to deliberately hold, push, or throw the ball away from an opponent who has been awarded a free throw is calls for ejection.
- To commit any ordinary foul for the purpose of preventing the scoring of a goal.
- Refuse obedience to the referee or to exhibit unsportsmanlike conduct.
- Deliberately interfere with an opponent taking of a free throw, penalty shot, or corner throw.
- To deliberately flip the ball away after committing a foul.
- To commit any ordinary foul before the ball is put into play after any awarded free throw, corner throw, goal throw, penalty throw, or face-off (Dead-Ball foul).
Major fouls (personal fouls): Any foul committed, particularly of the variety listed under “exclusion fouls,” done with the clear intent to harm or injure a player of the opposing team is considered a major foul.
The player committing the foul is permanently ejected (See Ejection Policy in IM Sports Handbook).
- Protests based on the judgment calls of officials will not be accepted. Supervisors cannot overturn judgment calls.
- The officials and supervisors assigned to the game will make decisions regarding any rule interpretations not covered in these rules or those outlined by NIRSA Rules.
- Rule interpretation protest: Team captains wishing to protest a rule interpretation must do so immediately. The protesting captain must inform the official of the protest at the time of the disputed play. The official will explain the ruling and interpretation. If the captain still wishes to protest, the supervisor will be notified. The supervisor will file the protest and play will resume. Once the official signals for play to begin a protest may not be made.
- Eligibility protests: Team captains wishing to protest the eligibility must do so before, during and up to ten (10) minutes after the conclusion of a game. A written Protest Form will be filled out with the supervisor on duty. A member of the Recreational Sports staff will investigate the protest and render a decision within twenty-four (24) hours. If the protest is upheld and the participant was ineligible, that game, as well as any others that the ineligible participant played in, will be forfeited.