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Innertube Water Polo


  1. The following rules and procedures are those for which the Office of Campus Recreation feels a need to further elaborate and clarify.  In no way should the absence of a particular rule or procedure be construed to mean that it will not be information in the Intramural Handbook, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association Water Polo Rules.
  2. Forfeit time is the game’s scheduled starting time.  A team must have 5 players present by forfeit time in order to play.
  3. Shirts will be checked out to each team before the game.  Teams are responsible for the shirts until returned to the officials after the game.  Teams are not required to wear the shirts, however, if they wear their own shirts, they must be the same color and have a legible number (no tape) on them.
  4. No player, coach, or spectator shall use abusive or insulting language, or physically abuse any player, coach, spectator or intramural employee.


1.1. Responsibilities of Coaches

  1. Check with your players to see if any of them are participating in other intramural activities that may cause a time conflict with your water polo schedule.  If you have players in these other activities, notify the OCR immediately and we will try to avoid conflicts.
  2. Read and know the rules.  Have a team meeting to go over the rules and schedules.
  3. Control yourself, your teammates, and your spectators.
  4. Represent your team prior to, during and after games and at all meetings.
  5. Coaches are responsible for seeing the Schedule posted on the Intramural web page.
  6. Make sure all of your players are eligible to play.
  7. Check the playoff schedule immediately following the completion of regular season play.
  8. Supply one person to assist with the game timing and scorekeeping.
  9. No alcoholic beverages are permitted in the Student Recreation Center.

1. 2. Eligibility

  1. Students, faculty, and staff members are eligible.
  2. A person may play for one team only.
  3. To be eligible, each player’s name must be on the team roster filed with the OCR.
  4. Penalty for any of the above is possible forfeiture of the game and player suspension.

1.3. Participant Requirements

  1. All players must wear swimming suits (no cutoffs or gym shorts).
  2. The OCR recommends that each competitor wear a T-shirt to prevent bruises and rashes caused by the inner tube.
  3. All players are further advised to clip finger and toe nails closely to avoid scratching and cutting one another.  Remove all jewelry!

1.4. Before Play starts

  1. Each team must sign in player’s names on score sheet.
  2. All players must sit in the tube with both legs hanging over the tube.
  3. Each team shall select a captain.  Only the captain shall discuss rule interpretations with the officials during the game.
  4. The captain must remind all teammates to return game equipment to the officials at the conclusion of the game.

1. 5. Method of Play

  1. The team that stresses team play—passing, catching, and dribbling (maneuvering with the tube)—will have a definite advantage.
  2. Each team lines up at opposite ends of the pool—touching the wall with both hands.  Penalty: Free throw from mid—pool line.
  3. Play starts when the referee releases the ball (dropball) on the mid—pool line and both teams propel their innertubes toward the ball.
  4. No player may leave the innertube to touch or maneuver the ball.   Also, if tipped out of the tube, a player may not touch or control the ball or interfere with the play until back in the tube.
  5. Penalty:  Free Throw

1. 6. Duties of the Goalkeeper

  1. Goalkeeper may not throw the ball more than half of the pool.Penalty: Free Throw 
  2. The goalkeeper may not leave the innertube to stop a goal.  If this occurs and in the opinion of the official the goal would have been scored, then it will count.  The goalkeeper is allowed to strike the ball with his fist.
  3. The goalkeeper must pass the ball after possession of no more than (5) seconds.  Following a goal, the count begins after the official sounds his whistle.  The goalie cannot swim out of the goalkeeper’s area with possession of the ball.
  4. After a goal is scored—the ball is put in play by the goalie after the official announces the current score and sounds the whistle.  If a captain feels the announced score is incorrect, ask the referee.  Once the goalie passes the ball to a teammate the score is official.  The goalie shall retrieve and hold the ball, waiting until the whistle sounds, before passing the ball to a teammate.  Penalty: Free Throw at mid—pool line.
  5. Goal tending restrictions (V#1, 2, 3,4) apply to the goalkeeper only as long as he/she is in the goalkeeper area, the rules governing the other plays apply to the goalie.
  6. No one except the goalie may block a shot within the goalkeeper area, any shot that is blocked by the illegal goalie (not wearing the quartered cap) scores.

1. 7. Rules

  1. Players are not allowed to strike the ball with their fists. (exception:  goalkeeper)  Penalty:  Personal Foul
  2. No part of the offensive player’s body may penetrate the two yard line.
  3. When attempting to gain possession of the ball from an opponent, no physical contact between players will be allowed.  Contact with the ball or the tube of the player in possession of the ball will be legal. (Possession of the ball includes physical contact with the ball or the ball within the circumference of the tube.)  The attacking (defensive) player must be in the visual field (inside plane of       shoulders) of the offensive player.  Penalty:  Personal Fowl.
  4. Players:  7 players on each team—4 men, 3 women.  Team may start a game with 5 players –3 men, 2 women.
  5. Timing:  Two 12 minute halves (running clock).  Three minute halftime.  When games end in a tie a three minute overtime period will be played.  If the score is
  6. Still tied after this period, a sudden death period will follow.  (Exception:  In playoffs—3 minute periods will be played until the tie is broken).
  7. Time Outs:  One per half (not cumulative), can be called by any offensive player.  Time outs are 30 seconds in length and may not be called in the last 3 minutes of the half of game.  Time can only be added to a game by the official for an injury or equipment failure.
  8. Captain’s appeal:  Captain my call a time—out to question the misapplication or misinterpretation of an official’s ruling.  (A judgment call may not be appealed.)  If the official changes the decision, it is an official’s timeout.  If not, the team is charged with the time—out.  If the team has no time—outs remaining, a penalty throw will be awarded.
  9. Inadvertent Whistle:  Ball belongs to team holding, shooting, dribbling or passing the ball to a team—mate.  If neither team is in control, a face-off will be called.
  10. Substitution:  Substitutes may only be made during timeouts, after a goal is scored or between halves.  A substitution may be made the assessment of a 5” foul (disqualification) on a player.  Only player disqualified may be substituted for.  Referee must be notified of substitution.
  11. Scoring:  Goals scored by women—2points.  Goals scored by men—1 point.  No score if shot is taken from inside the 2-yard line.  A player scoring a goal must remain in the tube.  A player scoring a goal must remain in the tube.  The ball must pass fully over the goal line between the goal posts.
  12. Possessions:  A woman must control the ball (1 second possession) on every offensive thrust after the ball crosses the mid— pool line or a face—off is called.  The official’s signal confirming that female possession has taken place is crossed arms on the flag.
  13. Stalling:  If a player is being guarded aggressively, that player must pass the ball within 5 seconds or make an attempt to advance with the ball toward the opponent’s goal.  Penalty:  Free throw.
  14. Drop Ball:  The official drops the ball on the mid—pool line to start each half and an overtime period.  Players on each team must be in their respective goal areas, touching the wall with both hands, before the ball is dropped.  Penalty:  Free throw
  15. Out of Bound:  A free throw from the same point the ball went out awarded to the opposing team.  Exceptions:  Ball goes out at the pool ends—if defense was last to touch, a corner throw is awarded.  If offense was last to touch, goalkeeper makes the throw (Goal Throw).  Ceiling is out-of-bounds.
  16. Face Off:  The official’s signal for this is thumbs up.  Offensive and defensive       players control the ball simultaneously.  Ball is tossed to the nearest official who will drop it into the water.  The two players can then gain control, no one is allowed within two yards of the player involved with the face—off.
  17. Free Throw:  Non-Violating team member nearest the spot of the infraction or foul puts ball into play by passing or advancing the ball from the spot of the violation.  Players must be 1 yard from the free thrower and cannot interfere with the throw.  One pass must be made before any attempted goal.  If player advances with the ball by swimming, the player may be attacked once the player has moved 2 yards.
  18. Penalty:  Throw:  Taken on the 4 yd. line by the member of the offensive team who has been fouled on or inside the 4 yd. line (penalty area).  All players, except the goalie must leave the penalty are until throw is made.  No player may be within 1 yd. of thrower.  Free ball results if the penalty throw is missed.  Player must hold the ball in a position to throw, and immediately shoot the ball when the official sounds the whistle.  (no fakes)  Penalty:  Goal throws.  Penalty throws are also awarded on the 6th team personal fouls and upon each successive 4 fouls thereafter.   Any player in the pool at the time of the 6th foul may attempt the penalty throw.  If the 6th, 10th, 14th, etc.  team foul occurs inside the penalty area then 2 penalty throws are awarded.  (Penalty throws are also awarded for any major fouls)

1. 8. Infractions

  1. Holding onto or pushing off of pool wall during actual play, including goal supports.
  2. Holding the ball under water.
  3. Goal tender throwing the ball more than half the length of the pool.
  4. Offensive player within the goal keeper’s area. (2 yd. line)
  5. Deliberate splashing of water in opponents face.
  6. Touching the ball before it strikes the water when dropped by the official for a face—off.
  7. Touching or maneuvering the ball while out of the tube.
  8. Stalling.
  9. Illegal substitution
  10. Failure to place both hands on the wall to start any period.
  11. Goalkeepers releasing the ball following a score prior to the official announcing the score and sounding the whistle.
  12. To delay the game by failing to assist the normal progress of the game when in possession or control of the ball.  For a team to unduly retain possession or control of the ball without attacking (stalling) is wasting time and free—throw must be awarded.
  13. Assist a teammate—get into his/her innertube.

1.9. Personal Fouls
Penalty:  (A) Outside Penalty Area—free throw awarded to nearest opponent when the foul occurs.  Exception:  If it is 6th, 10th, 14th, etc.  team foul any player in pool may attempt the penalty throw.  (B) Inside Penalty Area—penalty throw awarded to fouled player.  (C) Player is disqualified from game on fifth personal foul.

  1. Holding, pushing, hitting, or dumping an opponent.
  2. Goalie grabbing the pool wall or goal standard while attempting to block a goal attempt.
  3. Player persistently repeating an infraction, even after the official has given a warning.
  4. Tipping an opponent out of the tube immediately after a score or attempted score in an attempt to discount score.
  5. Kicking or attempting to kick the ball in order to propel it.
  6. Striking the ball with a closed fist.
  7. To deliberately splash water in the face of an opponent.
  8. To push off from, push or retard the free limb movement of an opponent, or to impede in any way.  Swimming on the back, shoulders or legs of an opponent constitutes impeding.  The attacking player must be in the visual field (inside plane of the shoulders) of the offensive player.
  9. It is legal to push tube on tube only in that area located between the two and four yard line and the entire width of the goal (see diagram).  The pushing shall not be rough or violent in nature.  Any pushing outside of this area shall be a personal foul.
  10. Kicking opponent’s tube, moving opponent’s tube with hands, hooking opponent’s tube, and grabbing opponent’s tube.
  11. Player while out of tube contacting opponent’s tube or person.

1.10. Major Fouls
Penalty:  Offending player shall be removed from the remainder of the game.  A penalty throw will be awarded.

  1. Player attacking, striking, or kicking an opponent in such a manner as, in the opinion of the official, to endanger the person any way.
  2. Flagrantly refusing obedience to the official’s request.
  3. Exhibit unsportsmanlike conduct.
  4. Disqualified players may draw a one game suspension.
  5. If a player is removed from a game, due to a major foul, a substitute player may enter the game in place of the disqualified player.

The official’s decisions are final.  The official shall have the power to make decisions on any points not specifically covered in the rules.

Playing Area

1. Goalkeeper Area…………………………….  From end of pool out 2 yds. and entire width of the goal (see diagram).  No player or tube except the goalie (quartered cap) is permitted in this area for safety reasons. Penalty:  Goal Throw

2. Yard line………………………………………. No player (includes tube) can shoot at the goal from inside the 2 yard line.

3. Penalty Area………………………………….. From the end of the pool out 4 yards and the entire width of the playing area.