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Milwaukee Gay Volleyball Association Summary of Rules & Regulations

MGVA follows the 2021-2023 rules of USA Volleyball (USAV) except as stated below. All rules and regulations are subject to be modified, cancelled, or appended at any time per the discretion of the officers of the MGVA Board of Directors. If any rules are changed, the MGVA Board of Directors will communicate and make the new set of rules available at first convenience. 


If there are any further questions regarding the rules and regulations, do not hesitate to ask any MGVA Board Member or email us at


Registration for the ensuing league season typically opens four weeks prior to the opening date of play and closes one week prior to opening day. Team slots are filled on a first-registered, first-paid basis.  

The league currently accepts registrations by individuals or entire teams. Teams typically consist of six to eight players. Should an individual need assistance in being placed on a team, the Board reserves the right to add individuals to existing teams. For teams, full payment prior to the season opener is required. 


A team is required to have four players present on the floor, three of which must be roster players determined by a submitted roster at the beginning of the season.  

A team can use up to two substitutes to field a team, but that team must maintain more roster players than substitutes (ie. a team with three roster players can use one or two substitutes, but cannot use three substitutes). 

A team cannot play with fewer than four people on the floor. Should a team fall below that four-player minimum, it must find a substitute to finish the match otherwise it will forfeit the rest of those sets.  

Under only extenuating circumstances, i.e., the loss of a roster player due to injury suffered in that match, can a team can remain eligible with just two roster players and two substitutes.  

All substitutes must have an official waiver and Rules of Conduct form signed and on file with MGVA. Substitutes must be from the same or lower division or of a similar skill level of the team for which they are subbing. The Board reserves the right to deny a team’s sub should they not be at an equal skill level.

For tournament play, any substitutes must be registered with MGVA at least one week prior to the first round of play. Registration of these tournament subs must be approved by the Board through email.

Coaches cannot substitute for the team that they are coaching. 

Players may play for their scheduled match(es) and substitute for only one other match on a given night. This rule does not apply to the tournament week(s), as those subs must have been registered previous to the tournament’s opening match. 




Along with the playing schedule, each team in the league will have added refereeing duties throughout the season. These reffing duties are found on the regular season schedule. 

Refereeing teams are asked to provide an R-1 (Up-ref), R-2 (Down-Ref), and Scorekeeper (Flip-score). It is acceptable for the R-2 to also keep the official paper score sheet in their hands. Upon completion of the match, this refereeing team is responsible for making sure the winner, score, and captains' signatures are clearly stated for the match. 

A copy of the official hand signals are available in the "Resources" section of the MGVA website. Should a team need assistance via “Shadow Reffing” a match, contact a board member or experienced referee.  




A season schedule will be released, and teams must be ready to play and/or ref their scheduled matches, unless otherwise communicated. Failure to do so will result in forfeiture. 

Teams may use any unoccupied courts for the purpose of practice or warm-up. Prior to their next scheduled match, teams will be allotted a five-minute warm-up period that begins immediately following the conclusion of the prior scheduled match. Teams must be prepared to play after this five minute warm-up period concludes.  

Should a team be unable to field a full team at the end of the warm-up period, a 10-minute grace period will begin. If at the end of those 10 minutes a team still cannot field a valid roster, that team will forfeit all three sets of its scheduled match.

For record-keeping purposes, a forfeit is scored 21-0, 21-0, 15-0 and the forfeiting team will receive (-57) points for that match. 
If a team knows in advance they cannot field a team on a given night, an agreement with the opposing team to reschedule is possible only if there is time and space to reschedule the match. This reschedule must take place during regular MGVA court time and will be addressed on a first-request first-filled status. Both team captains must work with the MGVA League Director, who will make a reasonable effort to accommodate the rescheduled match.

Should neither team be able to field a team, and rescheduling is not an option, both teams will receive a match loss, three set losses and the games will be scored 0-0, 0-0, 0-0 with a net point differential of (0). 


Matches will begin with the meeting of team captains (or team representative) wherein a coin toss or other means will determine which team will serve and which team will choose the side of the court to play the first set.

Teams will switch sides and serve responsibilities for the second set.

Prior to the third set (when necessary), captains will again determine who serves and on which side. Teams will also switch sides midway through the third set.

Each team will be given two 30-second timeouts per set.

Match play will consist of rally scoring with let serves in play. For sets one and two, both teams will start at 0 and play to 21 points capped at 25. Set three is played from 0 to 15 with a cap at 17. A team must win each set by two points, except when reaching the scoring cap.

The initial receiving team must rotate upon a side-out, prior to its first service.


Teams of more than six players may either use a Libero or rotate players into whichever consistent location(s) the team chooses. The team should notify the refereeing team whichever method they will use to rotate/substitute players before the start of the match.  

Official line-ups do not need to be submitted to the refereeing team prior to the start of the match. 

A Libero, should teams choose to use one, must follow the same guidelines as that designated by the USAV regulations. Liberos should be pointed out to the refereeing team prior to the start of the first set. 

Most relevant to MGVA, a Libero cannot hand-set in front of the 10-meter line, nor can they attack above the top plane of the net.

As of the Winter Season 2013-14, Liberos are allowed to serve for one player. 



A waiver must be signed by each league member before they can step onto the floor. 

For safety precautions, a player is ineligible to continue if blood is visible at any time. If necessary, an official’s timeout, at no charge to the injured team, can be used to clean and bandage the wound. That player may return to action once blood is no longer exposed.

A First Aid kit is provided for each league date. Please contact a board member if any further assistance is needed. 


A ball will be considered out of play if a player contacts any apparatus (wall, bleachers, gym divider, etc.) before contacting the ball. However, a ball played before the player contacts the apparatus shall remain live and in-play.

A ball that contacts an apparatus connected directly to the ceiling is live and in-play, as long as the ball remains on that team’s side of the net. A ball that contacts an apparatus connected directly to the wall is out of play. A ball that contacts an apparatus connected to the ceiling but lands on the other side of the net is out of play. A ball that contacts an apparatus connected to the ceiling on the other half of the net is out of play, regardless as to which side the ball lands.

MGVA does not allow pursuit rules at the Beulah Brinton Center for safety reasons.

When traveling between Courts A & B, please use the atrium walkway—do not pass through the gym mat dividers and disrupt play. Likewise, be aware of play on Court B as the entrance to that court is very close to the service line.

Please roll the ball under the net to avoid injury. 


Standings will be kept following each week of play. Overall match record is the first criterion for league standings, while set record and point differential are kept for tiebreaking purposes. 

A team’s postseason tournament seed shall correspond to its regular-season finish. In case of any ties, the following procedure to determine proper seeds will be used. 

Two-Team Tie: 1. Overall set record 2. Overall point differential 3. Head-to-head match record 4. Head-to-head set record 5. Head-to-head point differential 6. Match record versus divisional champion 7. Coin flip 

Multiple-Team Tie: 1. Overall set record 2. Overall point differential 3. Collective match record among tied teams 4. Collective set record among tied teams 5. Collective point differential among tied teams 6. Match record versus divisional champion 7. Coin flip(s) 



These rules apply to any four-person division or event (indoor or outdoor) run by MGVA.  These rules do not apply to teams playing with four players in a six-person division or event.

Rotation – In 4's divisions, teams do not have to rotate players around the court, but must rotate servers.  Servers should serve in the same order during a single set.  Order of servers may be changed between sets. Teams are responsible for keeping track of the order of their servers.

All four players are considered front row players and may hit the ball in front of the ten-foot line.

Illegal contact – In 4’s divisions, open handed tips are not allowed.  Let serves (serves that contact the net before going over) are still allowed.

Substitution - A team is required to have at least 3 players present on the court, one of which must be a roster player, determined by a submitted roster at the beginning of the season.  

A team can use up to two substitutes to field a team, but that team must have an equal number or more roster players compared to substitutes (ie. a team with 2 roster players can use two substitutes; but a team with 1 roster player cannot use three substitutes).

APPROVED by Majority Vote of the Board, 2/5/23

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