Water Polo Rules
Important rules as well as rules unique to SDSM&T Intramurals follow. Team captains are responsible for sharing this information with their team members prior to the team’s first competition.
1) Team parameters and rules guiding play
a) A team shall consist of seven players. There can only be one more male than female in the water for the same team. A game may be started or completed with as few as five players as long as the above provision regarding the ratio of males/females is met.
b) There will be two 15-minute halves with running time and a five-minute halftime.
c) Each team is allowed two one-minute time-outs per game. Time-outs must be called by the team that has
possession of the ball.
d) A coin flip (or similar action) determines which end of the pool each team will start on. At half time the teams
will switch sides. Each team lines up at their end of the pool to start play.
e) Play starts when the referee tosses the ball into the center of the pool.
f) After each score, the ball is put in play by the goalie scored upon.
g) The goalie may not throw the ball past the midpoint of the pool. The goalie has ten seconds to put the ball in
play after gaining control.
h) Players should pass, catch, dribble and throw the ball to their team members or toward the goal in an attempt to
score upon the opposing team. The ball may be held with the hand for only five seconds--after that time the
player must again dribble the ball or pass it to another teammate.
i) Upon gaining possession of the ball, the offensive team will have 45 seconds to attempt a shot on goal.
j) The ball must be thrown, held, and shot with ONE HAND. Throwing, holding, and shooting the ball with
both hands is illegal. Players will be allowed to catch the ball with two hands, but the ball must then
immediately be handled with only one hand.
k) No part of an offensive or defensive player’s body (other than the goalie) may come within 10 feet (marked by
kickboards and/or cones) of either end of the pool. If this penalty occurs, the ball will be awarded to the goalie of the team that did not commit the violation. Exception: The defense may enter to retrieve a loose ball that is out of the pool.
l) A ball that goes out of bounds on the side of the pool will be thrown (free toss) back into play at the point
of exit by the team that did not contact the ball last before it went out of bounds. A ball that goes out of
bounds at either end of the pool will be thrown back into play by the goalie at that end of the pool, regardless
of which team last contacted the ball.
m) In the event of dual possession, alternating possessions will be used (same as basketball).
n) Substitutions can take place at any time during the game. However, the substituting player must enter the pool
at the same place that the player subbing out departs the pool. Substitutions may not be made in a manner that
creates an advantage for the subbing team. Violations of this stipulation will result in a free toss (the opposing
team may not interfere with this toss) for the opposing team.
o) No overtime will be played during regular season play. For games that end in a tie, both teams will be given a
win. During the playoffs, overtime is sudden death and the first team to score wins.
p) No floatation devises of any kind will be allowed during the game.
a) A free toss is utilized after a personal foul (including holding the ball under water, holding an opponent without the ball, hitting the arm or body of an offensive player who has the ball, pushing off a defensive player, offensive player intentionally coming into contact with the defensive player, holding an offensive player, pulling back on a player). The non-violating team member nearest the spot of infraction puts the ball into play. Opponents may not interfere with their attempt to pass the ball.
b) Players are only allowed five fouls per game. After five fouls, the player is out of the game.
c) The penalty area is the area from 10 feet to 20 feet from the end of the pool (marked by kickboards and/or cones). If the player on the offensive team is fouled inside of this area while controlling the ball and facing the goal, a penalty throw is awarded to that player. All players except the goalkeeper must leave the penalty area until the throw is taken. If the penalty throw is missed and the ball stays in bounds, the ball is a free ball and play continues.
d) Un-sportsmanlike fouls will result in a penalty throw for the player who the foul was committed against (this includes sinking a player).
e) Splashing will not be tolerated.