Libero Player Approved for High School Volleyball
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (January 28, 2005) - Use of the libero player in
high school volleyball, effective with the 2006-07 season, was approved
by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS)
Volleyball Rules Committee January 9-10 at its annual meeting in
Indianapolis. All volleyball rules changes were subsequently approved
by the NFHS Board of Directors.
The committee also approved use of the libero player for the 2005-06
season by state association adoption. A state association may permit
use of the libero next season; however, all stipulations approved by
the committee for use of the libero in 2006-07 will apply for those
states electing to use the libero next season.
Specific stipulations approved by the committee for using the libero
The libero must be designated on the lineup sheet prior to each
The libero must enter the game after the starting lineup has been
A team may exercise one replacement per dead ball.
The libero must enter and exit the game between the attack line and
The libero may be the team captain.
The libero may be used as an exceptional substitution for an
injured player if no other legal substitutions are available.
The libero shall not replace a disqualified teammate.
The libero shall not block or attempt to block.
The libero shall not serve.
The libero shall not set the ball using an overhand finger pass
while in front of the attack line extended for an attack above the
height of the net.
While the libero player has been approved for high school volleyball,
use of the defensive specialist will be an option for an individual
team's coaching staff. Since the use of the libero player is a
coaching strategy, its use in a particular game is optional.
The libero is a back-row player and is not allowed to complete an
attack from anywhere if the ball, at the moment of contact, is entirely
above the height of the net. The libero wears a uniform in contrast to
other members of the team, and is intended to be a player who
specializes in defense and serve reception. The libero may replace a
back-row player, except the person serving, without taking away from
the team's allowed number of substitutions. Only one libero may be
designated per game.
The libero player has been used at the international, collegiate and
club levels for a number of years, and, this past year, 10 states
experimented with its use at the high school level. Acting on positive
feedback from these 10 state associations, the Volleyball Rules
Committee agreed to approve its use across the board.
"The libero is used at all levels of volleyball," said Cynthia
Doyle, assistant director of the NFHS and liaison to the Volleyball
Rules Committee. "It has improved the caliber of play, and it allows
for greater on-court involvement by the team's best defensive
The committee approved two additional rules changes - one regarding
the umpire's responsibilities with the lineup card and another
clarifying the limitations of a back-row player.
Rule 5-4-3b (16) was revised to delete the requirement of the umpire to
record illegal player equipment, uniform warnings, penalties and
disqualifications for unsportsmanlike conduct on the lineup card.
"Although the umpire is required to use a lineup card to check the
lineup, the umpire is no longer required to record illegal equipment or
unsportsmanlike conduct violations on the card," Doyle said. "The
umpire is required to report illegal equipment and unsportsmanlike
conduct violations to the scorer, who records these violations in the
official scorebook. The committee determined it was unnecessary to
record this information on the lineup card."
Regarding a back-row player, Rule 9-5-4 was revised to state that if
the ball is hit back into a back-row player whose hands are below the
height of the net, it is ruled as the team's first hit/contact.
In addition, hand signal No. 2 in the Official Volleyball Signals was
changed from an open hand to pointing a finger at the line.
Another rule that was passed by the committee last year takes effect
this coming volleyball season. Beginning with the 2005-06 season, the
standard official's uniform for high school volleyball will include
an all-white, short-sleeved collared polo shirt, instead of an
alternating black-and-white vertically striped, knit shirt. Other
requirements for the officials uniform remain the same: black slacks
and solid black athletic shoes and black socks.
Volleyball is the third-most popular sport for girls at the high school
level, with 396,322 participants, according to the 2003-04 NFHS High
School Athletics Participation Survey. It also ranks third in school
sponsorship for girls with 14,181 high schools offering the sport. In
addition, a total of 40,093 boys participated in volleyball in 2003-04
at 1,683 schools.
Volleyball World Wide
Since 1994, the oldest, and largest, internet site dedicated to the
sport of volleyball.