Rules, Inner Tube Water Polo

Inner Tube Water Polo
Rules of the Game

All inner tube water polo games are played in Schlessman Natatorium. All teams will be scheduled into a double-elimination tournament with each team guaranteed at least two games.


  • All players must check-in with the officials or supervisor on duty and be on a valid roster before they are allowed to play.
  • A player may only play for ONE team. Failure to observe this rule will result in a forfeit.
  • Teams may add players to their roster up until the start of their second game.
    • However, that player must not have played for another team during the same season.


  • Six (6) players are allowed in the pool for each team.
  • Teams can use 5 players and 1 goalie, or you can pull the goalie to have 6 attackers.
  • Only one team member can play the goalie position at any one time.
  • To change goalies, the original goalie must be removed by substitution.


  • Teams must have at least TWO members of any under-represented gender(s) in the pool at all times.
  • Male-identifying players are only allowed to catch, throw, manipulate, or maneuver the ball with one (1) hand at a time.
    • Referees will whistle the play dead and possession will be awarded to the other team if a male-identifying player touches the ball with two hands at once.
  • Both female-identifying players and goalies are allowed to use two hands when playing the ball.


  • The game consists of two 20-minute halves.
  • Play begins with a "swim-off." Both teams begin by touching their respective back walls of their end of the pool. The referee will start play by throwing the ball into the center of the pool, and both teams will race to it for possession. 
  • The clock will run for the entire duration of the game -- no stop time.
  • Half time will be five minutes long.
  • In the case of a tie, a five-minute sudden death overtime will be played.
  • Each team is allowed 1 sixty-second time outs per half.
    • Time outs do not carry over if they are not used in their designated half.


  • A forfeit will be assessed to any team for the following:
    • Not showing up for a scheduled game within 10 minutes of the scheduled start time.
    • Not having a minimum number of participants required to compete (one minus the official number to play.)
    • Not calling 24 hours in advance to reschedule a game.
    • Playing with an ineligible player.
    • Not observing the mandatory co-ed rule.
  • Forfeits are "one and done" meaning, once a forfeit occurs your team will be removed from the tournament.


  • Open substitutions are in effect and can be made at any time during regulation play.
  • Substitutions will occur at the corner of the pool nearest each team's bench.
  • The player leaving the pool must touch the wall of the pool before his/her/their substitute may enter the water.
  • All substitutes must have checked in with an official or supervisor to verify they are on the roster before they are allowed to play.


  • All players must remain sitting in or on their tubes at all times, goalkeepers included.
    • Consciously exiting a tube will result in a 2-minute penalty and change of possession (if applicable).
    • During the 2-minute penalty, the penalized team will play one player short for the entire length of the penalty; substitutions for the penalized player are not permitted.
  • Players are not allowed to grab, hold, or put weight on opposing team members' bodies or tubes.
    • This applies both in the middle of play and away from the ball.
    • Any of these actions will result in a 2-minute penalty and change of possession (if applicable).
  • If the ball goes completely out of the pool, possession will be awarded to the team that did not touch it last.
  • A goal is awarded if the entire ball crosses the plane of the goal.
  • After a goal is awarded, teams must return to their respective ends of the pool.
    • To commence play, the ball will be given to the scored-on-goalie and then the whistle will be blown to re-start the game.
  • All players are required to wear water polo helmets, which will be provided at the pool, and the chin straps must be securely tied.
    • Goalies will be identified by a different colored helmet.
  • Shots are prohibited from being taken within the "goalie box".
    • Shots taken within this area will not be counted towards the final score.
  • Absolutely no food or drink is allowed on the pool deck.
    • This includes any and all water bottles or Nalgenes, etc.


Report an issue - Last updated: 03/16/2022


Director of Recreation & Fitness Center

Campus Rec Athletic Trainer

Assistant Director - Fitness Center