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Inner Tube Water Polo
Rules of the Game

All inner tube water polo games are played in Schlessman Natatorium. League play is organized in accordance with a round robin format. Final season rankings will be determined by 1) winning percentage, 2) head to head play, 3) point differential, and/or 4) a tie-breaker. The top teams in each division will advance to a single elimination tournament to determine the overall champion.


  • 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.
  • Teams may add players to their roster up until the last game of round robin play.
    • However, that player must not have played for another team during the same season.
  • Players may not "jump" leagues or teams. Failure to observe this rule will result in a forfeit.
  • Roster changes are permitted throughout the regular season.
    • However, any names added to your roster may not be listed on another roster.
    • Your roster will be considered "frozen" as soon as the post-season tournament starts.


  • 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.
  • In the case of a tie, a five-minute sudden death overtime will be played.
  • The clock will run for the entire duration of the game.
  • Half times will be five minutes long.
  • Play begins with a "swim-off": Both teams begin by touching the back wall at 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.
  • 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
    • 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 season and/or tournament.


  • Open substitutions are in effect and can be made at any time during regulation play.
  • They 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 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 that time, 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 sides of the pool.
    • To commence play the ball will be given to the scored on goalie then the whistle will be blown.
  • All players are required to wear water polo helmets, which will be provided at the pool.
    • 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 included any and all water bottles or nalgenes.

Report an issue - Last updated: 12/17/2020


Director of Recreation & Fitness Center

Special Assistant to the Director of Recreation