Rules & Regulations

HOA Sanctioned Events

HOA & USA Volleyball provide a structure for junior volleyball competition.  There are two separate seasons for competition, an indoor season and an outdoor season.

Events that are sanctioned by HOA have to meet standard requirements, like IMPACT certified, Safesport certified, and background screened coaches. Tournament directors have to follow certain procedures that help to ensure quality events.

Clubs are either an indoor or an outdoor club. An outdoor club can be run by the same administration as an indoor club. The same name can be used for the outdoor club as for the indoor club with the distinction “beach”, “outdoor” or “sand”. For administrative purposes the clubs will be considered separate clubs.

Players are not bound to an indoor club if they want to play for an outdoor club and may play with any outdoor club during the sanctioned season. The exception is that players that are on the roster of a team that is going to the indoor junior National Championships, need a release from the indoor club in order to participate with an outdoor club.

Indoor Season
The indoor season runs from September 1 until August 31
During this time frame, the following activities are sanctioned by HOA:
1. Scheduled practices by an HOA approved club. Participants are all members of that club and registered with HOA. At all times during a practice there is an Impact and SafeSport certified, registered and background screened adult coach present. All participating adults have to be registered and background screened. A practice is defined as having at least 3 players and a coach, registered with the same club, to be present.
2. Scrimmages between 2 fully registered and approved HOA teams during the indoor season as defined above. An IMPACT and SafeSport certified and HOA registered and background screened adult coach has to be present at all times during the scrimmage.
3. All tournaments that are posted on the HOA tournament calendar.
4. Tryouts posted on the HOA website that are held, starting the second weekend of July.
5. Open gyms, posted on the HOA website
6. All other events that are explicitly sanctioned, in writing, by the HOA office. Typically all sanctioned events are posted on the HOA website.

Outdoor Season
The Outdoor Season runs from May 1 till August 31
During this time frame, the following activities are sanctioned by HOA:
1. Scheduled practices by an HOA approved club. Participants are all members of the club and registered with HOA. At all times of a practice there is an Impact certified, registered and background screened adult coach present. All participating adults have to be registered and background screened.
2. All tournaments and leagues that are posted on the HOA tournament calendar.
3. All other events that are explicitly sanctioned, in writing, by the HOA office. Typically all sanctioned events are posted on the HOA website.

Other Events
Any other events, clinics, camps, tryouts, open gyms, private lessons etc. that are organized by HOA affiliated clubs, groups or individuals are outside the scope and regulations of Heart of America Volleyball. These events are not sanctioned, regulated nor covered by insurance by Heart of America Volleyball or USA Volleyball.

Open Gym Policies:
Open Gyms are allowed so players, after their school season is over, can retain their volleyball skills for HOA tryouts. Here are approved additions to the current HOA policy for Open Gyms:

  • Only registered HOA members are allowed to participate in Open Gyms. All participants will need proof of their membership by bringing their individual membership card to the open gym. Clubs/facility managers will need to check the membership cards.
  • Coaches shall be facilitators only. There shall be no individual or group instruction. Coaches may set up drills or controlled scrimmage situations.
  • Players attending Open Gym shall be afforded similar playing time.
  • Players are not to be divided into skill levels, only into general age groups.
  • Parents should be allowed to watch, unless space prevents.
  • The maximum fee charged to players is $10.
  • The maximum length of an open gym is 2 hours.

Sanctioned Tryouts

  1. Notification to HOA: Clubs need to notify HOA in writing their intend to have sanctioned tryouts. No tryouts will be sanctioned and posted unless the club rep is a registered HOA member (all forms, fees need to be submitted and background screen completed).
  2. Clubs must post and announce at the beginning of all tryouts (i.e., the day of tryouts) the number of playing spots open for tryouts for each age division.
  3. Length and times of Tryouts: Sanctioned tryouts are limited to a maximum of 3 hours.
  4. Club Information Needed for Tryouts: Regardless of whether your club has one team or several teams, as much information as possible should be provided about your club to all prospective players. This should include a statement of the club mission, philosophy and any pertinent policies. Clubs are asked to include notification of applicable club fees within an approximate (+/-) $150 to all prospective players as part of their tryout schedule.
  5. Tryout Fees: Clubs may not charge more than $15 per participant for tryouts.

General Eligibility Information for membership
Heart of America Region USA Volleyball membership is not automatic. The region may NOT grant membership to individuals / clubs that have been convicted of a felony, or have outstanding sanctions imposed by this or other regions of USAV. Membership may be terminated if the above conditions are found to exist. Individuals that cannot pass the standards of the USA Volleyball backgrounds screen policies will not be allowed to participate in Junior Volleyball activities within USA Volleyball.

  1. All sanctioned tournaments in the Heart of America Region will be conducted under the player and club/team eligibility rules under USAV Definitions and Requirements
  2. In order to be considered a registered player in the Heart of America Region, the Region office must have received all fees and the online registration and all other requirements must be completed.
  3. The Heart of America region sponsors sanctioned events all year long. A person must be a currently registered member of USAV to participate in a sanctioned event.
  4. A junior player may register and play on one and only one club/team during the USAV season. EXCEPTIONS: See DUAL REGISTRATION and PLAYER TRANSFERS TO ANOTHER CLUB/TEAM (see below).
  5. All adult participants involved with junior competition (coaches, parent members, tournament directors, officials etc.) must have passed a USA Volleyball background screen and be SafeSport certified.
  6. All junior coaches have to be IMPACT or CAP certified, have current SafeSport certification and have completed mandated officiating clinics.
  7. To be an official coach for junior competition, you have to be 18 years of age. A registered and approved adult coach has to be present at any HOA sanctioned activity, including practices.

Dual Registration
A Junior player may not be registered with, or represent more than one junior club at any time, with the exception of a junior player, who is 18 years of age and coaches for a different club than the 18 and under team he/she plays for. A Junior player is allowed to be a Student Assistant for another club than he/she is registered with.
Adults may be a member of more than one club (coach for more than one Junior club or play on an adult team and coach a Junior team, etc.). Only one registration is required.

HOA Recruiting Policy

The purpose HOA’s recruiting policy (the “Recruiting Policy”) is to eliminate the negative consequences that occur when teams begin communicating with players about the upcoming season before the player’s current season is complete. This type of conduct is unfair to all involved and impairs the performance of HOA teams and players at important late season tournaments. The Recruiting Policy will allow players to enjoy their current season in its entirety by restricting all recruiting communications until the end of the season.

1. Responsible Parties. This Recruiting Policy applies to all registered players, parents, coaches, and club administrators, or anyone acting on their behalf (each referred to as a “Responsible Party” or collectively as “Responsible Parties”).

Responsible Parties are required to comply with the Recruiting Policy and educate those they encounter about the Recruiting Policy. For example, Club administrators are responsible for communicating the Recruiting Policy to coaches and teams that operated under the Club; Coaches are responsible for communicating the Recruiting Policy to all player and family members associated with a team. Players are responsible for communicating HOA’s Recruiting Policy to family members and friends.

2. Recruiting Activities. A “Recruiting Activities” involves any form of direct or indirect communication with an HOA member regarding the current or future team/club membership of the Member or any other member that occurs during the Restricted Period (defined below), including but not limited to, direct or indirect communications with ANY current player regarding a guaranteed spot on a team for next year’s season, or an indication to a player that they do NOT have a spot on a team for next year’s season before Junior Nationals or before a team’s club season is complete

3. Reporting Obligations. Players with direct knowledge of perceived Recruiting Activities violations involving them must report the incident through the HOA online reporting system. Anonymous or third-party reports are also not allowed. Reports by phone or email will NOT be accepted.

Disregard or failure to report first-hand knowledge of potentially improper Recruiting Activities may subject the player to sanctions for the actions of others, including but not limited to, parents, relatives or other persons.

4. Permitted Recruiting Period starts the Second Weekend in July for girls and the Fourth Weekend in July for boys. Each player has a Permitted Recruiting Period for Recruiting Activities which begins at 8:00 a.m. on the second weekend (Girls) or fourth weekend (Boys) of July each year and remains open until a player commits to play on a particular team for the upcoming season in accordance with Paragraph 7 below.

During the Permitted Recruiting Period, a Responsible Party may contact any player to discuss plans or options for the upcoming season.

The Only Exception to the Second Weekend (Girls) or Fourth Weekend (Boys) in July: If a team does not qualify to attend Nationals, then the team that the player is registered with for the season, or the team’s club, may communicate with the player about the upcoming season AFTER the team completes its last tournament of the current season. The communications may include a verbal offer to play for a particular team for the next season, however no acceptances are allowed until the Wednesday after the Recruiting Start Date in accordance with paragraph 7. Stated differently, the ONLY recruiting allowed prior to the Second Weekend (Girls) or Fourth Weekend (Boys) in July is recruiting that occurs within a club and AFTER the player’s team completes its last tournament of the season. Any communication that would require a player to change their current club affiliation remains restricted until the Second Weekend in July for girls and the fourth weekend in July for boys, or thereafter.

5. New Players. If a player is not registered to play with a club or team for the current season (“Non-HOA Player”), then anyone may talk to the Non-HOA Player about the upcoming season, however, any tryouts, offers and/or acceptances must be accordance with Paragraph 7.

If it is unclear whether a player is a member of a HOA club or team during the current season, then it is permissible for a Responsible Party to ask the player if they are a current member of a HOA club or team. If the player confirms that they are a member of a HOA club or team for the current season, then any further Recruiting Activities must cease until the Permitted Recruiting Period begins.

6. Extra Volleyball Activities. During the current season, Responsible Parties may communicate with players who belong to another club IF the sole purpose of the communication is to create a team (“Multi-Club Team”) to participate in a specific league or tournament (“Extra Volleyball Activities”) that will occur during the current season.

When a Multi-Club Team is created for Extra Volleyball Activities, all communications about the players’ current or future club/team membership unrelated to the Multi-Club Team remain subject to the restrictions against Recruiting Activities.

7. Tryouts, Offers & Acceptance.

Recruiting Start Date.  A club/team/coach (“Recruiting Entity”) may begin open-tryouts, invite-only tryouts and/or private tryouts for the next season for all girl players starting on the second Saturday of July (“Recruiting Start Date”). A club/team/coach (“Recruiting Entity”) may begin open-tryouts, invite-only tryouts and/or private tryouts for the next season for all boy players starting on the fourth Saturday of July (“Recruiting Start Date”).

Offers. At any time after the Recruiting Start Date, a Recruiting Entity may communicate a written (electronic) offer to any player for a position on a specific team’s roster.  Any offer conveyed after Recruiting Start Date must remain unconditionally available for acceptance by the player through 11:59 PM on the Friday after the Recruiting Start Date.  This seven-day period shall be known as the Mandatory Open-Offer Period.  At the end of the Mandatory Open-Offer Period, all unaccepted outstanding offers will expire and the Recruiting Entities may issue new offers that include an expiration date of no less than 24 hours.

Acceptance/Rejection.  A player cannot accept an offer prior to 12:01 AM on the Wednesday following the Recruiting Start Date (“First Available Acceptance Date”).  A player may reject an offer at any time after it is received and should do so as a courtesy to the Recruiting Entity if the player is not considering acceptance of the offer.  After expiration of the Mandatory Open Offer Period, any offer must be accepted prior to any expiration date included with the Recruiting Entity’s offer.  A player’s acceptance or rejection must be communicated to the Recruiting Entity in writing (or electronically).

HOA is not a party to the agreement between a player and a club. However, it is recommended that practice and tournament expectations as well as estimated costs be communicated with any offer so that the player can make a reasonably informed decision.

8. Deceptive and Dishonest Conduct. The Recruiting Policy is intended to protect the interest of HOA players. Any activities that attempt to circumvent the intent of the Recruiting Policy will be subject to sanctions without warning. For example, special invitation Open Gyms are not allowed. Open gyms must be communicated via a website or social media at least 72 hrs in advance.

If a Responsible Party engages in conduct that might be viewed by others as an attempt to circumvent the intent of the Recruiting Policy, then HOA will fully investigate the matter and impose sanctions on ALL Responsible Parties involve as appropriate.

If you are considering an activity that is not specifically authorized under the Recruiting Policy or might be viewed by others as an attempt to circumvent the intent of the Recruiting Policy, then it is highly recommended that you contact HOA for pre-approval of the activity to avoid unexpected consequences.

9. Violations and Sanctions. HOA’s investigation into improper Recruiting Activities, and determination as to whether violations have occurred, will be at the sole discretion of HOA Staff and Board of Directors based on the specificity and severity of the facts reported.

If HOA determines that Recruiting Activities occurred outside a player’s Permitted Recruiting Period, then HOA will impose sanctions against all Responsible Parties involved. Sanctions may include monetary fines, team/player tournament suspensions, or revocation of HOA membership. HOA reserves the right to impose sanctions against HOA members

based on actions of non-members if appropriate under the circumstances.

HOA reserves the right to impose any sanction(s) it deems appropriate under the circumstances. The following are examples intended only to illustrate the significance that HOA places in the enforcement of this Recruiting Policy.

Player Violation

1st Violation


NOTE: If the violation does not come to light until after the regular club season and the player is enrolled in the NEW club when the violation due process is completed, then that player may NOT participate in any USAV/HOA practice or tournament through January of the following season.

2nd Violation


Coach Violation

1st Violation


2nd Violation


Player Transfer to Another Club
In some circumstances it may be in everybody’s interest for a player to transfer from one club to another. To make a formal transfer, the following is required:

  • A release from the club director of the club the player is leaving
  • An acceptance from the club director of the club the player is moving to
  • A note from the parents of the player, agreeing to the transfer
  • A ten ($10) dollar transfer fee

Once all notes and fees have been received by the HOA office, the transfer will be considered. All notes can be submitted by email to:

Under National USA Volleyball rules, players can only play in National Qualifying events for one club. The HOA Powerleague and the Premier Regional Championships are National Qualifying events. If a player has played in the Powerleague for a club, they no longer can play in a National Qualifier or in the Premier Regional Championships for another club.

Borrowing Players from other teams

Many clubs have more than one team. The advantage is that teams can use players from other teams within the club to fill their rosters, if needed. There are some restrictions:

  1. Teams can borrow age eligible players from other teams within the same club as long as it is: (a) Premier to Premier, (b) Select to Select, (c) Select to Premier, (d) Premier to Select-only if the player plays two age levels up from the current age definition year (not the age level they are rostered on).
  2. No player can play in 2 different age divisions in any of the Power League Qualifiers.
  3. No player can play in 2 different age divisions in any of the Power Leagues.

Violation of these rules will result in forfeiture of all matches in a tournament in which an illegal player was put on the roster/played. Other sanctions may apply also.

No junior players can be borrowed from other clubs!

A club may enter more than one team in a tournament, but an individual player may compete (play) for only one of the teams in that tournament.

Once a female junior player has participated in a GJNC qualifying event (Regional or National), she may not be on the Official Roster of, or participate in, another GJNC qualifying or championship event with a different club. (Regional GJNC qualifying events are Powerleague and Premier Region Championships)

Violation of these rules will result in forfeiture of all matches in a tournament in which an illegal player was put on the roster/played and possible further sanctions.

Coaching Certification
All USAV Junior Coaches must be IMPACT or CAP certified. IMPACT clinics are all done online. All Junior Coaches are required to have a current SafeSport certification. Coaches will also have to meet all HOA Officiating requirements.

Tournament play
Junior teams cannot compete in the Junior Regional Championships (Select and Premier) in any other division than their assigned level. A Select level team cannot compete in the Premier Regional Championships. No team can play on an older age division in these events.

In tournaments other than the Regional Championships and the HOA region Powerleagues, teams are allowed to register in a higher age division or level, with the following exceptions:

  1. Premier level teams cannot play in Select level tournaments, one age up (a 14 Premier team cannot play in a 15 Select tournament, they can register for a 15 Premier or 16 Select level tournament).
    2. Premier level tournaments require that 2 out of 3 teams in the tournament are Premier level teams in the correct age division.

Up till March 1, club directors can request a change of level between Premier and Select for a team. The HOA director will decide if the results warrants honoring the request.

Male Junior Players
With restrictions, Boy’s teams up to 14 and under can compete in girl’s tournaments in Combined and Select level events, since there are not enough boy’s teams in parts of the HOA region to provide a separated competition. Male players up to 14 and under can play on Female teams in regional competition only (Combined and Select level events).

  • Boys up to 12 and under can play on girl’s teams in Select and Combined tournaments in their own age divisions (a 12 and under boy can play on a 12 and under girls Select level team). Boy’s teams 12 and younger can play in Select and Combined girl’s tournaments in their own age group.
  • Boys 13 and 14 and under can play on a girl’s team, but have to play up one or more age divisions. For example:  a 14 and under age boy, can play on a 15 Select girl’s team. Male players cannot compete in girls Premier division tournaments or be rostered on Premier level teams.
  • Boy’s teams 13 and older can no longer play in girls tournament
  • Boy’s teams 15 and over, or individual male player that no longer qualify for the 14 and under age group (under girls age eligibility rules) cannot participate in girl’s competition.

Tournament Entry and Withdrawal
Team representatives are responsible for insuring that their team is in the tournament. If you are not on a schedule, or have received other notification from the tournament director, do not assume that you are entered. Do not just show up on the tournament date.
Teams failing to appear on the tournament date, regardless of reason, shall forfeit all entry fees. (Inclement weather is not a valid reason for failure to appear)
For a team to receive a refund of the tournament entry fee, after being accepted into a tournament, the team will have to provide at least three weeks written notice to the tournament director. The written notice has to be received by the tournament director no later than noon on the Friday three weeks prior to the tournament.
If a tournament director places a team in a different division than the team signed up for, the team need to be notified. The team will have the right to withdraw from the tournament and the tournament entry fee refunded.

Tournament Officiating Responsibility
In the age groups 10 thru 14, the Head or Assistant Coach will have to be the Up official for his/her team. This applies to all matches in which a team is assigned officiating duties and no paid official is provided.
In the age groups 15 thru 18, the Head or Assistant Coach will either be the R1, the R2 or the active Scorer.

Tournament Credentials
All HOA coaches, student assistants and parent reps will be issued credentials for the season

  1. The only adults that can be on the bench during competition are wearing their green coaches credentials.
  2. The only parents that can help with the scorekeeping and check balls are wearing their red parent membership credentials
  3. Junior Assistants are older age kids that help out with younger teams. They cannot be official coaches and cannot be the up-official for the age groups 14 and below. They are allowed to be on the bench if they are on the roster and wear the proper (blue) credentials.

Tournament Rules of Play
Tournament play shall be governed by the rules as prescribed in the USAV Domestic Competition Regulations. Exceptions for Select and Combined level tournaments only:

  1. Teams are allowed to play with 5 players. A “ghost” player will be used in the line up
  2. Age groups 12 and younger will use a step-in-line for serving. The step-in line will be 6’6” from the end line.

In single day in-region tournament, no tiebreaking sets will be played unless all tiebreakers are exhausted and no conclusion has been reached. Teams will be eliminated on points from continuing to playoffs if needed.

Penalty for illegal uniform
A 5-point penalty per set shall be assessed against a team playing in illegal uniforms, regardless of the number of illegal uniforms on the court. This penalty will be applied for every set in which illegal uniforms are used. The officiating team shall assess the penalty automatically and any appeal will be made to the tournament director. This rule will be enforced at all sanctioned tournaments within the Heart of America Region, including the Regional Championships.

Tournament Requirements
Single days tournaments on Sundays are limited to a maximum of 4 teams per court. Saturday tournament may have up to 5 teams per court.
All tournament directors need to be fully registered and background screen. All tournament directors have to complete an online training every year.
If a tournament director runs multiple sites, every site needs to have a site manager who is fully registered, SafeSport certified and background screened.
Tournament directors and site managers are not allowed to coach a team that participates in the tournament.
Tournament directors are required to enter all tournament results, after completion of the event, in the HOA Online tournament system.
Unless special permission is received, before the event, in writing from HOA, teams must be guaranteed a minimum of eight (8) sets to twenty-one (21) points in a one day tournament (6 sets for half day tournaments).

The losing team from a playoff match will officiate the next playoff match. Teams that are eliminated from Play-off competition, cannot be assigned to officiate play-off matches.
The warm up procedure to be followed for all HOA sanctioned tournament is 2 minutes shared ball handling, each team on one side of the net. After that, there will be 4 minutes court time for the serving team, followed by 4 minutes court time for the receiving team. The 10 minutes warm up time starts immediately after the teams from the previous match have shaken hands.

Combined Level Tournaments
Combined tournaments are not allowed in the following counties:
Missouri: Buchanan, Cass, Clay, Clinton, Jackson, Johnson, Lafayette, Platte, Ray.
Kansas: Atchison, Douglas, Franklin, Jefferson, Johnson, Leavenworth, Miami, Osage, Shawnee, Wyandotte.

Possession of Alcohol or Illegal Drugs by Club/Team Members
Any player or persons affiliated with a team, discovered with any alcoholic beverage or illegal drugs within a tournament facility, will be immediately disqualified for the remainder of that tournament.

Heart of America Volleyball does not allow the use of E-cigarettes inside facilities that are used for HOA competitions. Since it can be hard to distinguish certain models of e-cigarettes from regular cigarettes and the health impact of e-cigarettes is not clear at this point in time, we think that people need to use these devices outside or in designated smoking areas if available.