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woman throwing regulated water polo ball with red cap and black sport bathing suit

College Level Water Polo Requires Five Balls for Each Game

Water polo is a team water sport. The game consists of 4 quarters in which the two teams attempt to score goals by throwing the ball into their opposition’s goal, with the team that scores the most goals winning the game. A team consists of 6 field players and one goalkeeper in the water at any one time. In addition to this, teams may have substitute players, including up to one substitute goalkeeper. Water polo is typically played in an all-deep pool, and players need considerable stamina and endurance to play the game.

When it comes to water polo, there is one major difference, regarding the ball, between the 2007-08 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) rules and the 2007-08 National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) rules.

Balls (Rule 3-5)
NCAA: At least five, game-quality balls must be available for all games.
NFHS: Five game-quality balls must be available for all championship games and are recommended for all games.
The complete text of the 2007-2008 NCAA rule regarding the number of balls at a game is provided below:
Rule 3.  The Ball
Number
SECTION 5. At least five, game-quality balls must be available for all games. If there are goal judges, one ball shall be with the referee and at least two with each goal judge. If there are not goal judges, one ball shall be with the referee and two at each bench. If there are not ball boys/girls, the coach must have a team member from the bench immediately retrieve the ball if it goes out of bounds over the goal line. If the coach does not do this, the referee shall warn the coach and, at the next occurrence, shall give the coach a yellow card. A player in the field of play may retrieve the ball only if the player does not have to leave the field of play or with the permission of the referee. The use of goal judges is encouraged.

The complete text of the NHFS rule change issued for the 2007-2008 season follows:
Balls (Rule 3-5, page 86) – Five game-quality balls must be available for all championship games and are recommended for all games. If there are goal judges, one ball shall be with the referee and at least two with each goal judge. If there are not goal judges, one ball shall be with the referee and two at each bench, and if a ball goes out of bounds over the end line, the coach must have a team member from the bench immediately retrieve the ball. If the coach does not do this, the referee shall warn the coach and, at the next occurrence, give the coach a yellow card. A player in the field of play may retrieve the ball only if the player does not have to leave the field of play or with the permission of the referee. The use of goal judges is encouraged.

Rationale: This rule change will ensure that balls will be available for play.

References:
National Collegiate Athletic Association – www.ncaa.org
National Federation of State High School Association – www.nfhs.org
Photo – www.stanforddaily.com/2013/02/04/water-polo-wins-stanford-invitational-behind-yelizarova-baldoni/

About Sports Balls

Sports Balls is a group of sports enthusiasts interested in the official specifications of balls used as sports equipment. As hobbyists, we are continually amazed at the level of detail used to accomplish fair play.

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