We’ve had reports of a couple of coaches questioning Rule 9-3-3a where a ball is called out of bounds if it completely crosses the plane of the center line extension outside of either antenna.  At one time in NCAA rules, a ball could be retrieved and brought back outside the antenna and play continued, and this was called the “pursuit rule.”  This rule was discontinued in college several years ago.  Technically, the pursuit rule still exists in club volleyball, but very few courts and gyms have the required space to have the rule, so it’s nearly non-existent.  High school rules have been consistent over the years and have not allowed pursuit to occur.

Here is video and a good example of the ball entirely crossing the center line extension in front of the R2 and the referees making the proper call.

This is a good item to pre-match with your partner.  As you can see, even though the R2 is right in front of where the ball was played, actually the R1 might actually have the better angle to see whether or not the ball completely crosses the plane of the net outside the antenna.  Sometimes there is a line on the floor (maybe a basketball half court line that extends beyond the pole) that can help you determine if the ball is entirely across the plane and sometimes there isn’t.  Some referees will pre-match that if the ball is near or behind the R2, then the R1 will determine if that ball should be blown dead.  Likewise, sometimes it might be better for a ball behind the R1 to be potentially be blown dead by the R2 based on the angle.  Again, you and your partner will have to determine your comfort level with one another in who makes those calls during your pre-match discussion.


When the R2 signals a net (or center line) violation, remember the R2 whistles and then gives the net violation signal (or center line violation signal, if applicable) FIRST, then the point is awarded by the R1.  The referees in this video do a very good job of following the appropriate signal sequence:

The sequence for R2 is:  whistle, signal net violation, give the player number to the R1, then mimic the point signal from the R1.  If there is a center line violation, it is not necessary to indicate the player number of the violator.

The sequence for R1 is:  award the point after R2 gives you the player number, then display the player number to the appropriate bench.  The R1 does not mimic the net violation signal from the R2.

Remember, if the R1 initiates the net violation call, the signal sequence is normal:  point signal, then net violation signal and the R2 mimics.

If you forgot how to display the player numbers properly, check out pages 96-97 in the NFHS Case Book/Officials Manual.