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This is a clipped posting from rec.sport.volleyball in April of 1999. Here, USA Volleyball national referee Jim McMath gives some explanation as to why we have so many rule books for volleyball here in the USA. This email is published here with Jim's permission, and he retains copyright on this material.

To answer your question of why the US has three different sets of
rules, you have to go back to the beginnings of volleyball.

When Morgan created the game, it like basketball, grew out of the YMCA
which catered towards adults.  USA Volleyball, formally United States
Volleyball Association (USVBA), is the National Governing Body (NGB)
for volleyball and until the mid 1970s catered to adult play.  In the
mid to late 70's USVBA started a grass roots campaign to bring the
game to teenagers and preteens.  USVBA started its Junior Olympic
Championships which are held every year around the 4th of July.  With
the Junior Olympic movement, many boys and girls club teams have
developed throughout the US.

However, before USVBA got involved with the Junior Olympic movement,
two other organizations were developing the rules for Women's
Collegiate and High School Volleyball.  The National Association of
Girls and Women's in Sports (NAGWS) has written the women's collegiate
rulebook for several decades.  Before the National Collegiate Athletic
Association (NCAA) absorbed controll of all collegiate Division I, II,
and III women's athletics in the early 80's, another organization
called the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW)
controlled all women's collegiate sports.  There is another
organization called the National Association of Intercollegiate
Athletics (NAIA) that respresents a small percentage of Division II
and III men's and women's programs, but around 90% of US colleges and
Universities subscribe to NCAA.  The NAGWS was closely affiliated with
AIAW and wrote all the rule books for volleyball, basketball, soccer,
field hockey, gymnastics, etc.  Overtime, the NCAA adopted its own
rules for these sports so that only the women's volleyball rulebook is
written by NAGWS.  The NAGWS rule committe is made up of college
representatives, officials representatives and high school
representatives.  The rule committee chair is always from a college
(women's coach or women's athletic director).  Over the years, the
NAGWS rules have slowly merged with USAV rules, so that only minor
differences exist.

The organization that represents the majority of high school sports in
the US is the National Federation of State High School Associations
(NFSHSA).  As with NAGWS, NFSHSA developed over the decades to come up
with a unified set of rules for all high school sports.  Unlike NAGWS,
NFSHSA has been much slower to adopt FIVB/USAV rule changes.

Both NAGWS and NFSHSA profess the educational environment of sports,
something that USAV does not have to profess, thus some of the rules
differences have to deal with sportsmanship in an educational setting.
Also like any organization, politics play a role.  Neither NAGWS or
NFSHSA wants to willingly give up their control to the NGB.  I'm sure
if you look at the Volleyball Canada rulebook and the Canadian
Intercollegiate Athletic Union (CIAU) rules, there are bound to be
some minor differences in the context of an educational setting.

By the way, next year USAV will be adopting many of the FIVB rule
changes such as rally scoring in all games, changing the referee
mechanics to determining the next team to serve before identifying the
fault and player that caused the fault, and going to the international
score sheet, and use of the Libero for Open level competition.

Jim McMath
USAV National Referee
PAVO State Referee

Jim also adds....

From: "Jim McMath" 
To: "Todd" 
Subject: Re: Why all the rules?
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 1999 12:18:27 -0400

Hi Todd,

I have no problem with you wanting to use the information.  I would
point out that it is a compilation of my own observations and opinion,
not necessarily the views of the various organizations.  The
information was gleened from past experience with NAGWS and USAV; and
from multiple posts on rsv about NFSHSA.  For completeness, it should
also be pointed out the USAV has two non voting members on the NAGWS
rules committe and that NAGWS, AAU, NAIA, NFSHSA, NCAA, AVCA, and
NJCAA have voting members on the USAV Rules of the Game Committee.


Jim McMath

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