Intramural Water Polo

Icon of green and gold players playing water polo.

Water Polo-specific Rules

  1. Number of players in the pool is 7; 4 men and 3 women. Minimum starting ratio is 3 men and 1 woman.
  2. Mercy Rule: Any game will end when one team is up 10 goals.
  3. Game regulation time will be 4 eight minute quarters. 2 minutes between quarters. Teams change ends each half. There are no time outs. The clock will stop for injuries.
  4. Goal Keeper area: From end of pool out five feet and entire width of the playing area. No other player is permitted in this area other than the goalie for safety reasons. All players with the exception of the goalie, must be seated in their tube. Goalkeepers may not stand on, hold, or push off goal cage to make a save or contact the ball. Goal will be awarded if infraction occurs.
  5. Penalty area: 20 feet from the end of the pool or 15 feet from Goal Keeper area line.


  • Scoring: One point for each goal scored; 2 points for a female; no score if goal is made from within five feet from end of pool; after goal is scored, opposing team is awarded ball by way of the goalie; ball in play on officials whistle.
  • Overtime Periods: When the game ends in a tied score sudden death is played immediately after the conclusion of regulation time. If a goal is not scored within the first 3 minutes of overtime, teams change ends. Play resumes for another sudden death period.
  • Drop Ball: Thrown ball by official into center of pool to start the game and at the start of each quarter. Players on each team must be in position in respective goal area back of the pool before the ball is thrown. Three passes must occur before a goal can be shot.
  • Free Throw: After minor infraction, non-violation team member nearest spot of infraction puts ball into play by passing or advancing with ball. Opponents may not touch, impede, or interfere with their attempt to pass the ball.
  • Out of Bounds Ball: A free-throw from the same point the ball went out will be awarded to the opposing team; player nearest to where the ball went out takes the throw.
  • Penalty Throw: By member of offensive team who has been fouled inside the penalty area line (12 feet from end of pool); all players except Goal Keeper must leave penalty area until the throw is taken. No player may be within 1 yard of thrower.
  • Delay of Game: If any player who possesses the ball doesn’t pass within 10 seconds, the ball will be awarded to opposing team for stalling.

Minor Infractions

Penalty-losing possession of the ball to other team by a Free Throw:

  1. Holding onto pool wall while in possession of ball.
  2. Holding the ball under water. Goal tender throwing the ball more than half
    the length of pool while he/she is in the goal area. They may throw the ball any
    distance when outside the goal area as they are the same status as any other player.
  3. Offensive or defensive player inside the goal area other than the goalie is penalized by being out of the pool for one minute.
  4. Opposing team member not making an attempt to get to half line after a goal is scored.

Major Infractions

  1. Holding, pushing, hitting, jumping on, tackling, dunking, or dumping an opponent player not having possession of the ball. If this occurs within the penalty area, a direct throw at the goal is awarded plus one personal foul penalty is assessed and an indirect free throw.
  2. Goal keeper holding on to side of pool or goal cage while catching or throwing ball.
  3. Player persistently repeating a minor infraction, even after a referee warning.
  4. Intentional splashing to gain advance.

Personal Fouls

  1. Free throw is awarded to the nearest opponent or a penalty throw at goal if the foul occurs in the penalty area
  2. Offending defensive player out of the pool and in penalty box for one  minute.
  3. Offensive foul results in a “turnover”.

Major Fouls

Penalty-Offending player shall be removed from the game for the remainder of the game. They may be replaced by a substitute.

  1. Player attacking, striking, or kicking an opponent in such a manner as in the opinion of the referee, to endanger their opponent in any way; deliberately throwing the ball at an opponent with the intent of injury.
  2. Flagrantly refusing obedience to referees' request.
  3. Exhibiting unsportsmanlike conduct.

The UAA IM Innertube Water Polo League also abides by all general Rules for Intramural and Club Sports.