There’s not a lot of new announcements this week.  The jamborees are completed, and we already have had some regular season matches, but enjoy this weekend because we start up in full force this week.

In case you don’t have matches this week, and still would like to see some volleyball before you begin your schedule, CLICK HERE for the Suburban Conference master schedule.

Also, here is the link to the GKCOA jamboree livestream in case you want to check this out prior to your first match.  There were several unique situations that occurred this year (wrong line up, substitution request delay), that are great to watch and learn how to administer.  Big thanks to referees Nicole Messick and Don Gard as well as MSHSAA rule interpreter Dixie Wescott and MSHSAA mechanics interpreter/observer Don Sleet for sharing their abilities and expertise for a great evening of learning.



  1. When confirming with Center HS, please confirm with Brad Sweeten, AD. They are looking for a new Admin Assistant.
  2.  This is the time of pre-season assigning that GKCOA see schools drop from C Gold and Silver to C Gold only. The C Silver assignments are replaced by Varsity Line Judge assignments. If officials see a C Gold assignment with a Varsity assignment and the slots still read Referee 1 and Umpire 1, please David and Don know so they can change to Line Judge 1 and Line Judge 2.
  3. Check your blocks on the following dates and advise Don and David VIA EMAIL to unblock a date.

    9/12, 16, 17, 19, 23, 24, 26, 30

    10/1, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 17, 19


    If we can find you a school that a closer drive for you, we will try to accommodate you for the above dates.


How do I get more assignments?

  1.  Go to Arbiter. Click on Blocks. If a date is Red or Pink, indicating it is blocked and you are still open, immediately contact Don and David by email. They can remove the Block and get you assigned.
  2. Send a weekly email reminder to Don and David of any upcoming open dates. GKCOA receives match changes and turn backs. Your proactive communication helps get these assignments filled faster.



If you are listed first (Referee 1) in Arbiter for any tournament, you have several responsibilities that you need to fulfill:

  1. Contact host school 2 weeks prior to tournament to secure details—number of courts, hospitality room, start time, administrator on duty, etc. Please also determine if abbreviated bracket matches will be used (non-varsity only).
  2. Contact David Thompson (JV and V tourneys) or Don Gard (all underclass tourneys) to determine partners, rotation, working finals, potential Line Judges for finals, etc.
  3. Contact entire crew 1 week prior to tourney to confirm their presence, arrival and start times, details on partners, etc.
  4. Ask each official to report back to you with the correct number of pool and bracket matches s/he worked. Please report this info to the Athletic Director or school costact person so that s/he may provide proper payment.
  5. If there are any changes from what shows on Arbiter, please report immediately to David/Don so that adjustments may be made.
  6. Meet with officials prior to the tournament to go over ground rules, safety issues, location of restrooms and hospitality room, administrator on duty.
  7. Have a great time with your fellow officials.



At last week’s GKCOA volleyball meeting, we spent a great deal of time talking about the coach’s #1 complaint about referees:  ball handling.  There are black and white obvious calls that need to be made and obvious non-calls.  However, it’s the gray area where we need to be better.  In the meeting, we called those “50/50 balls” where 50% of the time it could be called legal and 50% it could be called illegal.

In short, WE WILL NEVER TOTALLY 100% AGREE ACROSS THE BOARD AS TO WHAT IS ILLEGAL AND WHAT IS NOT!  What our stated goal is this season is to become better at our individual consistency.  What you choose to call needs to be the same from the first serve until the final whistle of each match where you are the first referee.  Once you enter the match and make a ball handling call, you have set your standard that you should abide by for the duration of the match.  Sounds easy, right?

What makes ball handling so difficult is all the factors that go into every possible decision–examples include:

  • Skills being performed
  • Which contact it is (1st vs. 2nd/3rd)
  • The angle at which you see the contact
  • The skill levels of the players
  • The age of the players
  • The experience of the referee
  • The pressure of the match
  • The behavior of the coaches
  • The involvement of the fans
  • The body position of the players
  • An unorthodox movement
  • Quality of the technique
  • Spin following the contact
  • Sound of the contact
  • Reaction to a contact from players, coaches, spectators

You need to think about all these factors long before you climb the stand in preparation for your first match this season!  The more solid your ball handling philosophy is (and how you will call those “50/50 balls,” the more likely your match will go smoothly.

What can you do to help yourself?

Do your best to watch the setters during the prematch warmup.  Yes, we have a lot of responsibilities before the match to check rosters, talk with line judges, find the administrator on duty, talk with the scorer’s table, etc. but all you need is to see a few sets from each setter to at least have a clue with what type of ball handling you may be dealing with that night.

Talk with your partner afterwards.  If you feel comfortable asking your partner flat out what he or she thought of your ball handling calls or non-calls, that is a very direct way to get feedback.

Watch other experienced officials.  There’s plenty of matches on TV nowadays plus with jamborees and matches starting up, try to get out and watch some ball handling decisions before you get on the stand to make your own calls!

WE WILL GET BETTER AND SHOW CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT WITH THIS SKILL!  Get better and don’t be satisfied.  Keep working hard so that we can show evidence to coaches that we are taking this seriously and improving the sport overall with our willingness to get better!



Do coaches have to write their line-up on the roster they gave us at the captains meeting? Or are they allowed to submit their line-up on another roster/line-up sheet?

ANSWER FROM DON SLEET:  The lineup can be submitted on any piece of paper.  It does not need to be on the same sheet as the roster.  It literally can be a partial sheet torn from a notebook.  Also, in accordance with Case Book play 7.1.3, the roster sheet may be taken from the scorer’s table once submitted in order to fill out the line up prior to the first set, like in subsequent sets.



Some confused players and coaches may come up to at the start of the season wearing jewelry and claiming that it’s legal.  Again, knowledge of the volleyball world outside of NFHS is helpful here.  A new USAV (club) rule this upcoming season allows jewelry, so that would be the source of confusion.  If a player or coach claims this is legal, please let them know the NFHS/MSHSAA rules have not changed and make sure they know that you will enforce the high school rule.



Sun., Sept. 8 at Lee’s Summit High School

3:30-4:30pm – New officials

4:30-6:00pm – All officials