It’s hard to believe, but this is the last week of the regular season!  On behalf of the GKCOA volleyball leadership team, we are extremely thankful to all of you for even making this season a possibility. Overall, Kansas City didn’t have the issues with COVID that many other parts of the state experienced. One big reason was our officials, players, coaches, parents, and others followed directions and did everything we knew to keep volleyball (and other sports) going. And because of that, we’re actually going to finish the season! I appreciate everyone’s willingness to work together as a team of referees and still be able individually improve to make our sport the best it could possibly be. THANK YOU – THANK YOU – THANK YOU!!


GKCOA needs to properly recognize all volleyball officials working post season (Districts, Sectionals, State). While we have pieced together a good deal of information, we want to make certain we honor all who were selected as R1, R2, and/or Line Judge. Please email (no texts!) David Thompson (prodaveref@comcast.net) with the day, date, Class, District or Sectional number, host school, R1/R2/Line Judge. Please complete this no later than close of business—5p— on October 20. Thanks!


In previous years, we have not allowed teams to ball handle on the playing court until the timed warmup clock begins.  According to the 2020 MSHSAA Volleyball Manual, this is no longer the case.  Teams are allowed to ball handle on their own sides prior to the timed warmup. (see NOTE above) Other than that, all other aspects of the warm up remain the same.


Since the number of teams in each district is so small and matches are 3-out-of-5 sets this year, we don’t believe we’ll see any situations where teams in districts will play multiple matches in one night, but just in case–here’s what the MSHSAA volleyball manual says about that. The sectional tournament will still utilize the same format where teams will play twice in one day.

FROM THE 2020 MSHSAA VOLLEYBALL MANUAL:   When semifinal and final matches are being played on the same date the two teams from the top half of the bracket shall play the first match, the two teams from the bottom half of the bracket shall pay the second semi-final match. Following the second semi-final match, both coaches shall meet with host administration to determine the length of the intermission period. There shall be an intermission of thirty minutes between the second and third matches in addition to the 5:5 warm-up, unless participating coaches mutually agree to a lesser time. Host administration may need a period of time (to be included within the 30- minute intermission) for court cleaning, etc.; however, following this maintenance period (if necessary) each team may use only their half of the court for stretching and ball-handling. The full court may not be used by either team until the pre-match warm-up period begins.


If any of you who are not working districts and would like to go see a district match, click on THIS LINK that will take you to the MSHSAA website where the brackets are located.  You need to click on the Class and District numbers to see each bracket for matchups, dates, times, and sites.  MSHSAA will not allow non-working referees and line judges in for free, like many schools do during the regular season.

DISTRICT HOSTS (District 13, 14, 15, 16 listed in that order)

CLASS 5: Lee’s Summit, Blue Springs, North Kansas City, Staley

CLASS 4: Harrisonville (District 12), Warrensburg, Raytown South, Winnetonka, Kearney

CLASS 3: Clinton, Odessa, Notre Dame de Sion, Cameron

CLASS 2: Adrian, Lawson, East Buchanan, Carrollton

CLASS 1: Sacred Heart, Crest Ridge, Plattsburg, Rock Port

The winner of District 15 will host sectionals on Sat., Oct. 31.


As we get closer to post-season, it’s important that we as referees AND line judges remind ourselves of the finer points of line judging, so please take a little time to watch the GKCOA line judge video newly created for this season which is up to date with the latest mechanics.


Recently, GKCOA has had a history of offering ideas for rule changes that have been strongly considered and even adopted by MSHSAA and eventually the NFHS national rules committee.  Hopefully by next fall, life will be more back to normal! If you have a suggestion for an NFHS rule change or a MSHSAA by-law change for next season, we will compile a list and forward them to the MSHSAA volleyball coaches advisory committee.  They usually meet after the state tournament in November, but we need to get agenda items as soon as possible.  If you have a suggestion, please email ken.corum@nkcschools.org by Mon., Oct. 19.


To be honest, if you are even thinking about officiating college or club volleyball, this would definitely be the year to jump in head first. Since most college conferences have moved their seasons to the spring, there will be a shortage of referees because college women, college men, club volleyball, beach volleyball, among other leagues will all be happening at the same time–primarily between January and April. We will even need line judges–and there is a certification process for that as well. We will need more officials to cover all of these events, so this may the time for you to make the leap!

We have had a number of GKCOA officials enter into the USA Volleyball and club officiating circuit over the last couple of years.  They have an excellent training program and there may be opportunities to get valuable experience.  The season generally runs from November to April, but signups are beginning to happen now.  Kyla Majors is the Heart of America Regional officials coordinator.  Please contact her at her email address  kyla@hoavb.org for more information.  

If there’s any of you wanting to officiate college volleyball next fall, GKCOA member, Denise Jett (officialjett@gmail.com) is a college assignor and can also put you in the loop of people who certify and assign there as well.  Many of the same individuals involved in club volleyball are also involved in college, so club would be a great way to get in touch with the college people in advance.

If you are interested in line judging college volleyball (even this spring!!), get a hold of me (ken.corum@nkcschools.org), and I’ll get you in the loop.


As usual, be on the look out for the annual GKCOA membership survey.  We have tried to incorporate your ideas and suggestions in our programming over the last few years.  Please let us know in the survey how we did in training, assigning, and other duties plus how we can do better.  We take pride in having the best officials association in the state, but we know there’s always room for improvement.




MSHSAA has made their selections on who is working sectional and state tournaments. So, far here is what we know–please let David and/or me know if your name needs to be added to this list. Congratulations to all!


Cheryl Aston – Class 1, Sectional 4

Lisa Baney – Class 3, Sectional 4

Ken Corum – Class 5, Sectional 3

Don Gard – Class 5, Sectional 4

Sheila Handley – Class 2, Sectional 4

Rob Kyle – Class 1, Sectional 4

Dixie Ousley – Class 4, Sectional 4

David Thompson – Class 4, Sectional 4

Brian Verman – Class 4, Sectional 3

Dixie Wescott – Class 5, Sectional 4


Ken Corum, Rob Kyle, Dixie Wescott


If you have a rules interpretation question, please contact Dixie Wescott at (d.wescott@sbcglobal.net) – do not contact MSHSAA or NFHS directly!

Know who your assignor is–remember Mark Bubalo assigns Suburban Conference dual JV/varsity matches and some tournaments. GKCOA assigns middle school, C-Gold/Silver, varsity line judges, some varsity tournaments, and some varsity/JV matches outside the Suburban Conference. When you have a question about an assignment, make sure to look in Arbiter to see who actually assigned it to you before you send questions to the wrong assignor! (see below to tell the difference)


  1. When working in a location that requires masks, officials must wear masks at all times, as well.  When blowing a whistle, droplets can be expelled with greater force than normal speaking.
  2. Don says that if you want a laminated clock countdown protocol sheet or a laminated partner prematch sheet traditionally handed out at his MSHSAA mechanics meetings or at in-person GKCOA meetings made by Nancy Willig, please contact Don at drsleet@sbcglobal.net and he’ll get one to you.
  3. I’m starting a new job on Sept. 27…  I’ll still be with the USDA, but I’m moving from being a contractor to becoming a federal employee.  Since there may be a time during the transition where I won’t have access to my USDA e-mail, I’ve set up a new e-mail address just for my volleyball contacts—something I probably should have already done.  I expect that don.sleet@usda.gov will continue to work, but please use don.sleet.vb@gmail.com as my primary e-mail address. 
  4. I’ve seen a number of cases this year where exposed metal used in securing the net isn’t properly covered.  Examples include chains, exposed cables, a metal device that is used to hold two pieces together or a metal device that slides along and clamps down to hold it in place.  This does not include the metal grommets at the ends of the net where ropes or cords are used to tie the net to the post to create tension.  Any exposed metal on the top or bottom cable is to be covered.  The covering can be tape, pipe insulation, a towel draped over the cable, etc.–anything to cover the exposed metal.  (3-1-1)
  5. I was at a rivalry game and the fans were ringing bells and banging flag staffs on the bleachers to make noise.  Volleyball rules prohibit the use of artificial noise makers, except during warmups, during time-outs, between sets and post-match.  If you encounter this situation, host management needs to be the ones to address it with the fans–not the officials.  The home team’s coach is host management if there is no game administrator present.  Cheerleaders may use megaphones to amplify their voice, but they may not bang them on the floor/bleachers to make noise.  See Case Play 1.8.
  6. Please make sure to monitor cheering by parent or player line judges during the match. Despite their affiliations to their schools, they are to display neutrality while they are a part of the officiating team.
  7. REMINDER ON WARM UP PROTOCOL:  The off team can shag balls during warm-ups as long as the team on the court is okay with it.  We’re getting reports that some officials are saying the off team can’t even touch the volleyballs.
  8. Even though the starters don’t circle the court and meet at the net prior to the first set, they are still expected to line up on the endlines and be whistled onto the court.
  9. Earlier this week, I was attending a junior high match played at a neutral site.  Neither team had any fans in attendance, so they had no one to line judge.  The host school told the officials to have reserve players serve as line judges.  The officials felt this was unfair to make a coach select a player to not play or to go through the hassle of switching line judges as it came time for the player to substitute.  The officials elected to conduct the match with no line judges and informed both coaches that they’d do the best they could to call the lines themselves.  I forwarded the situation to MSHSAA and they said this was acceptable this year.  They view it as being like one of the referees that doesn’t arrive or becomes ill… if the coaches can agree that there will be no complaints, the match will be conducted without the necessary officials; otherwise, they will need to find someone to line judge or the match will not be conducted.  This applies to all levels of play.
  10. When a team replaces players after winning a rally then takes timeout, pay particular attention to the lineup after the timeout–they probably took timeout because of a problem.  This week, I saw a JV match where a team performed a double libero replacement (i.e., the libero moved from LB to serve) then they took a timeout.  After the timeout,  the libero didn’t return to the court. The libero had served elsewhere in the lineup and the coach recognized the problem.  The replacement during the timeout was illegal and the second replacement during the same dead ball was also illegal.  We should have had an administrative yellow card.  Since this was two violations of the same rule at the same time, it is a multiple fault and there is only one penalty.  Even though we’d normally make them go back to the lineup they had before the illegal replacement, I think we’d let them go through with the second replacement (following the administration of the card); otherwise, we’d end up penalizing them for the libero serving in a second position in the lineup.  In a Varsity match (the same night), a team completed a substitution then took timeout.  Following the timeout, they substituted again (different players).  Since they’d already substituted during the dead ball, the request should have been denied and, if the substitution hadn’t been whistled, there’d be no penalty–if the substitution was whistled, it would result in an administrative delay card.
  11. Just a reminder… under NFHS rules, a team may have only one libero per set (excluding redesignation following an injury).  They may use one libero in one set and a different libero in another set, but they can’t have two in the same set.  I recently heard of a junior high team that tried to use two liberos in the same set.  Of course, they said “we’ve been doing it all year”.
  12. When working a tournament, everyone needs to be on the same page and know the format (2-out-of-3 vs. just 2 sets, point caps) before play even starts.  After two teams split in the 3rd round of pool play isn’t the time to ask.


1. Please make an attempt to contact BOTH David and Don (email or text) if you need to contact the assignors for any reason. Things are constantly changing so much so that it helps them be on the same page if you text or email both at the same time.

2. Please check Arbiter (your full schedule page rather than your Main page) daily. Officials will need accept any changes in order for schools and assigners to know that you are up to date with all current details. 

3. Please communicate back to Don and David any changes (day, date, time, level, opponent) from Arbiter you may encounter as you contact schools ahead of time. 


The assignors have noticed that a number of assignments have gone unaccepted and therefore cancelled because they believe that people don’t properly accept their assignments from their schedule page. The video below shows how to accomplish that.


Here’s a good video to check out if you haven’t figured out how to get your Arbiter money into your bank account yet.  PLEASE pay particular attention to using manual transfers—in other words, DO NOT set ArbiterPay to automatic transfers—if you do, it will charge you $1.50 per transaction!!


Some schools which originally had their C Gold in an Aux Gym, are moving this match to the Main Gym/Field House for a couple of reasons: 

1. Social distancing in smaller gyms may not work as well as the Main Gym. 2. Main Gym matches allow the school to Live Stream matches so folks can view.  In these instances, schools are moving up start times by about 30 minutes to start the C Gold match. These same officials will now be staying to Line Judge JV and V.  We have had great responses from officials about being flexible on matters like this! Kudos to all!

3. If you are scheduled to officiate C Gold and Silver at Blue Springs HS, please note that Varsity Line Judge slots have been added per school request. Please finish the C Gold/Silver matches and then proceed immediately to the Main Gym to Line Judge the remainder of Varsity. 
4. When contacting a school one week ahead to confirm details, if you find any detail from the school that differs from what is on Arbiter, please immediately email Don Gard AND David Thompson. If it is a change on the day of the event, please call David and Don.  

5. It might not be a bad idea to email Dave and Don on the weekends to make it clear when you might be available for the upcoming week. There have been numerous match and tournament changes already with surely more to come. Be persistent if you want to get more matches–the opportunities will be there!

6. With all the uncertainty, it could be possible (maybe even probable) that you will have to let David and Don know the day of a match that you cannot work (especially due to illness)…please be professional and CALL THEM ASAP to ensure that they are aware of the situation and to give them enough time to find your replacement.

7. Thanks for your Flexibility—our mantra word—during all the cancellations, reschedules, etc. Keep up the great communication. 


We are proud of our officials and want to see improvement all the time. To that end, members of the leadership team among others go out to Saturday tournaments to watch and help referees improve. This is not an official MSHSAA evaluation, but just an opportunity for improvement. Most likely, you’ll get some written feedback and a conversation about your strengths and areas for improvement. We were able to observe over 50 referees last year, and we hope to continue that process this year. We haven’t decided which tournaments we will observe yet, so stay tuned. More information to come.


You may have received email or snail mail notification that there was an information breach at ArbiterSports. If you are concerned about your information, please call 1-877-296-5652 during their business hours of Monday-Friday 8am-10pm central time or Saturday-Sunday 10am-7pm central time to discuss your options.


The National Association of Sports Officials is an association that GKCOA is a member of and previously having sent representatives to their national convention. This year’s convention is virtual and FREE anybody that signs up. We HIGHLY ENCOURAGE you to register to have access to some of the great volleyball specific content below:

HANDLING UNSPORTING CONDUCT IN VOLLEYBALL: https://www.sportsofficiatingsummit.com/athome/sessions/sport-session-volleyball-unsporting-conduct-ignore-warn-or-penalize/

THE ART OF PREVENTIVE OFFICIATING IN VOLLEYBALL: https://www.sportsofficiatingsummit.com/athome/sessions/sport-session-volleyball-art-of-preventive-officiating/

VOLLEYBALL LINE JUDGE TRAINING: https://www.sportsofficiatingsummit.com/athome/sessions/sport-session-volleyball-line-judge-tips-and-techniques/

THE VALUE OF A STRONG R2: https://www.sportsofficiatingsummit.com/athome/sessions/sport-session-volleyball-r2-mechanics-and-interactions/

Plus, there’s a lot of general officiating topics and sessions for many other sports at this website: https://www.sportsofficiatingsummit.com/athome/program/#Day-1

Please check it out!


Safety and security has always been a primary concern for the Association.  This concern not only includes the safety of students, coaches, fans, administrators, but also for sports officials.  It is extremely important that all MSHSAA Officials have a good understanding of how to protect themselves in the case of an “active shooter” scenario at a sporting event.  It is our intention to provide information and guidance which will assist them in this situation.   

The link included with this message is for a presentation that discusses the important role and responsibilities, as well as the expectations for school administrators in helping with the protection of the officials at the contest.  It is our hope that all Officials, Principals and Athletic Administrators will give their undivided attention and take the time to watch this 8 minute power point presentation, in order to be prepared in the case of one of these unfortunate events happening.

https://www.mshsaa.org/resources/video/Active Shooter Video.mp4

Please refer back to this message to review the presentation.  There will NOT be a link provided on the MSHSAA website.  



As you prepare yourself to officiate this season, in addition to the written recommendations and guidelines, there are some unwritten items you may want to consider:

Also, remember there are items that we do not have to worry about–we have enough to do without inserting ourselves into places where we don’t belong. The administrators on duty and the teams generally need to police such items that aren’t directly in our NFHS rules book.


If you are listed first (Referee 1) in Arbiter for a Saturday tournament, congratulations–you are the crew chief! Here is a list of responsibilities that you need to follow: