PLEASE KEEP CHECKING YOUR EMAIL AND ARBITER CONSTANTLY: Those are where the latest updates and announcements will be. As we already know, the situation changes minute by minute, so please make sure to stay up to date on the latest information!

PLEASE DOUBLE CHECK YOUR ARBITER – THERE ARE A LOT OF UNACCEPTED ASSIGNMENTS!! Also, if you’ve been removed from any assignments recently, it may be because you haven’t paid your GKCOA or MSHSAA dues. Scroll down to GKCOA president Brian Verman’s email below regarding the GKCOA Board of Directors position on making sure you are paid up in order to be assigned matches. If you have questions, please let Brian know or make sure to fill out your renewal form at https://gkcoa.formstack.com/forms/renewal to be reinstated to the matches on your schedule.


As of the date of this newsletter, the Suburban Conference has chosen to continue with playing fall sports in the fall even though MSHSAA has given schools the option to move fall sports to an alternate fall season in the spring.

The Suburban Conference has decided that volleyball players are to wear masks on court during play. More guidance should come out this week–this only applies to matches/tournaments taking place at Suburban Conference schools. Again, we are not to involve ourselves with enforcement of teams/individuals wearing masks. That is up to host management.

FACE SHIELD CLARIFICATION:  We had a question come up during the meeting about whether players can wear a face shield during play, and the answer is no.  The NFHS has not approved them, according to MSHSAA.  However, officials are allowed to wear them, but probably in addition to a cloth face mask, depending on what the local school district or county says.

MSHSAA will come out with guidance, but benches will be allowed to spread and extend to the end of the basketball court and/or be allowed to go up into the 2nd/3rd/etc rows in the bleachers, but players shall still remain seated.

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

So, as we’ve said many times before, please stay engaged with the latest news so that you are up to date on the most recent developments that may have direct impact on our jobs as officials.

There are two more MSHSAA mechanics clinics in the area (dates and times below). Make sure to register at http://www.mshsaa.org!

The following are two case plays I posed to Davine when the “no subs allowed following an illegal sub” rule was changed in 2018.  Her responses are in red.  Hopefully, the rule references haven’t changed.

1)      Team R has two substitutions:  #10 enters the substitution zone to replace #12, while #20 waits outside the zone to replace #25.  #10 is discovered to be wearing earrings–illegal substitution.  Can #20 still sub in for #25 or is the opportunity lost?  Yes, allow 20 for 25 because there is no second request for a substitution.  #20 for #25 is still part of the original request.

2)      Same as case 1, except it is #20 who is wearing the earrings and it isn’t discovered until #10 has already been released to enter.  #12 and #25 are the setters and the team doesn’t want to go through with either substitution if #25 can’t enter.  Can they cancel the requests and leave #12 in?  #10 stays in per Rule 10-2-7-a 2, cannot reverse a substitution once the request has been made and recognized.  She will have to stay in until the next dead ball and the coach could request another substitution to take her out. 

NFHS Rules App

NFHS has an app that provides the rule book and case book in electronic form.  The cost is $6.95 per book; however, because MSHSAA pays our NFHS dues as a part of our MSHSAA dues, the books should be free to us.  When I attempted to use the app this weekend, it said my membership had expired.  I notified Kenny Seifert of the issue and he told me this morning that MSHSAA is working with NFHS to the membership roster loaded and they hope to have the issue resolved soon.


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.


The MSHSAA Part II Exam is now available…make sure you complete it and pass it (90% or better) by Sept. 7. The only major issue we’ve seen thus far is an error on the question, “The number of the uniform top shall be placed no more than ___ inches from the shoulder seam, or centered below the bottom edge of any neckline ribbing, placket or seams on the uniform top.” The answer should be 5 inches, but the website marks it as incorrect. Dixie Wescott has let MSHSAA know about the error, and it should be fixed soon. So, if you missed it, you actually didn’t!


If you want to work post-season, you must fill out the application on the MSHSAA website which will be available soon. Even if you don’t meet the minimum requirements, fill it out anyway. With the potential shortages we have this year, you still might have an opportunity!


If you’re available on Thurs., Sept. 10, email David and/or Don ASAP…we need help that day!

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)

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.


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.


Between now and then, there are a number of MSHSAA responsibilities that need to happen…make sure you get those done (see below)!!



It has been a very unusual start to the officiating year to say the least.  As most of you know we opened the GKCOA fiscal year on May 1st and began accepting payment of dues for the 2020-21 school year.  Normally the registration period runs 5/1 through 8/1 of each year.  Our GKCOA Bylaws establish a $15 late fee after August 1st of each year; however, at our August meeting the Board of Directors approved a waiver of the late fee for the current year given the uncertainty surrounding our profession and sports in general.  MSHSAA has also waived the late fee for 2020-21 for the same reasons. It is up to each member to decide for themselves whether or not they are willing and able to officiate during the coming season based on their own personal views, health, and family situations.  Once that decision has been made by the officials we encourage you to register.  Although there is no late fee this year, we still must ensure our membership for which we assign games are registered and in good standing with both MSHSAA and the GKCOA. Therefore, for our Fall sports the GKCOA Board established a deadline of Friday, August 21st to be registered with both MSHSAA and GKCOA.  If you have not yet completed your membership renewal with MSHSAA and/or GKCOA you must do so before 8/21/2020 or any assignments that you may currently have will be reassigned to other GKCOA members so that we may begin the season with certified and registered officials assigned to each contest.  Here is the link to the online renewal form:  https://gkcoa.formstack.com/forms/renewal. For our Winter and Spring sports, although we encourage you to register as soon as possible, the same process will apply.  A date will be established in a similar manner and communicated in the coming months. To check your GKCOA Membership and MSHSAA registration please sign-on to ArbiterSports with our group number — 103075 – Greater Kansas City Officials Association then click on “Profile” in the black ribbon bar. On the left under “Account” click on “Custom Fields”. When this page is displayed please look at GKCOA Dues Paid for 2020/2021 Season and Registered in State. If these two fields are populated with information you have paid your membership fee and are registered with MSHAA for the sports listed. Not all Basketball information has been updated at this time. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your membership status please contact Joe Bardwell, Treasurer, at treasurer@gkcoa.org.  If you have any questions or concerns regarding the overall process or policy, please reach out to me to discuss your particular circumstances.



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:


Mon., Sept. 7: Part II exam DUE

Fri., Sept. 11: MSHSAA online rules review and post-season application DUE