Usually at this time of year, I am humbled to hear from coaches and administrators on how well our GKCOA officials have performed this season. Over the years, not very many negative situations involving our officials have crossed my desk, and that was again true this year! Our reputation as the best officials association in the state was definitely reaffirmed many times over, and that is entirely due to you and the hard work and effort you put in year after year! So, thank you for all of that! Hopefully, next year will be even more normal than this season. Be on the lookout for the GKCOA survey and some other training announcements this summer to get ready for 2022! Great job this season!!


  1. ROSTER AND BENCH PERSONNEL: During the district and state series, only 15 players may be listed on the roster. These 15 players, team coaches and managers shall be permitted to sit on the team bench.
  2. NEW THIS YEAR: No team will be allowed to play more than one match per day. No more than two matches can be scheduled during one session per day.
  4. WARM-UP TIMING: The time between matches shall be a maximum of 18 minutes, consisting of a maximum of 2- minute pre-match conference followed immediately by the 3 minutes shared stretching and ball-handling. The 12-minute warm-up (6:6: Receiving Team, Serving Team – serving time has been included in the 6- minute warm-up) and 1 minute to clear the court for competition. The clock and countdown shall begin as soon as the officials have completed their duties from the previous match. The clock shall not stop. The 3- minute stretching and ball-handling period should start as soon as the court is available. The District Tournament Committee may lengthen this time allowance only if conditions warrant. NOTE: The full court may be utilized by the teams prior to the timed warm-up. Teams must stay on their side of the net: balls may be used by the teams. NOTE: When one team is assigned to the full court, the opposing team shall not be permitted to use balls, in any capacity, during that 6-minute period.
    1. Each team is entitled to one half of the court during the 3-minute stretching and ball-handling period.
    2. Each team will have access to the full court during their 6 minutes to warm-up.
    3. The team that will receive first will warm-up (full court) first.
    4. The serving team will warm-up (full court) during the second 5 minutes.
    5. The 6-minute warm-up for each team includes serving.
    6. 1 minute left on clock to clear the court for competition.
    7. If space permits, teams shall be allowed to warm-up during the match prior in a designated area of the host schools’ facility.
  5. The top team on the bracket will be the home team–make sure to check that out ahead of time (it’s available on the brackets on the MSHSAA website) so that you’re not asking at the last minute during the coin toss who is supposed to call it! Sometimes even if the host school is the visiting team, they will still be the “home team” on the scoreboard to prevent confusion…if that is the case, they are still officially the visiting team and will call the coin toss.
  6. Make sure to work with host administration regarding student sections. We’ve had pretty good success over the years, but there can be issues once in awhile regarding noisemakers and not having fans sit/stand in the front row. It is a MSHSAA policy that the front row be kept open. Just so you’re aware, here are some other spectator policies that administrators are being made aware of from the MSHSAA volleyball manual:
  7. SPECTATOR POLICIES: The district tournament committee shall establish specific guidelines regarding student cheer and spirit groups. The committee shall create these guidelines with a primary focus on sportsmanship and respect for other schools and spectators. The guidelines shall also consider the seating needs of the host facility. If the establishment of designated student seating sections is recommended by the tournament committee, the following criteria shall be enforced:
    1. At least one empty row must serve as a buffer between the floor and the student sections.
    2. The student sections shall be specifically marked and separated (such as by rope, pennants or otherbarrier) from the general spectator seating areas.
    3. The student section shall be cleared out at the conclusion of each game for use by the schools playingthe next contest. If a school is playing back-to-back games with its boys and girls teams, that school may remain in its section for both contests, as long as remaining in that section does not conflict with information mentioned in item g below.
    4. In the interest of sportsmanship and positive behavior, the student sections for competing teams shall not be adjacent to each other, directly behind either goal, or directly behind the bench of the opposing team.
    5. The student sections shall be placed in locations that minimize the obstruction of other patrons when the students stand in unison.
    6. Sportsmanlike behavior is expected at all times from the student section.
    7. An administrator with the responsibility of supervising students should be present at all contests involving that particular school and be present throughout the contest in the vicinity of the student section or in an area designated by the host site administrator.
    8. An administrator from each participating school, the host site administrator and a representative of thegame officials shall meet prior to game time to reiterate the site’s guidelines for student cheer and spirit groups; discuss the sportsmanship goals of the contest; and to confirm the physical location of the school administrators during the contest.
  8. For those of you working sectionals and quarterfinals, the start time of the Thursday (Oct. 28) sectional will be 6:30pm (no options for the schools to change the time) and the Saturday (Oct. 30) quarterfinal will start at 3:00pm unless both schools agree to move it up to 1:00pm. The host school will be one of the participating teams depending on previous criteria set by MSHSAA. Your contracts on the MSHSAA website will update with that information once it’s known.


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)







FROM DAVID THOMPSON: Of the 108 District Volleyball Line Judge slots, 15 were not requested to be filled. This leaves 93 slots (86%) to be filled by GKCOA. Of these 93 slots, 90 (96.77%) were filled with GKCOA officials!   There are 54 site situations for all of District Volleyball. All but 2 (96.3%) have at least one GKCOA official as R1/R2/Line Judge!  This is excellent representation for GKCOA. These District Line Judge assignments have been sent to District Site Managers.


Did you know that GKCOA was the first assigning group to create the position of Crew Chief on Volleyball Tournaments? This position was created to help improve the communication between the school and the Crew, to help sort out all details ahead of time regarding the tourney, and to help the assigners concentrate on providing the best partnering situations. The Crew Chief position also help develop officials as they continue to move up the ladder of officiating higher competition levels.    

Special thanks this season goes to the following 42 Crew Chiefs, some of whom coordinated more than one tourney: Mike Epperson, Elaine Stoll, Vetta Manning, Langston Parker, Ashley Martin, Tammie Spencer, David Kidwell, Brian Verman, Steve Bindseil, Aaron Marsh, Rob Kyle, Rich Benz, Kevin Greer, Brittany Elms, Charles Stephenson, Lindsey Patterson, Rick Robards, Nigel Davis, Crystal Jackson, Trent Bryant, Naomi Omenski, Ronda Miles, Vernon Birmingham, Jr., Eric Worsham, Amy Walters, John DeFries, Jeff Hoffman, Nikki Burkey, John Birdwell, David Yingling, Dean Lewis, Daron Jacobs, Jamie Gehrke, Christopher Heman, Trevor Gunnels, Quinn Weakley, Mark Neer, Tom Hughes, Celia Hernandez-Jones, Harold Whittlesey, James Dean, Cathy Klassen. 


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 even 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. 18.







Congratulations to Cheryl Aston and David Thompson on earning a trip to officiate and line judge at the state tournament in Cape Girardeau on Nov. 4-6!!! GKCOA is very proud of you!!!


Brackets are now being published on the MSHSAA website. If you are working post-season, you might now be able to see your matchups. If your bracket isn’t posted yet, it should be in the next couple of days. The link below leads directly to Class 5, District 13, but you can click to get to any bracket in the state from there:



As we know, line judges can make or break a well-officiated match. Now that we are closer to post-season, there may be some of us that will be asked to line judge at district, sectional, quarterfinal, and state matches where we may not have line judged much, if any, all season. Also, even if we are not line judging, it’s always good to have a good refresher of your line judge speech for the post-season. The bottom line is that we want to make sure our post-season crews are together and on the same page to better ensure a smooth match. So, it would be well worth about 12 minutes of your time to watch our GKCOA line judge video made by Don Sleet.


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.


There are no new items in this week’s Dropbox.

Don has no Deep Thoughts this week.


FLYER TO PRINT: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1BOO8mUHzgXZrU7LuxJ1TllVApsTHy8Pj/view?usp=sharing

Hopefully everyone has those calendars marked!  Our 12th Annual GKCOA Benefit Golf Tournament presented by Horizon Financial Solutions will be on Saturday, May 14, 2022, at Adams Pointe Golf Club in Blue Springs.  Our 2021 event was a HUGE success, and with 33 foursomes we were pushing up against our maximum participant limits, so be sure to reserve your spot early in 2022.

In 2021 the GKCOA Scholarship Fund awarded $6,500 in scholarships amongst thirteen high school seniors, and we have now awarded $32,000 in total scholarships over the past decade!  The tournament is a great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and support the scholarship fund for a nominal amount.  Anyone is welcome to participate.  They don’t have to be officials – just someone that wants to support scholar athletes here in the KCMO area.

This coming year we anticipate awarding another $6,000 in scholarships!  If you know a local senior attending a Missouri high school, please be sure to share the scholarship opportunity with them.  Applications are due by March 31st each year.  For more scholarship details, please visit www.gkcoa.org/scholarship-criteria.  

How can you help right now?  We have sponsorship opportunities available at all monetary levels for businesses and individuals to get involved.  Some levels include golfer registrations as well.   Please share the attached flyer with individuals or businesses that you think might be interested in supporting our local scholar athletes.  If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me by email or the phone number below.

Brian Verman

Tournament Director



By now, you should have been contacted if you’ve been selected to referee at districts. Line judge positions are mostly done, so stay tuned if you haven’t heard yet. However, you must OFFICIALLY accept your assignment through a contract on www.mshsaa.org! If you don’t, you won’t get paid. If your contract hasn’t shown up yet on the MSHSAA website, be patient. After a few more days, you can contact your tournament manager. Also, it is considered to be in poor form to turn back any MSHSAA post-season assignment, as that may impact future post-season selections.

GKCOA officials were very well-represented at the district tournament draft!   

Of the 91 officials registered with MSHSAA for the KC Area (Region 6) VB Draft, 82 are GKCOA officials (90.1%)! 

Of these 91, 47 GKCOA officials were selected as R1/R2–51.65% Of the 82 GKCOA officials registered, 47 were selected as R1/R2–57.3% 

Of the 54 sites for District VB, 52 had at least 1 GKCOA official as R1/R2–96.3% 

Of the 54 sites for District VB, 47 had 2 GKCOA officials as R1/R2–87.03%   

Selections for sectionals, quarterfinals, and state are being made directly from MSHSAA, and so far we had fantastic GKCOA representation as well! Here is the list, as we currently know it–we do not hear directly from MSHSAA on these assignments–so please reach out to David Thompson at prodaveref@comcast.net to let us know about your assignment if you aren’t on this list:

Cheryl Aston—Sectional Class 1 (R2); Quarterfinal—Class 1 (R2)

Lisa Baney— Sectional—Class 3 (R1)

Carlos Boyd—Sectional—Class 2 (R2)

Ken Corum—Sectional— Class 5 (R1); Quarterfinal—Class 4 (R1)

Jim Cox–Sectional–Class 2 (R1)

Don Gard—Sectional—Class 4 (R1)

Lisa Glenn—Sectional—Class 1 (R1)

Kevin Greer—Quarterfinal —Class 1 (R1)

Robert Kyle–Sectional–Class 1 (R1); Quarterfinal–Class 2 (R2)

Aaron Marsh—Sectional—Class 3 (R2)

Dixie Ousley—Sectional—Class 5 (R2); Quarterfinal—Class 2 (R1)

Langston Parker—Sectional—Class 2 (R1)

Keri Peterson—Sectional—Class 4 (R2); Quarterfinal—Class 5 (R2)

Tammie Spencer—Sectional—Class 1 (R2)

Jennie Teegarden—Sectional—Class 2 (R2)

David Thompson—Sectional—Class 4 (R1); Quarterfinal—Class 5 (R1)

Brian Verman—Sectional—Class 5 (R1); Quarterfinal—Class 4 (R2)

Dixie Wescott—Sectional—Class 5 (R2); Quarterfinal—Class 3 (R1)

Line judge positions for sectionals and quarterfinals will be made by the host schools, but we won’t know who is hosting until districts are completed by Oct. 26. So, if you are still interested in line judging sectionals and quarterfinals, still keep Oct. 28 and 30 open on your calendars. Once host schools are known, they will reach out to those who have indicated they are available from the MSHSAA application you filled out earlier.

We don’t believe that the state tournament assignments have been made yet, so stay tuned for that!

If you’re curious, the MSHSAA district pay scale is as follows:


1-40 miles one way: $83 for one match, $151 for two matches

41-80 miles one way: $113 for one match, $181 for two matches


$33 per match, no mileage is taken into consideration


For those of us who sometimes have difficulty in tracking back row attackers (particularly setters who attack), check this out.

Notice how this R1 is delayed in this back row attack call. Sometimes we forget if the setter was front row or back row or maybe we just have a hard time with the concept in general. In any event, notice that after the setter attacked the ball, the R1 waited until the setter retreated into her back row defensive position before making the call. That indicates that she is, in fact, a back row player and, after seeing that she attacked the ball (that was completely above the height of the net) over to the other side of the net from in front of the ten-foot line, now all the boxes are checked for a back row attack violation to be called.

Now, I’m not recommending that should be your go to method in determining your back row calls, but a delayed and correct call is better than not making any call when a violation has actually occurred.

Also, note that the R2 did give a discrete back row signal as well. Hopefully, that is one of the items you and your partner pre-matched! So, again, if you’re not sure if a back row violation has occurred, your R2 hopefully is a great source of information to assist you in those situations!

Ideally, we still want you to know on the stand if a setter is front row or back row by memorization–however, our minds may wander and we may lose track once in awhile, so if that happens, this is an acceptable way to be aware of the position of the players well enough to make the correct call.


At the last GKCOA meeting, I planned on showing these videos, but we ran out of time. These are all new videos from college matches that have occurred within the last few weeks, but depict situations that happen every so often, even in high school matches. I’ll go ahead and show these with an introduction about what to look for before the video, then a rule citation on what the ruling is afterwards.

VIDEO #1 – The focus is on the back row setter on the right. What is the call that was made on this play?

Here’s the same play from the opposite angle.

Rule 9-5-5b says “A back-row player shall not attack a ball which is completely above the height of the net while positioned…in the air, having left the floor on or in front of the attack line or its out-of-bounds extension.” Also, Rule 9-5-1b says, “Attack – Any action other than a block or a serve that directs the ball toward the opponent’s court.  A completed attack occurs the instant the ball completely crosses the vertical plane of the net, or is legally contacted.” (Notice that “intent” or “intentional” are not part of the definition of an attack)

Many coaches will argue that the back row setter didn’t mean to attack the ball over net and this shouldn’t be called, but note in the definition of attack above, the intent of the contact is not relevant – it’s the fact that the ball was directed to opponent’s court that is the relevant factor. That (and the fact that the attack was completed) is what constitutes the back row attack.

VIDEO #2 – The focus is on the middle blocker on the left side. What would your call be on this play–double contact or play on?

Here’s the same play from the net camera view.

Rule 9-5-1c says “Block – the action of a player(s) close to the net the deflects the ball coming from the opponent by reaching higher than the top of the net at the moment of contact. A block may involve wrist action provided there is no prolonged contact.”

So, what you have to decide in this situation is whether or not the initial touching of the ball by the blocker was a block or a first contact. If you think it was a block, then play should continue. If you think it was an attack or first contact, then the play should be whistled as a double contact.

This play was ruled as a block (because this referee believed there was wrist action that falls under the above definition of a block), but you could make a argument for a double contact, as long as you use the language of the rulebook when approached by the captain by saying that, in your opinion, the swing of the arm was an attack attempt which constitutes a first contact.

VIDEO #3 – Focus on the team on the right. What was the call? Is it correct?

And the reverse angle…

Rule 9-5-6b says “A libero shall not set the ball using overhead finger action while on or in front of the attack line or attack line extended, resulting in a completed attack above the height of the net.”

Notice there was confusion initially from the offending team when the “illegal attack” signal was given. Most people associate that signal with a back row attack, but since the R1 open hand pointed towards the libero, that should indicate to everyone that the libero was involved in the illegal attack. The attack was the front row setter dump, which is why the team was confused that a back row attack was called on a front row setter–that wasn’t illegal–it was the fact that the libero set with her hands to a player that completed an attack. Also, remember that the illegal attack sequence doesn’t always happen on second and third contact…here, it occurred on first and second contact, but is still illegal.


As a reminder, a letter of authorization from MSHSAA for the current school year is required for any player who is wearing a medical device, such as hearing aids, insulin pumps, prosthetics, migraine headache piercings (not an exhaustive list), etc.  Refer to this screenshot, taken from the online rules review.


NFHS has a video on their website (about 28 minutes, but you don’t have to watch the whole thing) with instructions on how to keep score. The reason I would advise to watch this is so that if a scoring error occurs, you know where to look for information and how to make sure pertinent match information is being recorded properly. I would highly recommend finding a little time to watch this video – you never know – it could really help get you out of a sticky situation one night this season!!



Lindsey Patterson put some great effort into creating a video showing how to use the line up wheel. By her own admission, it is long (about 30 minutes), but contains a great deal of information that will hopefully give those of you who use (or would like to use) the wheel some tips and tricks. Give Lindsey any kudos or feedback at lindseynpatterson@yahoo.com. Thank you Lindsey for all your hard work!

Lindsey also made a video using a line up card. This one is about an hour long. Again, these are suggestions on how she uses her card, and not necessarily the final word on protocols. Again, give Lindsey any kudos or feedback at lindseynpatterson@yahoo.com. Thank you Lindsey for all your hard work!


The 5th set of a varsity match is ALWAYS played to 15, win by 2. The only time a discussion needs to occur regarding the deciding set is for a sub-varsity match–the 3rd set is played to 25 UNLESS BOTH coaches agree to shorten it to 15. If the coaches disagree, the default is 25. Please make sure to make that discussion part of your pre-match coach/captain/coin toss meeting prior to the start of the match.


To: MSHSAA Volleyball Officials

From: Davine Davis, MSHSAA

Re: Clarification Regarding 3/5 Format

All varsity level dual competitions are to be played using the best of 5 format, per NFHS Volleyball Rule 1-2-1.  The first team to win 3 sets shall be declared the winner.  Sets 1-4 shall be played to 25 points (no cap), and a team must win by two points.  The fifth and deciding set shall be played to 15 points (no cap), and a team must win by two points (NFHS Rule 1-4-2).  The fifth set shall not be played to 25 points.   Please review these two rule codes to ensure our varsity matches are officiated correctly.  Thank you.  


Here are the newly announced teams in each MSHSAA class and district for the post-season tournaments for AREA SCHOOLS ONLY. when district tournament managers start calling or emailing you to officiate districts on Wed., Sept. 29, these are the district host schools that will be contacting you.







QUESTION: I was discussing with a ref last night the prematch and clock.  I just wonder if you can help clear up the confusion. For JV/V or even during a tournament do you set the clock for 18 minutes and then start the clock and have it running while doing the coin toss and captains meeting, or should the clock stop until the captains meeting is over?  Is this different for any type of match?

ANSWER: Yes, the clock should run during the captains meeting.  On the MSHSAA website, there’s this blurb:

Prematch Conference:  Note:  When multiple matches are played on the same date, an 18-minute clock shall start as soon as the officials have completed their duties from the previous match.  The officials will conduct the conference in the first 2 minutes of the running clock and will release teams to their warm-up activities at 16 minutes on the clock.  The conference shall be concluded before the 16-minute mark.  The clock will continue without interruption.”

One thing to note–teams aren’t really getting 5 minutes of ball handling–consider it to be 3 minutes + a bonus 2 minutes during the captains’ meeting/coin toss. That provision from MSHSAA was put in to solve a time-saving issue so that referees/teams don’t delay getting the next match’s coin flip done in a timely manner. It wasn’t put in to entitle teams with an extra two minutes of ball handling.

QUESTION: A ball is hit over the net by Team A and it goes out of bounds without being touched (or so I think) by Team B.  So I award the point to Team B and signal the violation (OUT), but then a player from Team B admits that she did touch the ball before it went out (not sure why she would do that, but that’s for another conversation 😊)……do I stick with what I originally called, replay the point, or award the point to Team A? 

ANSWER (FROM KEN): It doesn’t happen very often, but typically, if a player admits that she touched a ball where I didn’t see the touch, I have always taken that honor call. That does promote honesty and good sportsmanship. However, you are not obligated to do that and stick with your original call. In any event, there shouldn’t be a replay in that scenario.

QUESTION: Can I have a reminder on what is playable or not when the net comes out of the ceiling?

ANSWER: Hopefully, the photo below makes sense–I’m only trying to point at the items on the main net shown here, not the other drop down equipment in the back of the gym. Essentially, the vertical poles along the center line are out. When a ball contacts any of the diagonal portions (poles, cables, straps), the ball is to be whistled dead and then the referee will make a judgment in the same fashion of a vertical backboard. If the ball would have remained in play and playable by a player had the obstruction not been there, grant a replay. If the ball would have gone out of play had the obstruction not been there, it is ruled out.

QUESTION: Would these uniforms be considered contrasting?


COMMENT FROM KEN: Rule 4-2-2 states that the libero uniform must “clearly contrast from the predominant color(s) of the team uniform top, excluding trim.” So, to expand off Dixie’s comment, the referees for that specific match will make the final determination on contrast.

That does mean that it is possible for one referee to allow a certain set of uniforms in one match, but another referee may not allow that same set of uniforms in another match. As an example, we do have some referees that are color blind and some combinations really aren’t visible to those referees when it seems obviously contrasting to most referees.

When you’re deciding (first of all – do it during warmups, not as the match is starting!!), you should ask yourself whether it’s possible for you to quickly see who the libero player is without much effort. If not, then visit with the coach about whether or not the libero has another uniform that does contrast better. If they don’t have another uniform and you’re 100% sure that uniform is not contrasting, then the libero will not be allowed to be used for that set (or match, if they can’t fix it by the next set).


With that being said, my general rule of thumb (which you won’t directly find written anywhere) is if one uniform is light-ish and the other is dark-ish, then I’m ok with it. In the picture above, I would allow that combination even though they’re both gray uniforms. Dixie and Don may disagree with that, and if they do, I’ll issue a follow up comment later.

QUESTION: I had a coach tell me that the antennae were on backwards, but I thought they were ok. Can you remind me of how they are supposed to go on again?


Rule 3-1-5 states “net antennas shall be attached to the net in line with the outside edge of the sideline and extend upward at least 2 1/2 feet but no more than 3 1/2 feet above the net.”

If you have antennae only that do not velcro on to the net with the white strip shown above, then just make sure they are fastened to the net on the outer edge of the sideline.


Sent to coaches, ADs, and officials on Sept. 1, 2021

To: MSHSAA Registered Volleyball Officials

From: Davine Davis, MSHSAA

Re: NFHS Volleyball Rules 4-1-6

Please read below information regarding the implementation of NFHS Volleyball Rule 4-1-6.  Several states have expressed concerns regarding how to handle the enforcement of illegal hair adornments, specifically beads.  Due to the sensitivity surrounding the current rule and the penalty associated with it, the NFHS Volleyball Rules Committee has provided the following guidance for states and officials.  Thank you.

The NFHS Volleyball Rules Committee will be discussing rules language currently prohibiting the wearing of any hair devices that do not meet the requirements of Rule 4-1-6.
Rule 4-1-6…Hair devices made of soft material and no more than 3 inches wide may be worn in the hair or on the head.  Bobby pins, flat clips and flat barrettes, unadorned and no longer than 2 inches, are also allowed.

The current language prohibits the wearing of beads or clips that do not meet the above criteria.  While both the NCAA and USA Volleyball have rules language that allows for these hair adornments, these items are noncompliant per NFHS rules.

The NFHS Volleyball Rules Committee is sensitive to how this rule is enforced.  The committee strongly believes that equipment rule compliance begins with coach/player education and the responsibility to ensure all players are properly equipped falls directly on the head coach.

In the instance a player is found to be wearing a hair adornment(s) not meeting the requirements of Rule 4-1-6, the following steps may be taken by the officials to avoid disqualification or cutting out of secured hair adornments:

1.  Official shall notify the head coach of the rule violation as soon as the noncompliant hair adornment is identified.

a.  If the adornment can be easily removed, it must be removed before the athlete can compete.

b.  If the adornment cannot easily be removed, the player must secure the hair adornment(s) in a way that will not pose a risk to the athlete or their teammates.

2.  The athlete will be allowed to compete in that match with adornment removed or secured.

3.  At the conclusion of the match, the state association shall be notified by the official, via the Special Report function on the MSHSAA website.

4.  The state association shall inform the athletic director/head coach that their team must be legally equipped to participate in the next match.

The NFHS Volleyball Rules Committee will be closely examining the current rules language in January in addition to the current penalty structure. 


  1. Our good friend from Sedalia, Nancy Willig, makes laminated sheets (like the one below) to show to timers at the scorer’s table on when the sound the horn for warmups, time outs, and intermissions. If you would like a copy, please email Don at don.sleet.vb@gmail.com to make arrangements.

2. R1s need to make sure both line judges are in position before starting the match. (R2s should also check that all crewmates are in position before giving the court to R1 at the start of the set or after timeouts.) There have been some situations where R1 whistles for serve at the start of a set without line judges being ready a couple of times already this season.

3. When going to watch a match, such as when practicing your lineup card, please don’t wear your uniform shirt–it draws attention to you and invites questions from fans.  You can leave it in the car (in case you’re needed to fill in) if you want.

4. Reminder:  Metal tensioning devices, such as the one pictured, must be covered.  The covering can be a towel, foam pipe insulation, athletic tape–anything that covers exposed metal.  Likewise, any chain or cable through the top or bottom of the net must be covered, as well.  A plastic coating on a cable is a sufficient covering.

5. R2s, when in the proper position, do not have the angle to see whether the ball is touching the line or not. This also means the R2 is not watching the net and centerline. If the R2 should happen to have an opinion on a line call, they could (perhaps) discretely signal to the R1, but should never whistle or overtly signal their disagreement.

6. SITUATION: R2 is checking lineups at the start of the set and fails to notice that Team B is not lined up correctly.  The correct players are on the court–just in the wrong sequence, so it isn’t a case of an illegal substitute.  It isn’t until play has gone back and forth for a while and Team B’s third server goes back to serve that the scorer notices that it is the wrong player going back to serve.  The scorer notified the R2.  It’s at that point that they realized Team B had been in the wrong sequence all along.

RULING:  Technically, the scorer should not have notified R2 yet, because the wrong server hadn’t yet served.  However, because the officials were able to determine Team B had been in the wrong sequence the entire time and the R2 failed to catch it during the lineup check, the officials should correct the lineup and allow play to proceed without penalizing Team B.  If an illegal substitution (e.g., a player not on the lineup was allowed to start) or a wrong server had been involved, the officials would have been forced to penalize for those infractions.  The timeframe for penalizing out-of-alignment is not the same as illegal substitution or wrong server.

7. SITUATION: When in a situation where the scorer and team benches are on the R1’s side (typically only found in tournaments,) there are a few mechanics adjustments that need to be made:

  • R1 will likely be the one whistling subs and timeouts
  • R1 will be reporting the subs to the scorer and will need to make sure the R2 is aware of the sub
  • R1 will need to verify with the scorer when set point is reached
  • R2 needs to come across the court and check the scoresheet during timeouts
  • If there are any scoresheet or libero tracking discrepancies, the R2 will take the lead in resolving the problem
  • R1 and R2 will need to determine how they will communicate when a team has used 15 or more subs and who will relay that information to the head coach
  • Typically in this type of court set up at a tournament, there is an adjacent court where there is very little room between the courts and the two R2s from each court are working in very close proximity to one another.  If that is the case, the R2 should not transition under the net to get to the blocker’s side during the rally. Depending on the amount of space there is, either begin the rally on the receiving team’s side and stay there until its completion, or stay on one side for the entire match where the R2 may be looking through the net to the receiving team’s side to begin the rally.


  1. Send emails to Don Gard and David Thompson each Sunday with upcoming open dates. Changes are happening almost hourly and we need great communication to help get assignments filled. It is vital that officials keep Arbiter calendars current, check into Arbiter daily for changes, and accept assignments for dates showing as open on Arbiter.  
  2. GKCOA and the Suburban Conference have an agreement to provide certified MSHSAA line judges for most conference schools. Over the last several years, we have made an effort to make sure to emphasize those line judging assignments are EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. The coaches and administrators want us, so we need to treat these assignments respectfully. In most cases, we tie a C-match with the line judge assignment, but sometimes there is only a line judge assignment. At any rate, please treat that assignment with respect. For many, the opportunity to line judge a varsity match is an opportunity to move up to referee varsity matches–the coaches get to see your skills and professionalism, and we have seen many referees get varsity opportunities after starting out as line judges–PLEASE TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE OPPORTUNITY AND TREAT THAT ASSIGNMENT WITH PROFESSIONALISM.
  3. Please be reminded that GKCOA requests that officials have no more than 3 total among turn backs (already accepted and a conflict arises), auto declines (not accepted within the assigned time frame), or declines (date showed as open and official declines) per season.
  4. We have many officials that have already exceeded that limit. Each of these (turn back, auto decline, and decline) takes Don and David a minimum of 5 minutes to correct, replace, and fill with another official who can handle the level, is close to the location, and has no conflicts with the assignment or partner. Don and David have spent approximately 15 hours so far this season on these matters. So, if you could do everything you can by maintaining an accurate schedule, that will help them immensely! Thank you!
  5. We are seeing schools drop teams (C-Silver and, in some cases, JV) because of lack of players. Obviously, that will cause cancellation of matches and will impact schedules of some referees. If you see a large impact in your schedule, please contact David and Don to see if we can get you additional matches on your schedule to make up for the matches lost.
  6. Here’s a good video (SKIP AHEAD TO 13:38) 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!!

7. If you are available on 9/21, please email Don and David ASAP. We have several openings.

8. The assignors would like to publicly thank Lindsey Patterson, who coordinates our new GKCOA officials with membership information, taking notes at meetings, and gets everyone up to date on MSHSAA requirements. She’s a fantastic team member and a very diligent worker. Thank you Lindsey!

9. Openings on 9/21, 9/22, 9/23, 9/25, 9/27, 9/28, 9/29; 10/2, 10/4, 10/5, 10/6, 10/9, 10/11, 10/12, 10/16, 10/19. Please email Don Gard AND David Thompson is you are open.

10. Please do not cancel on 9/23. We are maxed on officials. If you are open, please immediately email Don and David.

11. When you call ahead to confirm your matches, if you find out something has changed (day, date, levels, gym/location, visitor, time), please immediately email Don Gard and David Thompson so they can update in Arbiter.

12. Always keep your officiating gear with you in case there is a last minute change or assignment. 

13. On Arbiter, slots are listed at Referee 1, Umpire 1, etc. These are only names for the assigning slots. Officials are expected to work as R1 and R2 if that is the assignment. Example: For an 8AB assignment, John Doe may be listed as Referee 1 for both A and B matches, while Jane Doe is listed as Umpire 1 for both matches. Depending on the level of experience, one official will be R1 for the A match and the other officials will be R1 for the other match. 

14. Schedules are changing a lot now because of the lack of bus drivers in several districts. Watch Arbiter daily as your schedule may be affected.

15. If you have a last minute emergency, please make certain to contact both Don and David. Since their jobs have odd schedules, one is usually awake and on point with making changes on Arbiter.

16. Officials must go to Blocks and click on all groups (on the left) for which they are assigned in order for Blocked dates to show up for all groups. We have had multiple instances of officials showing as open for GKCOA, getting assigned by GKCOA, and then turning back dates indicating they were already Blocked. In talking just now with Arbiter about a couple of these officials, the officials had dates blocked for certain groups, but not GKCOA. It is a vital communication tool to get this easy step done.

17. There are several officials who have had health or work issues that prevent them from officiating on certain days either with GKCOA or Suburban Conference. Please keep your Blocks up to date as GKCOA and Mr. Bubalo with Suburban Conference need correct information to best place officials. In addition, please send Don Gard and David Thompson your upcoming weekly open dates. Many officials have picked up matches by doing so. Thanks.    

18. We have openings on 10/5, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12, 14, 16. Please email David and Don. Thanks!


Here is the raw video of the 2021 GKCOA Volleyball Jamboree Webcast. Unfortunately, there was an outage part of the way through the second match, so the video is in two parts:

PART I: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nc5iPwDQevk  

38:06 – Beginning of the broadcast

42:07 – Captains/coaches meeting and coin toss

44:37 – R2/scorer’s table pre-match meeting

46:19 – R1/line judges pre-match meeting

1:05:40 – Winnetonka/Oak Park match begins – focus on R1 techniques

1:42:35 – Winnetonka/North Kansas City match begins – focus on R2 techniques

1:52:29 – Part I ends in set 1 with the score 19-19

PART II: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vhxxov1uTY

26:15 – Winnetonka/Staley – focus on advanced techniques and overlaps

55:58 – Post-match debrief

I plan on adding timestamps of some of the more notable calls and situations later, but this should get you started. Also, the sound quality varies throughout because our microphones were malfunctioning, and we were also wearing masks during the broadcast.


From the perspective of the referee, here is a chart I found on how to signal player numbers when it comes to net violations. For the entire signal sequence, refer to this video: CLICK HERE – SEE NET VIOLATION PROTOCOL


The Suburban Conference does not have an across the board policy on officials wearing masks. Each school or school district will decide their own policies (most likely based on their county/city/local guidance). When you call a school to confirm, it might be wise to ask if you’ll need to wear a mask

Policies may differ from school to school and from night to night. If a school allows you to work without a mask, you can still choose to wear one. What your partner(s) do should have no influence on what you decide to do. Figure out your own philosophy and stick with it.

We have no enforcement over others wearing masks. On court players may be masked. Coaches and bench personnel may be masked. Scorer’s table workers may be masked. Spectators may be masked. Not sure if benches will still be extended to the ends of the basketball court or not.

IF A PLAYER WEARS A MASK, AND IT FALLS OFF DURING PLAY, stop play and issue a replay (Rule 9-8-1g 1). If the mask repeatedly falls, then an unnecessary delay yellow card is issued, and escalates from there. The unnecessary delay applies for the team, therefore, if a different player has it fall off, then the next penalty would be an unnecessary delay red card.


To: MSHSAA Volleyball Coaches, Officials, Athletic Administrators and Principals

From: Davine Davis, MSHSAA

Date: August 9, 2021

Re: Volleyball Uniforms – Illegal Waistbands

The NFHS has made uniform waistbands a point of emphasis in this year’s rules review.  Under current NFHS Volleyball Rule 4-2-1-f, “A single partial/whole manufacturer’s logo/trademark/reference, no more than 2 ¼ square inches with no dimension more than 2 ¼ inches, is permitted on each piece of the uniform provided placement does not interfere with the visibility of the player’s number.” 

When a team cannot begin or continue the match with six players wearing legal waistbands, a loss of rally/point shall be awarded to the opponent (Rule 4-2, Penalty 3).  The match begins and/or continues and the R1 will submit a special report via the MSHSAA website and MSHSAA staff will follow up with school administration.

Any player who attempts or begins to enter the match at a later point, wearing an illegal waistband, will be allowed to enter and the team will be assessed a loss of rally/point, the R1 will submit a special report via the MSHSAA website and the MSHSAA staff will follow up with the school administration. 

The unnecessary delay (administrative yellow card) will not be assessed for illegal waistbands because the team has, or will be penalized, under Rule 4-2, Penalty 3.   

If, during the match, a player is injured and there is blood on the uniform, Penalty 1 or 2 must be used, depending upon when the blood is noticed on the uniform.  This must be corrected before the player can re-enter the match again.  It is a safety issue.

Ultimately, it is each coach’s responsibility to ensure that ALL players on the team are LEGALLYuniformed before the match begins.  If your school does not provide uniform bottom or shorts for your players, it is your responsibility to educate your players and parents so they understand Rule 4-2-1 when purchasing their shorts.  

MSHSAA expects our schools to follow all NFHS and MSHSAA rules for the sport of volleyball and our officials to apply these rules consistently across the state,at all levels of play.   Anything less impacts the integrity of the game and the opportunity for every player to have a chance to participate.  Good luck to everyone on the upcoming season! 


The following are situations we came up with and confirmed with MSHSAA that these are correct.

SIGNAL: Signal 20 (unnecessary delay red card) is used for this penalty.

  1. If a team cannot begin the match with six players with legal waistbands, we begin the match with a penalty point, the opposing team serves, and all players who have illegal waistbands are allowed to play.
  2. If an official witnesses a team wearing illegal waistbands during warmups, but will still have six players with legal waistbands, there is no penalty yet.  The official can remind the coach about the rule, but no penalty occurs since the players with illegal waistbands have not yet started or entered the set.
  3. Once a player actually starts the set with an illegal waistband (during the lineup check), the team is penalized.  Multiple players could have illegal waistbands, but only one point is penalized for the entire match.  If the team was to have served to start the match, they lose the first serve when their team is penalized a point and will rotate one position when they regain the serve.
  4. If a player with an illegal waistband enters the substitution zone and it’s their first violation, the team is penalized.  The substitution is carried out, but if the team was serving, they lose the serve when their team is penalized a point and will rotate one position when they regain the serve.  Therefore, if that sub was supposed to serve, she won’t and the team rotates next time.  Any more players that enter the rest of the match with an illegal waistband are not penalized and allowed to enter.
  5. If a player is discovered with an illegal waistband on the court during the set and it’s their first violation, the team is penalized.  The player remains in the set.  If that team was serving, they lose the next rally and will rotate one position when they regain the serve.  Any more players that enter or are discovered the rest of the match with an illegal waistband are not penalized and allowed to enter or continue playing.
  6. JUST ADDED SCENARIO: If both teams have players with illegal waistbands to start the match and cannot correct the situations, both teams are simultaneously assessed with a violation. Each team begins with one point and NEITHER TEAM ROTATES. Show Signal 20 to the serving team first, then to the receiving them. Each team keeps the same first server, and the set begins. Any more players that enter or are discovered the rest of the match with an illegal waistband are not penalized and allowed to enter or continue playing.
  7. Under all of these scenarios the officials will submit a special report to MSHSAA.


Here’s when to fill out MSHSAA special reports if there are unsporting conduct cards given during a match:


It is legal for a team to wear different styles of uniform bottoms as long as they are like-colored:


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.


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:


Sat., Oct. 16: Middle school season-ending tournaments

Thurs., Oct. 21-Tues., Oct. 26:  Districts

Thurs., Oct. 28: Sectionals

Sat., Oct. 30: Quarterfinals

Thurs., Nov. 4-Sat., Nov. 6: State in Cape Girardeau