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!

REMINDER FROM DIXIE WESCOTT, MSHSAA RULES INTERPRETER: Please make sure to read and review the TWO emails from MSHSAA regarding beads in the hair (shown below) and waistbands (scroll down to archived announcements) because those situations are being handled DIFFERENTLY than what it says in the rules book.


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. 



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.


  1. 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!!

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

3. 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!  



  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.


  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.


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.


Here are the newly announced teams in each MSHSAA class and district for the post-season tournaments for AREA SCHOOLS ONLY. HOSTS HAVE NOT BEEN ANNOUNCED YET – 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. MAKE SURE TO SIGN UP FOR POST-SEASON OPPORTUNITIES ON THE MSHSAA WEBSITE BY FRI., SEPT. 3!!!!

CLASS 5 – District 11 does not have area schools, but District 12 is made up of area and non-area schools. The others are all in the Kansas City area.






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.



I don’t normally send out multiple emails like this and wait to put announcements in the Sunday newsletter (I think tons of emails are annoying), but with the Part II exam now available, I wanted to get this information to you ASAP before you take it.  Hopefully, I’m not too late for most of you! 

I just finished taking the MSHSAA Part II exam, and I was reminded of a couple of universal truths regarding these type of exams that will hopefully help you out.  Over the years, I have found these out the hard way–just trying to assist you in not making the same mistakes! 

Read each WORD of every question carefully.  Never assume that if a test question sentence starts out like a sentence in the rules book, that the sentence will finish that way. Be careful of the word “NOT” or an opposite word – sometimes they like either throwing “NOT” in a question or removing it or changing a word to its opposite (like “legal” vs. “illegal”) just to see if you’re paying attention.  That one word change can mean all the difference in an answer being true or false. 

These questions are written by NFHS and do not take any COVID protocols or Missouri adaptations into account.  The actual wording in the rules book is what they’re going by, not what other documents may or may not say.  So, in other words, pretend that we are switching sides and that we have the option to wear different shirt colors for the purposes of this exam. 

There’s probably some other tips I could point out, but those usually help out the most.  Just go back to your days in school when you had that one teacher who liked to give you trick questions and remember what you had to do to pass those quizzes and apply that knowledge here.  See?  The things you learned in school really do have real life implications!


If you would like to work MSHSAA district, sectional, quarterfinals, and state as a referee and/or line judge, make sure to fill out the application available on http://www.mshsaa.org by Mon., Sept. 6.


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:


Mon., Sept. 6: Labor Day, Part II test deadline, MSHSAA post-season application due (www.mshsaa.org)

Sun., Sept. 19: GKCOA Meeting #4 at Winnetonka – 4:30-6:00pm – all officials

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