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! Great job this season!!



Here are some questions that have been sent to Dixie Wescott or myself by coaches or referees and the responses.

  • Stay tuned to our Sunday Newsletter extra edition for end of the season Q and A since we were unable to have our final Zoom meeting – email ken.corum@nkcschools.org if you have a burning question or a situation to share.


  • With 24 hours or less prior to turning back an assignment, a phone call to talk with the assigner AND a follow up text to confirm the message was received are best practices. Email in such instances seems to assume assigners are constantly monitoring for such. The call and follow up text show greater respect for the game, partners, coaches, players, and assigners.
  • Please stay updated open Arbiter and let David and Don know your availability in case we have turn backs. We have had several officials get sick in recent days. We may need replacements for Districts. We will also need Line Judges for Sectionals and Quarterfinals. Thanks!
  • Anticipating next season:
    • 1. Did I achieve my goals for this season?
    • 2. Did I help my partners or the game improve?
    • 3. How can I use the summer clinics as an opportunity to prep for next season?
    • 4. Who can I recruit to officiate VB?


MORE INFORMATION: https://www.gkcoa.org/golf



Make plans to join us on Saturday, May 6, 2023 for our 13th Annual Golf Tournament in support of local high school seniors. Proceeds benefit the GKCOA Scholarship Fund, a 501(c)(3) organization.  Since the fund’s inception in 2011, over $39,000 has been awarded in scholarships to deserving student athletes within the Kansas City area.

  • Join us at Adams Point Golf Club in Blue Springs, MO
  • All supporters of student-athletes welcome
  • 18 holes of golf, range balls, and cart
  • Four-Person Scramble format with Shotgun Start
  • Beverages and snacks available
  • Breakfast, Lunch and Snack & Swag bags for all golfers
  • Cash prizes for winning teams in multiple flights
  • Raffle and Online Auction
  • Hole-in-One Contest(s) and 3-Putt Combo Contest
  • Numerous Contests, Prizes, and Awards!

Questions about our tournament?  Email us at golf@gkcoa.org

In 2022 the GKCOA Scholarship Fund awarded $7,000 in scholarships amongst thirteen high school seniors, and we have now awarded $39,000 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 at least 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 https://www.gkcoa.org/scholarships.

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 by email at golf@gkcoa.org.

Brian Verman

Tournament Director


  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.
  3. 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.
    • Each team is entitled to one half of the court during the 3-minute stretching and ball-handling period.
    • Each team will have access to the full court during their 6 minutes to warm-up.
    • The team that will receive first will warm-up (full court) first.
    • The serving team will warm-up (full court) during the second 5 minutes.
    • The 6-minute warm-up for each team includes serving.
    • 1-minute left on clock to clear the court for competition.
    • If space permits, teams shall be allowed to warm-up during the match prior in a designated area of thehost schools’ facility.
  4. The BOTTOM team on the bracket will be the home team in even numbered yearsmake 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.
  5. 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: 
  6. 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 other barrier) 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.
  7. For those of you working sectionals and quarterfinals, the start time of the Thursday (Oct. 27) sectional will be 6:30pm (no options for the schools to change the time) and the Saturday (Oct. 29) 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 you are interested in viewing district tournament brackets, click HERE and then go to the appropriate Class and District. If you are interested in attending as a spectator, take note of where specific matches are being played in Class 4 and 5. For instance, some matches in the Liberty district are being played at North Kansas City. Unfortunately, MSHSAA will not allow non-working referees and line judges in for free, like many schools do during the regular season.


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.


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.  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 FRI., OCT. 21.


Club volleyball training begins in November and the season runs from January to April. If you are interested, please click here and fill out this form: https://hoavb.org/newrefs/ – Heart of America is the local region of USA Volleyball that governs club play.


Cathy Klassen has the GKCOA batch of pink whistles in the event you need one when working a cancer awareness event. Her email is klassens5@aol.com – please contact her to make the arrangements on payment and delivery. Each whistle is $10.

Reminder on cancer awareness events: they usually take place in October and it is not mandatory for officials to wear pink whistles, but if you do, please make sure that either both or neither official are wearing them. We don’t want one wearing one and the other not wearing one to give the impression that only one official supports the cancer awareness event. Some officials will own and carry an extra pink whistle in case their partner doesn’t have one.

ALSO–PRO TIP: to everyone working a cancer awareness event–MAKE SURE TO DOUBLE CHECK THE ROSTERS–sometimes teams will wear pink jerseys with different numbers that their normal roster, but the coach will forget to change the numbers on their new roster. Be preventive, so you won’t have to penalize when the match starts.


Here’s the list of GKCOA members whom we are aware of that have been selected by MSHSAA for matches after districts. We do not get the complete list from MSHSAA, so please email David Thompson (prodaveref@comcast.net) and/or Ken Corum (ken.corum@nkcschools.org) with your assignment so we can recognize you!

STATE TOURNAMENT: Trent Bryant and Dixie Ousley

Cheryl Aston: Class 1 quarterfinal – R2

Lisa Baney: Class 1 sectional – R2

Ken Corum: Class 3 sectional – R1, Class 5 quarterfinal – R2

Jim Cox: Class 3 sectional – R1, Class 2 quarterfinal – R1

Don Gard: Class 5 quarterfinal – R1

Jamie Gehrke: Class 2 sectional – R2, Class 2 quarterfinal – R2

Rob Kyle: Class 2 sectional – R1

Dixie Ousley: Class 5 quarterfinal – R2

Tammie Spencer: Class 1 sectional – R1

David Thompson: Class 3 sectional – R2, Class 3 quarterfinal – R1

Brian Verman: Class 4 quarterfinal – R1

Dixie Wescott: Class 2 sectional – R2, Class 4 quarterfinal – R2


  • Thank you for a great season!


During our MSHSAA observations, we are noticing some general items and reminders that we would like to bring to everyone’s attention:

  • Just a reminder that on the coin toss, the protocol in the NFHS Officials Manual indicate that we do not flip the coin over after catching it.



In my junior high matches the other night the teams did slap hands at the start of the match, but the C/JV/V tonight did not. Is there a protocol we should share with teams to make it more uniform? Does MSHSAA have a ruling on this? It is totally up to the two schools on how to handle that.  It won’t be uniform for every match since some schools still might not be comfortable with slapping hands yet. We cannot “control” that or provide our thoughts.

During the match, the student section for the home team started turning on the light on their cell phones and showed them during play. Is that a violation? Yes…case book play 12.3 Situation A describes what is to be done regarding unruly spectators. Actions like this certainly qualifies as conduct that is disruptive to the match. The R1 should suspend play and have host management resolve the situation and prevent the students from displaying the cell phone lights during the match.

On a third contact, Team A contacts the ball and the ball lands out of bounds on Team A’s side. What is the proper violation signal for that situation: touch or out? For that description, the proper call is touch. When the ball last touches a player before landing out of bounds on that team’s side (for any of the three contacts), the call should be touch.

However, here’s where some people may get confused: if a player makes the third contact, then the ball hits the net, and then the ball rebounds back and lands out on the same side of the net, then the call would be out, as it touched the net last prior to going out of bounds.

I had a question about one of the photos of a referee stand you said was legally padded in last week’s Sunday Newsletter. The rule said that 5 1/2 feet of padding from the floor must be used. What about the circled part?

Yes, you are absolutely correct! That circled part must also be padded! This is a great example of what makes GKCOA fantastic because we are able to help each other out like this. I made a mistake, and I appreciate the fact someone held me accountable! That’s a good example of how we all can be mentors to one another. Please make sure to take at least five minutes or longer after each match to visit with your partner(s) regarding any issues that came up during the evening so that we can continue learning from each other and to continuously improve as officials and human beings. None of us are perfect and know it all–including myself!

Can a team have tie dye uniforms? It is legal provided that the number is clearly visible (ex: use solid black on light colored dyes or solid white on darker dyes) and a libero top would need to be very distinct and most likely a solid color in contrast with the tie-dye colors.  

If a player spins around and her ponytail contacts the net, is that a violation? Rule 9-6-7a states that when a player’s loose hair touches the net, it is not a fault.

Or maybe not just a ponytail…LOL 😂

Are plastic spacers in the ears or nose considered jewelry? YES – See Casebook play 4.1.7 Situation C (page 15)

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


Does a line judge call out of bounds, by way of flag, if the ball touches the ceiling supports on its way over to the opponents side?  Is that a LJ responsibility? Rule 5-9-3:  “During the set, each line judge shall assist the first referee and second referee by communicating with the first referee when asked, when the ball touches the ceiling or overhead obstruction, if out of the view of the referees.”

So, line judges don’t signal, but if asked, can provide the R1 with that information after the play is over. 


  • Not only should you be reading the rules book, but please take a look and find out information in the case book as well. There’s information there that may not be expressly written in the rules book, plus when the wording of the rule in the rules book might be unclear to you, sometimes reading examples of the enforcement of that rule in the case book may make more sense to you.
  • Officials have zero jurisdiction regarding MSHSAA by-laws. Do not get involved in conversations with coaches regarding by-law questions. Two common examples are how many sets a player may play in a night, or what players can and cannot do with club volleyball during the high school season. Refer coaches to speak with their athletic directors about such questions.
  • Pay close attention in the NFHS casebook to the start of the match and subsequent set protocols on pp. 71-72.
  • Please be mindful of the wording of the new hair adornment rule. We do not have jurisdiction to tell a player, by way of the coach, to put their hair up just because it is long.  If it does not go against the rules (beads, clips, etc), it is not our call.  A player may have their hair as long as they want it, and we cannot tell them to put it up if it does not violate a NFHS/MSHSAA rule.
  • Many times when I receive a question about a rule, the answer can easily be found in the rules book or case book. The case book may actually be a better resource than the rules book because that’s where a lot of the “what if” situations are addressed. Make sure to check your books first, and then if there’s still confusion, I will welcome that email.
  • CASEBOOK PLAY 1.5.4 SITUATION: Team B arrives with only five players at start time for the first set. The coach calls both team time-outs to allow more time to complete the team. The R2 awards the time-outs and when no additional player arrives declares a (first set) forfeit and begins the clock for the timed interval for the next set. RULING: Correct procedure. COMMENT: A time-out(s) may be granted prior to the set. Every effort should be made to have the set played before declaring a forfeit. The time interval is given before declaring a forfeit for set No. 2 if Team B is still incomplete. This same procedure is followed into set No. 3 (if best 3 of 5). If a sixth player does not arrive, the match is forfeited (after set 2 for 2/3, after set 3 for 3/5).
  • CASEBOOK PLAY 9.9.1 SITUATION A: After being warned with an administrative yellow card in Set No. 1, Team S continues to huddle after each point in the same set, delaying resumption of play. RULING: Unnecessary delay; Team S is issued an administrative red card, resulting in loss of rally/point. COMMENT: For unnecessary delay, the head coach does not lose the privilege to stand during play.
  • Please take the time to read and understand the following rules: (p. 38) Rules 9-5-4, 9-5-5 (and NOTE), 9-5-6; (p. 20) Rule 5-2-1 and 5-2-2.
  • In the Officials Manual (Casebook), please read the section titled “STARTING THE MATCH” on pp. 71-72.


  • R2 – during timeouts, make sure to visit with your scorer and double check the scoresheet for the proper score, number of substitutions, and timeouts taken. This is important because if you do so, then if there’s a dispute with the score, number of subs, or number of timeouts later, then you only have to back track to the last point in time where you previously checked those items at the last timeout instead of going back further.
  • R2 – be aware that if a ball hits or travels outside the antenna on your side only, that is YOUR CALL to whistle and signal to R1. As usual, the R2 signals the violation first and then R1 awards the point with R2 mimicking.
  • R1 – after awarding the point, make sure that you’re paying attention to the players on the court and the benches between plays. It’s easy as R1 to take a mental break between plays, but in some respects, you need to pay more attention to potential taunting between players on the court or improper actions of the coaches/players on the bench. Even though the R2’s primary responsibility is to handle the benches, they may be busy with substitutions, timeout requests, or issues at the scorer’s table during that time–plus the R1 has a direct view across the court to see such behavior easier than R2.
  • Pay attention to exactly how a rally ends in order to make the proper violation signal. NOT EVERY SINGLE PLAY ENDS WITH A DOWN BALL SIGNAL! For instance, when a third ball that gets shanked into the net and rebounds out of the net and touches a player that has given up on the play occurs, the proper signal should be “four contacts.” So, please pay attention all the way through the end of the play to signal the actual violation properly.
  • Be aware of uniform legality. Here’s the rule book citation on what is legal: CLICK HERE Please make sure that libero uniforms are contrasting with the regular jerseys. We can get deep into the weeds here, but generally dark vs. light jerseys work best. If you have a hard time distinguishing colors, you are within your rights to visit with the coach and request a change of libero uniform top.
  • Remember to take your time when calling and signaling a violation. There should be three separate parts. Whistle, award point, infraction. We’re seeing whistles and signals happening simultaneously instead of separation of the three parts.
  • Please review the end of timeout procedure (page 80 of the NFHS officials manual/case book) – remember, the R2 is in control of the timeout until they give the court back to the R1. So, when the timeout clock gets to 15 seconds remaining, there should be a double whistle from the R2 to remind the teams to return to the court. Then, there should be a horn when the time runs out to end the timeout. OR if both teams are ready early, blow the whistle early when teams are ready to play and have the timer hit the horn early. Every timeout ends with one double whistle and one horn. After the horn, indicate the number of timeouts taken to the R1. The R1 mimics that signal, then the R2 gives the ready signal and return the court to the R1. The R1 will then beckon for the serve. Please make sure to pre-match that procedure with your partner prior to the match and do your best to execute the protocol properly.
  • As R2, please make sure to confer with the scorer during timeouts and count the number of points and subs for each team on the sheet and confirm the correct score. It may sound like overkill to do so, but you may be surprised how many times there’s a score controversy near the end of a close set and you have no idea how to fix it if you don’t know how the points were scored.
  • During your pre-match equipment and facilities check, also make sure that the bench chairs are outside the attack (ten-foot) line. That saves problems during the match when bench personnel are in the substitution zone when they aren’t supposed to be there.


  • In Suburban Conference assigned matches, R1 and R2 are assigned for matches. GKCOA does not assign R1/R2 in each match. Therefore, the two officials will need to discuss who is assuming which position upon arrival.
  • Officials must check into Arbiter and click on Schedule tab daily. We have had lots of changes and expect lots more. 
  • Please continue to email Don Gard and David Thompson every Sunday with your open dates for the upcoming week. This helps with communication and scheduling. 
  • Keep your uniform handy (in your vehicle?) in case of last minute assignments
  • Be aware that some schools decide they aren’t able to fill C-Silver or other teams and matches need to be cancelled
  • If that significantly impacts your schedule, the assignors will attempt to get you other matches, if possible
  • Line judging Suburban Conference varsity matches:
    • Usually it’s combined with a C-Gold match
    • Sometimes a line judging assignment is stand along
    • This is a conference request – very few officials in the state have this opportunity
    • [‘Philosophy:  Great opportunity to improve and could lead to other opportunities down the road
  • GKCOA and Suburban Conference are both hurting on 9/6, 9/8, 9/13, 9/15. Officials need to check blocks and let us know if they are actually open so Don, David, and Mark Bubalo can remove auto decline blocks.
  • For the good of the whole, we are so tight on officials on certain nights that there may be switches in assignments where individuals who can only work an earlier or later match time may bump another official without any time constraints to another match at another level. For example, this may mean an official who was working a later C-team or JV match might be moved to a earlier middle school match. If that happens, the intent is not to demean that official–we just need to be as efficient and nimble as possible with our personnel to make sure ALL matches get covered with quality officials.
  • Please double check blocks. If a date is blocked and you are open, Don and David need to know. 
  • Please email Don and David with open dates.
  • After you accept an assignment, please double check Arbiter to make sure that it is actually accepted. We have heard reports from some that they accept and click “submit” only to find the match still hasn’t been officially accepted.
  • Make sure to contact the host school of where you will be officiating about one week in advance of your assignment to confirm the date, time, location, and any other details you may need to know (like special parking situations, construction issues at the school, etc.). Click on the assignment in Arbiter to obtain email and/or phone numbers of the athletic director and the athletic administrative assistant. Calling or emailing is acceptable. Many problems can be solved in advance through this simple procedure instead of being surprised when you arrive on match night when a key detail about the match may not have been properly communicated with you.
  • If you notice a red “R” attached to your assignment, please ignore it. This is a report function GKCOA does not use. 
  • If you turn back or cancel out of an assignment less than 48 hours prior to the start of the assignment, please call Don Gard or David Thompson. Sometimes there are glitches in email or text delivery and these assignments need to recovered in a timely manner with appropriate personnel
  • If you are officiating a Saturday tournament and have not heard from your crew chief within a week of the tournament, please reach out to your crew chief.
  • October 15 is a heavy tournament day–end of season citywide 8th grade tourneys and more. We will be booked to the max. If you are open, please email David and Don. Please double check your blocks in case you had an auto decline and are still open this date. 
  • If a situation changes when you reach a gym, please officiate the matches as requested by the AD or coaches. GKCOA will adjust on this end. If you find the situation has changed prior to arriving at the gym (prior email or phone contact), please contact David Thompson and Don Gard so they can adjust in Arbiter. Please also take note to the Notepad icon on any of your assignments. If it is orange, there are details there about the format and potential pay for the assignments. 
  • How do I move up or get more/better assignments? 
    • –Keep Arbiter blocks up to date 
    • –Email assigners with open dates 
    • –Attend meetings and be engaged 
    • –Send in case plays 
    • –Ask to be observed 
    • –Ask for help with the game (recognizing alignment, back row issues, etc.) 
    • –Ask to come observe Varsity crew
  • Please keep your calendar updated on Arbiter as GKCOA anticipates requests for Line Judges for Sectionals and Quarterfinals. 
  • Please help recruit more officials. GKCOA anticipates needing 15-20 new officials, minimum, over the next 5 years in order to meet officiating levels for the next 20 years.


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:


By now, most refereeing and line judging assignments should have gone out to those of you who have been requested to work.  However, you must OFFICIALLY accept your assignment through www.mshsaa.org! If you don’t, you won’t get paid.

142 of the 151 slots for referees and line judges in our area draft went to GKCOA members (94%) and 52 different GKCOA members were selected to work districts. This is great representation from GKCOA!

Stay tuned, selections for sectionals, quarterfinals, and state are already being made directly from MSHSAA. If you are selected for one of those positions please email me or David Thompson so GKCOA can recognize you, as MSHSAA does not send us copies of those selections.

Below are the pay scales published by MSHSAA for post-season referees and line judges for this year, although there can be no more than 2 matches per night, so the numbers beyond that are irrelevant. Your MSHSAA contract will say what zone you are in for mileage purposes.




The Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) has selected the Civic Arena in St. Joseph, Mo., to host its volleyball championships beginning in the 2025-26 school year. The agreement would also include the 2026-27 and 2027-28 school years also. 

In June, the MSHSAA Board of Directors accepted the hosting proposal from Cape Girardeau for hosting the 2023 and 2024 Volleyball Championships at the Show Me Center on the Southeast Missouri State University campus. 

“It is an honor to host a Missouri State High School Activities Association State Championship in our community!”, said Director of Development and St. Joseph Sports Commission Brett Esely. “As part of the St. Joseph Sports Commission’s rebirth at the beginning of this year, our goal is to find the right fits and niches that thrive in our community in concert with sports of heavy interest. Volleyball participation in our area is huge, coupled with the success of our local high schools and other area teams, we feel St. Joseph and Civic Arena is the perfect fit for this event!” 

Opened in 1980, the Civic Arena seats 3,750 fans. The arena has a multitude of events in its history including four NCAA Women’s Basketball National Championships (2003, 2004, 2010, 2011) and will host the 2023 & 2024 championship as well, two US Olympics Weightlifting trials, the Small College Basketball Hall of Fame Classic, Hillyard Tip-Off Classic, MIAA Volleyball Championship, Missouri State High School Activities Association district and sectional competitions, Harlem Globetrotters along with being a civic hub for numerous other events serving the region. 

“We are delighted to have communities come together in hosting our events. One of the highlights of any championship is to showcase the top-notch facilities we have in our state. Having worked with the St. Joseph community with other championships, we relish the opportunity to return.” 

The championship has been held at the Show-Me Center since 2011. Municipal Auditorium hosted the event from 2008-2010. The University of Central Missouri hosted from 1988-2007. Prior to the 1988 championship, the event was held at a variety of locations. 

Currently the MSHSAA Volleyball Championships includes a total of 20 teams from across Missouri. Five classifications, with four teams each, crown a champion at the event. 
Release in PDF


Sometimes at a tournament, the situation arises where the scorer and team benches are on the R1’s side. 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 (see photo above).  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. Work with the other R2 from the other court to decide what may be best given the situation.
  • Remember the rule where any player is not allowed to enter the adjacent court at any time (before, during, or after playing the ball). Make sure you’ve discussed with your partner who will have primary responsibility for making that call–sometimes it’s easier for R1 to see the player enter the other court in his/her range of vision behind R2 if the ball has already been played back to the court and R2 must focus attention back towards the court for possible net violations.


Here’s a good video on how to properly signal the player number of someone who commits a net violation, according to the NFHS Officials’ Manual. The only correction that needs to be made to the video is at the very end–#0 should be shown by actually making a 0 with one hand, and #00 is an illegal number, so there’s no need for that signal.

How closely are you reading your NFHS casebook? Here are some situations directly from the casebook that you might not have known:
4.2.1 SITUATION G: Two players from Team A are wearing compression sleeves that are different in color from the uniform top and are different colors between players. RULING: Legal. COMMENT: Compression sleeves, knee pads and socks are not considered part of the uniform that must be of a like or similar color or the same color between teammates.
7.1.2 SITUATION C: Team S coach submits the lineup. While checking the lineup, the R2 notices that Team S has Player #7 listed on the lineup sheet starting in the RF position. Player #12 is on the court. (a) Team S does not have a Player #7. The R2 allows Team S to make the change and count #12’s entry as a substitution. (b) Team S does not have a Player #7. The R2 informs the coach that there is a loss of rally/point penalty for having submitted an inaccurate lineup, but #12 can remain in the set and it is not counted towards the 18 allowed substitutions. (c) Team S has a Player #7. The coach puts #7 on the court for the lineup check and then substitutes #12 prior to the start of the set, which counts as one of the 18 allowed substitutions. RULING: In (b) incorrect procedure; (a) and (c) correct procedure. COMMENT: Legal substitutions may take place prior to the set. If a player is listed on the lineup and that number does not exist, the team shall substitute a player with a legal number in that position. The team is charged with a substitution. (7-1-4a)
8.1.6 SITUATION A: After the R1’s signal for serve, the server: (a) swings and misses the tossed ball; (b) swings, misses and the ball contacts the server’s shoulder; (c) lets the tossed ball drop to the floor; (d) catches a bad toss; (e) tosses the ball, then lets it drop without swinging at it, but it touches the server’s knee as it drops to the floor. RULING: (a), (c), (d), and (e) re-serve; (b) illegal serve. COMMENT: In (b), an illegal serve is assessed as there was both a service attempt and player contact with the ball. In (e), a re-serve is issued since there was no attempt to play the ball.
9.4.1 SITUATION: Team R attacks the ball, causing it to go out of bounds. To avoid contacting the ball, Team S’s CB ducks out of its path. Prior to the ball landing out of bounds, it brushes the ponytail of a player from Team S. The R1 signals “touch” and a loss of rally/point. RULING: Incorrect procedure. COMMENT: Loose hair is not considered a touch on the ball the same as loose hair contacting the net is not a fault.
10.2.5 SITUATION B: During a time-out, substitutions may occur (a) during the time-out without the normal exchange procedure; (b) at the end of the time-out after both teams have returned to the court following the normal exchange procedure. RULING: (a) incorrect procedure, (b) correct procedure. COMMENT: Improves communication between R2 and R1, coaches and fans when a substitution occurs at the end of a time-out.
10.3.1 SITUATION B: Team A makes the following substitutions at different times during the set: 11 for 13, then 9 for 11, and then 12 for 9. RULING: Legal. COMMENT: These players may enter the set an unlimited amount of times as long as the entry is in the original position and the total number of substitutions does not exceed 18. Any number of players may enter into a position. However, none of these players may enter into a different position in the rotation order for that set. COMMENT FROM KEN: Remember, for a libero replacement, the player replaced by the libero MUST come back in for the libero–however, that is not the case for regular substitutions. If #12 subs in for #9, #9 DOES NOT HAVE TO RETURN IMMEDIATELY. #11 can sub in for #12, then #9 can sub in for #11 later. The only thing to watch for is that #9, #11, and #12 can only sub into that exact spot in the serving order, not anywhere else.
11.5.3 SITUATION: Between sets, Team S (a) jogs around its side of the court; (b) goes into the locker room; (c) starts hitting volleyballs in their own playing area while Team R rests on the bench; (d) starts hitting volleyballs into Team R’s playing area. RULING: (a), (b), and (c) legal; (d) illegal. COMMENT: Volleyballs cannot be hit over the net between sets; players may warm up on their respective court. Players must keep volleyballs in their playing area.
Take a few minutes every so often to read a few plays out of the casebook–oftentimes, the casebook can make more sense of a rule than the rules book!


I had an email from someone asking what the Suburban Conference was. It struck me that maybe there’s a need to explain for those of you who are new or have forgotten. The following schools are in the Suburban Conference (each division is made up primarily of schools with similar enrollment size and is considered it’s own “conference” for championship purposes) and officials for these varsity/JV dual matches are scheduled by Mark Bubalo:

With a few exceptions, officials for all lower level matches and tournaments in the Suburban Conference and some non-Suburban varsity matches are scheduled by GKCOA. Varsity tournament scheduling is mainly split between Suburban Conference and GKCOA. The Suburban Conference is also where we get our officials’ pay rates. An executive committee of administrators and superintendents of these school districts make those decisions. Hopefully, that clears up some of those questions!


If you scroll down below towards the end of the archived material, you’ll see which team is in which district. In addition, the district hosts are being decided and revealed. If you are hoping to get drafted to referee at districts, it will be to your advantage to make sure that you are known to these athletic directors and district managers.

It is inappropriate to contact them for the sole purpose of asking them to draft you, but when you are officiating at a school where that administrator happens to be there, it might be a good idea to introduce yourself so they can put a name with a face when it comes time for the draft. Again, please do not make any requests to get drafted or even discuss the draft. Just make sure they know your name and then go out a ref a great match so they will want to draft you!!

CLASS 5 HOSTS: Lee’s Summit, Liberty (Blue Springs and Independence schools have been assigned to Rock Bridge’s district)

CLASS 4 HOSTS: St. Michael’s, Kearney

CLASS 3 HOSTS: Pleasant Hill, St. Pius X, Odessa, Savannah

CLASS 2 HOSTS: Adrian, University Academy, Carrollton, East Buchanan

CLASS 1 HOSTS: Osceola, Santa Fe, Maysville, South Holt


Thank you to those of you who took the quiz in last week’s Sunday Newsletter. Overall, the average score was 8/10 (80% is a B-minus in school terms – I am a teacher, after all 😂). Here’s how each question broke down:


93% got this one correct.


Only 58% got this correct. You really had to carefully read and comprehend what is happening here. Essentially, there’s joust above the net between two opposing the players where the ball is contacted by both simultaneously. Since the ball went out on Team A’s side, Rule 9-4-6d says that “the player on the opposite side of the net from which the ball falls shall be considered the player to have touched the ball last.” Therefore, since the Team B player was considered to have hit the ball out, then Team A wins the rally. 21% said to replay the rally…many years ago, that was the rule, but that’s not the case today.


87% got this correct.


93% got this one correct.


84% got this one correct.


86% got this one correct.


66% got this one correct. My suspicion is that the word “partially” was the difference.


93% got this one correct.


85% got this one correct.


61% got this one correct.


The average score was 7.7 out of 10–a C+

Make sure to take a close look at these responses–we have gone over each one of these either in a GKCOA meeting or in the Sunday Newsletter. If you aren’t paying attention, you’re missing out!

83% got this one correct.
93% got this one correct.
Only 43% got this one correct.
97% got this one correct.
97% got this one correct.
70% got this one correct.
93% got this one correct.
97% got this one correct.
90% got this one correct.
Only 43% got this one correct. Logically, it doesn’t make sense since illegal alignment is supposed to be called at the moment of serve, not after the beckon, but that is the way the NFHS rule does currently read.


Here’s the good video (about 32 minutes long) I referred to in the GKCOA meeting that shows a number of scenarios that will hopefully help you get started in understanding how to call overlaps and to remind those of you who are experienced in what to look for:


In our meeting last week, one of the talking points was that R2’s can do a better job of staying focused on the net. If we take our eyes off the net and watch the ball after it’s been attacked even for a split second, that’s all it takes for a net to be shaking and a violation occurs where we might not know what exactly happened. Here’s an example:

Did you see what actually happened the first time, or did you have to replay it more than once? Taking your eyes off the net here might mean that you missed the attacker on the left actually kick the net and the wrong team would get awarded with the point! (That’s exactly what happened here!!) Also, that question about ponytails from above applies here as well. The net could be shaking after an attack after a ponytail contacts it and a coach will get upset about that as well! If you are watching the net properly, it’s easy to inform the coach that the net was contacted by loose hair. Make sure as R2, we are focused on the net and center line while there are players in the vicinity!


Remember Rule 3-1-1 and 3-1-3 in particular when inspecting the net, standards, and referee stand prior to a match.

Rule 3-1-1 says “Any exposed steel cable and/or metal tensioning device through the top and bottom of the net shall be covered.” For instance, these examples below of exposed metal should be covered (note “covered” is not the same as “padded”…usually, just a sleeve or tape over the metal is sufficient):

Rule 3-1-3 states that “standards shall be padded to a minimum height of 5 1/2 feet with at least 1-inch-think resilient, shock-absorbing material” (“covered” is not sufficient here) and “front and sides of the first referee’s platform shall be padded in the same manner as the standards.” Here are things to look for:

This pole above is NOT padded properly–the blue handles must be padded to 5 1/2 feet as well. The referee stand is padded on the front and sides. The wheels protruding off the back do not have to be covered or padded.

This referee stand above is not properly padded. The vertical portions of the ladder and the vertical poles on the front of the stand all need padding. It’s hard to tell here, but the side of the platform (where it says Porter) might also need padding. This is a safety issue. If a school cannot provide proper equipment padding, the match shall not be played and a MSHSAA special report needs to be filed.

This referee stand above is mostly padded, but the front of the stand (with those horizontal poles) needs to be properly padded.

Sometimes a ceiling-suspended net and referee stand bring some extra challenges. Normally, the rungs of a ladder aren’t padded, but when the ladder is located on the side as pictured above, the rungs MUST be padded. Usually pool noodles can be used to cover and pad those rungs.

Again, let’s make sure that we all take a few extra minutes at the start of the season to make sure the equipment is safe. Some schools have purchased new equipment and might not be aware of the rules. If we all do our jobs at the start of the season, then every crew that follows you at that school will be better off!


Also, as you inspect your equipment prior to the match, make sure your antennae are set correctly on the net:


Somewhere in the country (not sure where), a team took the court with these two jerseys:

No issues, right? Clearly contrasting. But, when they turned around, here’s what that looked like:

This is where Rule 4-2-2 comes into play and knowing the definition of “predominant color” is helpful. Let’s say the #10 is wearing the regular jersey and #15 is the libero jersey. The regular jersey’s predominant color would be black. In that case, any possible predominant color of the libero jersey cannot be black. Here’s a slide from a legal uniform powerpoint (created when the current rules went to effect a few years ago) currently on the MSHSAA volleyball page that explains.

What if #15 was the regular jersey and #10 was the libero jersey? If the regular jersey has two predominant colors, then the libero jersey can be neither of those colors.

So, the whole idea is that the referees should be able to determine who the libero is from any angle at any time. In this case, if the libero’s back is turned, it’s not easy to determine. This is why it’s important to check uniforms prior to the match to make sure delays during the match don’t happen while you have players change uniforms and can avoid delays. If they are unable to have legal uniforms, then the team will not be allowed to have a libero.

In case you’re wondering, the powerpoint on the MSHSAA page I referenced above can be found at: https://www.mshsaa.org/resources/pdf/uniformrequirement.pdf.


Also, some of you with eagle eyes may have noticed that in the second photo above, that the numbers on the back of the jerseys are currently legal, but will not be next year. Remember this upcoming rule change for 2023:

If you see this during the season this year, you may want to kindly mention to the coach that this will be an illegal jersey next year.


On SportsCenter last week, one of the top plays was this play in a college match. A couple of you asked me if this is would be a legal high school play:

The answer is yes! Rule 9-4-5 states that legal contact “is a touch of the ball by any part of a player’s body which does not allow the ball to visibly come to rest or involve prolonged contact with a player’s body.” 

Here’s another one that also happened last week at Illinois State where the ball did land in after a couple of kicks:

So, the announcer of these matches may not say “GOOOOOOOOAAAAALLLLLL!” but these plays do count as a point! 


The headline story for referees (especially those who work Class 4 and 5) is the fact that in those classes, MSHSAA has only created 8 districts statewide instead of the normal 16. In other words, there will only be 8 district champions in Class 4 and 5 that will automatically advance to the quarterfinals–there will not be any sectional matches in those classes. The number of post-season matches does not change–the Round of 16 match used to be the sectional match, but now it will be the district championship. What that means for referees, is that the district draft will now assign one more round of post-season referees. Only Class 4-5 quarterfinals and state will be assigned by MSHSAA.

The playoff format in Classes 1, 2, and 3 will remain unchanged from previous years with 16 districts statewide and a sectional round to be assigned by MSHSAA.

Here’s who is in each class and district in our area. The district host schools will be determined later.








To: Volleyball Coaches, Officials and Athletic Directors 

From: Davine Davis, MSHSAA

Re: Red, White and Blue Volleyball 

In January, the Board of Directors approved a recommendation from the Volleyball Advisory Committee to use the red, white and blue Baden game ball during regular season contests, excluding tournaments.  Due to the supply shortage of this ball, MSHSAA has suspended the implementation of this procedure for 2022-23 school year.  Thank you.


To: Volleyball Coaches, Officials and Athletic Directors

From: Davine Davis, MSHSAA

Re: Modified 3rd Set in Sub-Varsity Matches/Tournaments

Welcome to the start of the 2022 Girls Volleyball Season!  Each year there seems to be confusion surrounding the modified 3rd set adoption for sub-varsity matches and tournaments.  Section 2-J of the MSHSAA Volleyball Manual states schools have the option to abbreviate the 3rd set, when played, to 15 points, win by two.  If both schools do not agree to abbreviate the 3rd set, the set will be played to 25 points.  This modification should be specified in the game contract, the officials contract and agreed upon prior to the match.  This modification is only allowed at the junior high, freshman and junior varsity level (sub-varsity).  Varsity level tournaments utilizing the best of 3 format, must play the 3rd set to 25 points, win by two.  

Conferences may agree to utilize the modified 3rd set for the season.  However, if you schedule non-conference matches, you need to make sure that school has agreed to this format.  If the school does not want to modify the 3rd set, you have two options.   The first is agree to play the 3rd set to 25 points or two, do not schedule a contest with that school.  As stated in Section 2-J, you cannot force your conference rules on non-conference or out-of-state schools.  I hope everyone has a fantastic season!

COMMENT FROM KEN: We already covered this situation in our GKCOA meetings. Despite what is written above, most of the time, the decision to go 15 or 25 points in the deciding set is made at the coaches/captains meeting. At tournaments, hopefully, the tournament director has already made the decision for all matches prior to the start of the tournament. Remember, this rule only applies to NON-VARSITY matches.


In the GKCOA meeting on on 7/31/22, we discussed the increased awareness regarding the protocol to take care of injured players during a match. Just to make sure there’s no confusion, while the rules book does say that the official can stop the match if a concussion is suspected, the ultimate decision on whether or not a player should continue in the match rests with the school, the coach, and the health care professional on site. Officials can suggest to the coach that they witness signs, symptoms, and behaviors, but are not in a position to assess that there is a concussion. The bottom line is to work with the coach, trainer, and administration to do what’s best for the athlete.


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.