AS THE SEASON STARTS, PLEASE EMAIL ANY RULES/SITUATION QUESTIONS TO KEN CORUM (ken.corum@nkcschools.org) or DIXIE WESCOTT (d.wescott@sbcglobal.net) and we’ll tackle them in the next Sunday newsletter or the next meeting.

PLEASE KEEP CHECKING YOUR EMAIL AND ARBITER CONSTANTLY: Those are where the latest updates and announcements will be. Please make sure to stay up to date on the latest information!


  • 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.


•Due Sept. 5

•I have posted the questions (not the answers) HERE for you to look up prior to logging to take the exam

•The order of the questions and possible responses may be different on your version

•Make sure to use NFHS rules as written in the rules book without MSHSAA modifications


If you would like to referee post-season (R1/R2), make sure to go online to fill out the MSHSAA post-season application which is due THIS TUESDAY!!!

NEW FOR LINE JUDGES: If you would like to ONLY line judge districts, EMAIL DAVID THOMPSON and indicate which dates you are available:


  • No announcements this week! Have a great Labor Day weekend!


As we begin our MSHSAA observations, we are beginning to notice some general items and reminders that we would like to bring to everyone’s attention:

  • Keep up the great work after the first couple weeks of the season! You are working hard, and if you have questions, please let us know!


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

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!


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! 😃


Over the holiday weekend, here’s ten questions you can look up in your NFHS Rules Book, input your answers, and get immediate feedback just for fun! You may even learn a thing or two–good luck!

Just in case the questions didn’t appear properly on your screen, here’s the link to quiz on a Google Doc and you can take it there:



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.


We will be discussing overlaps and position faults in our next meeting, but here’s a really good video (about 32 minutes long) 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:


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:

Closing slide from the GKCOA meeting on 8/21/22:



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 😂


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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


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 padded properly. 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:


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.