August 28, 2022

TO:             Head Volleyball Coaches – MSHSAA high schools in the Kansas City/northwest Missouri areas

FROM:        Ken Corum – Vice President for Volleyball – Greater Kansas City Officials Association (GKCOA)

On behalf of the volleyball referees in the GKCOA, welcome to the 2022 season!  Most of you receiving this are schools that use GKCOA to provide your sub-varsity (and some varsity) referees.  If not, you’ll probably see officials from our association as the year progresses.  We are sending this to head varsity coaches, so please feel free to forward this email or inform your high school assistants and junior high/middle school coaches of the topics below to keep them in the loop.

As officials, we value the relationship we have with coaches and players.  We believe that if that relationship thrives, then the players, teams, and spectators will have a better experience and the sport of volleyball continues to grow in a positive manner.  So, the purpose of this email is to let you know of some of the things we’re discussing as referees at the start of the season so that we can work together to make this season successful for your teams and players.


For the first time, I’m informing you about our GKCOA volleyball officials website ( that contains all of the meetings, powerpoints, notes, videos, and announcements amongst our members to show you how our training sessions actually work, and what we actually do to prepare to officiate prior to and throughout the season.


Thank you to those of you who participated in our coaches survey at the end of last season.  Our goal as referees is to partner with you to help make volleyball a great experience for your players and programs.  We believe that is better accomplished by positive interaction between referees and coaches instead of pitting our two groups against each other in a negative fashion.  The complete and unedited results of that survey are at this link:

We have taken those results to heart, and we are working to improve on the areas you indicated through improved instruction in our meetings and through video.  

Every year, the biggest area of discussion centers on ballhandling.  As officials, our viewpoint is that, despite the language in the rule book, in real life there will never be universal agreement on what constitutes legal and illegal contact because everyone’s (meaning officials, coaches, and players) interpretation of that rule book language differs.  

As shown in the survey above, there is a huge difference of opinion even from coach to coach on how tight or loose a match should be called.  So, as referees, our definition of the word “consistency” refers to the calls that are made within ANY ONE MATCH.  Our goal is to call every contact within a match (from first serve to the last ball that drops) consistently.  While we will continue to strive for consistency from match to match and from referee to referee, we know that the likelihood there of making everybody happy is far less likely.  In communicating with coaches, we believe that philosophy makes it easier to set realistic expectations within a match as human beings since we don’t all see the game the same way.

Last season’s survey was very encouraging to us because there is acknowledgment from coaches that we are getting better in our ballhandling consistency.  We can’t rest though, as improvement needs to continue and be more constant as well.

We are also encouraged to see that there is evidence that coaches believe referees are showing a great deal of professionalism in the vast majority of matches.  Any reports of unprofessional behavior have been and will continue to be dealt with on an ongoing basis.  Again, our belief is that referees and coaches are partners in making volleyball a great experience for young people.


For your information, the GKCOA volleyball officials have four meetings per season where we gather to view videos, have on court demonstrations, guest speakers, and discuss issues pertaining to the opportunities we have to make this incredible sport of volleyball even better.  In addition, weekly memos go out to our members with more video clips and announcements from MSHSAA and NFHS regarding rule interpretations.  All of this is above and beyond what MSHSAA mandates for referees to maintain their licensure.  Because we believe that it’s important to keep up with the sport, our professional development structure reflects that belief.


Just because I’m reaching out to you like this, doesn’t mean I’m upsetting the apple cart with regards to the communication system that MSHSAA already has in place.  All rule interpretation questions should still be directed to Dixie Wescott in the Kansas City area (, and the Kansas City area representative on the MSHSAA volleyball coaches advisory committee is Jennifer Morgan from Lee’s Summit West (  I am not attempting to substitute for those already established methods of communication, so please continue to contact those individuals with rule questions and potential future NFHS rule and MSHSAA by-law changes.  


At GKCOA, we believe that there is a reason why high school volleyball is continuing to thrive in Missouri.  The adults involved in coaching and officiating are making a real effort to work together to make a positive difference in the lives of young people, and last season’s survey provided concrete data and examples that prove that statement to be true.  We are ready and prepared to serve you, your players, and the sport of volleyball to provide great life lessons for all.  Let me know if you have any questions (  Good luck and have a great season!