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SEPTEMBER 24, 2023


We have seen and heard about a great number of situations involving bracelets.  Remember, the new jewelry rule only allows certain items to be worn from the chin up.  Necklaces, bracelets, and watches below the chin are STILL ILLEGAL IN HIGH SCHOOL (unlike in club).  

We have been hearing about very skinny bracelets being worn and the players are claiming they are permanent and cannot be removed.   The rule is unforgiving with regards to any bracelets.  If a player chooses to wear a bracelet, please inform the coach that they player is also choosing not to be allowed to play.

We have also heard of referees telling players just to tape their wrists with the bracelets underneath to make it legal.  According to Rule 4-1-7, "taping over jewelry is not permitted."  Of course, if a player arrives to the match with their wrists taped, we're not going to request to look under the tape, but if you have knowledge that a bracelet is being worn, they can't just tape over it after the fact.  At that point, they must remove the bracelet in order to play.


On the evening of Wed., Sept. 27, area tournament managers/ADs will gather to select the referees and some line judges for the district tournaments in northwest Missouri. At the draft, an order of selection among the tournament managers/ADs is determined, and each manager will select R1/R2/some line judges for their district until all spots are filled, and GKCOA will assist managers in filling the remaining line judge positions.

Starting Wednesday night, managers may begin to contact you either via email or phone call. However, you must OFFICIALLY accept your assignment through! If you don’t, you won’t get paid.


Selections for sectionals, quarterfinals, and state are made directly from MSHSAA.





    • TUES., OCT. 17

    • WED., OCT. 18

    • THURS., OCT. 19

    • FRI., OCT. 20


    • MON., OCT. 23

    • TUES., OCT. 24


Please email David Thompson is you are available 9/26, 9/28, 10/3, 10/4. Please also go to your Blocks. Please see if there are dates blocked that are actually open. Please let GKCOA know this ASAP. 


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:

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Cathy Klassen has the GKCOA batch of pink whistles in the event you need one when working a cancer awareness event. Her email is – 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.


No new announcements this week


Q: Libero jumps behind the ten-foot line, sets the ball in mid-air, then lands in front of the ten-foot line.  Would that then be a back row attack?

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

To help those of you who have not seen various libero actions, here are some video examples:

This is a legal play where the libero has both feet behind the ten-foot line and uses finger action to set a hitter.  If the player were to jump from behind the line, set, then land inside the line (as the question indicated), that would also be legal.

This libero is on the attack line when setting, so this would be illegal:

Q:  Can managers wear jewelry below the chin on the court during warmup?

A:  This is a situation where referees can become overly officious.  Rule 4-1 regarding equipment refers to players, not managers, but the case book does reference situations where if safety is an issue (namely if a manager is wearing headphones, for example) the referee can address what a manager is wearing.


I know that I promised you some videos this week, so here we go!

The #1 topic people want to talk about every season is ball handling, but finding good video to look at regarding what's legal and illegal is very elusive.  A call which is pretty obvious in real life may not look nearly the same on video or vice versa.

Even with that in mind, I'm going to post some video here from the state association in Iowa from their state tournament last year with some ball handling calls and rationale where you will probably have to zoom in or replay the clips as many times as you need to understand the points being discussed.

I know that for some of you, you won't be able to see the talking points, either because of lack of technology or experience, but I hope these clips help you better discern things we look for when choosing to call illegal contact.

1.  This was correctly called as a double contact.  It's difficult to tell because it happens so quickly, but on the second contact, one hand contacted the ball before the other hand.  The first referee should have the perfect angle to see this contact.

2.  These next three videos demonstrate that one possible indication of illegal contact by a setter MIGHT be body position.  These are not universal hard and fast rules, but if a setter is late getting to the net or out of her body position, that may have the potential to indicate that an illegal contact may be imminent.  Here are some examples: 

3.  Here are a couple of examples where balls are being taken over the net that are double contacts and NEED to be called.  Unlike double contacts from a setter to a hitter where some may argue that the team is shooting themselves in the foot with a bad second contact, a team that is allowed to double contact balls over the net is allowed to have an advantage over their opponents if that illegal contact is allowed to potentially score a point.  We do need to be vigilant when it comes to illegal contacts being sent over the net, like these:

4.  I know that for some of you, it's been very difficult to see these double contacts and to figure out why they should be called.  That's why I started off this segment by saying this is the exact reason why it's so difficult to post videos about illegal contact because we all have our own levels of consistency and what a contact looks like in real life can be much different on video.

For me, what I look for is two distinct contacts on the ball.  If I make a double contact call, I should be able to tell which hand hit it first and which hit it second (i.e.:  "that ball went from the left hand to the right hand and out" or vice versa).  If I cannot determine that, I let play continue.

Also, just because a contact is "ugly" does not make it illegal. If you can't determine that there is prolonged contact or if a ball is caught or thrown, then you should let play continue, as in this example:


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The only jewelry allowed by MSHSAA for officials to wear are watches and wedding rings.  At a mechanics meeting, I made the incorrect statement that ​wedding rings were not allowed.  Please refer to the MSHSAA Officials Manual on page 12 for more information:

Varsity officials should still be signing the scorebook of both schools (as long as they are Missouri schools) with your MSHSAA number even though we are no longer being rated.  Varsity coaches are now required to submit the names and numbers of who officiated their matches.


•Several schools (Staley, Liberty, Kearney that I’m aware of—they may be others) have reported that start times are incorrect in Arbiter

•When you call or email to confirm, make it a point to emphasize that you’re checking on the start time with the AD or administrative assistant.


We ran out of these laminated warmup protocol and pre-match topics sheets made by our friend, Nancy Willig.  We will have more at the next GKCOA meeting on Sept. 10, but until then, you can click on each of these photos to download and print your own:



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.

Be aware of this situation from the casebook:

•P. 12 – 4.1 SITUATION

•At the beginning of a team warm-up, the referees observe (a) a team manager assisting with drills wearing an electronic music device; (b) a student assisting with warm-ups wearing flip flops; (c) a student talking on a cell phone while assisting with warm-ups; (d) an adult assisting with warm-ups wearing high heeled shoes.  The first referee in each case informs the team’s coach that each person must make corrections to the individual’s attire before continuing to assist with warm-up.


•In (a), (b), and (c), the referee is correct.  It is important for purposes of risk minimization that any individual actively taking part in team warm-ups be in proper attire and free from electronic devices such as cell phones and music devices.

•In (d), the referee is incorrect.  While minors still must be in proper attire, it has been determined that adults participating in a team warm-up are responsible for their own well-being.

QUESTION:  If a coach gets ejected from a match at a Saturday tournament, what is the referee’s responsibility regarding the coach not being allowed to coach in the next match at the same level?


•This is a By-law, not a rule.

•Official must notify the administration to remove the coach.

oSchool admin is responsible from here out, not officials.

•FYI...The by-law (5.5.1.d) states:  A coach who is ejected during a contest for unsportsmanlike conduct shall at a minimum be prohibited from coaching and attending the next interscholastic contest for that sport or activity at that same level and must satisfactorily complete an approved online sportsmanship training course, prior to being reinstated.

•The coach would have to sit out the next match in the tournament at that level (and any match that might occur at any level between that same level ejected from).

•As an official, we must submit a special report online to MSHSAA about the ejection.  

•If we notice the coach coaching in the next contest, we should include that in the report.

•This is then in the hands of MSHSAA…not us!

Q: What is the recommended position for a line judge when the server is serving close to the line judge's corner?

A: P. 126 (#3) of the NFHS officials manual states, “If the server serves from the left third of the service area and encroaches on the line judge’s position, the line judge on the serving team’s side shall move a few steps to the side in line with the extension of the end line, until the ball is contacted for serve.”


That mechanic changed a few years ago.  In this case, the line judge needs to get back on the corner quickly after the serve because a ball served into the deep corner on that line judges’ sideline is that line judge’s call all the way down on the other end of the court.

RULE 4-2-1i (p.19):  Multiple styles of uniform bottoms may be worn by teammates and may include:  shorts, spandex, pants, or skirts.

FROM MSHSAA:  Leggings are also considered acceptable—make sure they are like-colored

  • There can be different styles of uniform bottoms…shorts, skirts, short tights, long tights, etc.

  • If one has trim, no matter style, they must all have trim.​

  • Example:  If all uniform bottoms are predominately black with white trim, then all is fine.  However, if some have white trim and some do not, these are not the same and are not legal.  

Missouri high schools do not switch sides, but Kansas high schools have returned to switching sides.  If you have a Kansas school in your dual match or tournament, prior to play or during the captains/head coaches meeting, you may want to remind them of the Missouri rule.

Officials:  Review rules constantly throughout the season.  This week review these particular items of concern.  

  • Libero replacement protocol, particularly illegal replacements.  Know when the illegal replacement is an Unnecessary Delay and when it is Illegal Alignment.  

  • Review the protocol for assessing a Card to a coach/player.  

    • Judgement calls are not something that a coach should be questioning you about.  

    • Coaches must stay in their coaching area, which does not include the substitution zone.

  • Players wearing arm sleeves.  These are legal and does not matter what color, just as we do not monitor their knee pads.  

We've already had a player with an insulin pump attempt to play without a special letter from MSHSAA.  Good job by the GKCOA referee to inform the coach! The coach said they contacted MSHSAA, but haven't heard a response.  If that happens, the player still cannot play until they have the letter.  Usually, MSHSAA will turn the letter around very quickly, so it's up to the school and administration to continually follow up to get the letter/email sent back to the school.










•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.

  • 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. 

  • Don Gard is in need of officials on Mon., Sept. 11 for middle school matches--please contact him ASAP if you have availability.

  • Please make sure to confirm match assignment dates, times, and number of matches with schools in advance via phone or email!  We've had changes in dates and times already where what is listed in Arbiter may not be correct, so please make sure to confirm if a school doesn't confirm with you first!!

  • If you officiate matches that have Line Judge components, please email the school contact (AD or admin Assistant) that night or the next day to clarify how many sets you Line Judged (JV and/or V) so that pay will be correct on the first go round. This helps with communication and reduces the chance that assigners will need to add a "ghost game" so schools can go back and correct pay.

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As we begin observing, there have already been a couple of situations worth bringing to the attention of everybody:

1. In a JV tournament Saturday, we already had a libero redesignation situation. Please be aware of the steps to follow in Rule 10-4-3 on page 46 of the rules book.

2.  Along those lines, if you have a situation arise where you need to refer to the rules book (like in a little often used situation above especially when injury and player safety is involved), there is nothing wrong with getting out the rules book and referring to it to make sure a special situation is handled properly.  This shouldn't be done most of the time (like for common rulings), but there are some situations where if the match isn't being greatly delayed, go ahead and refer to the rules book.

  • Fine tune your signals.   Signals should be as stated in the rule book, not your own version.  One particular example is the signal for substitution, review this signal. 

  • Line up cards should be used for checking line ups, not the line up sheet turned in by the coach.

  • We are here to help you improve and to reflect on what we see.  


Schools have had four years to obtain uniforms that comply with the new rule regarding numbers (Rule 4-2-4c: The body of the number must clearly contrast from the body of the uniform regardless of trim).

If a team does not have legal uniforms, there are two options (according to Rule 4-2-PENALTIES on p. 20 of the rules book): 

1. If a team does not have six legal uniforms to start the match, a loss of rally/point shall be awarded at the beginning of the match.  No further penalty for uniforms for the rest of the match.  A MSHSAA Special Report is required.

2. If a team has six legal uniforms to the start the match and a player who has an illegal uniform attempts to enter the match, unnecessary delay (administrative yellow card) is assessed and that player shall not enter the set until the uniform is made legal.




































































District host schools have not been determined yet.  However, make sure to pay attention once they are determined because 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!!


Host schools for district tournaments have been determined. Remember that one change this season is that a district MAY elect to play first round matches at the site of the higher seeded school.  Of course, the district may also choose to play the tournament like usual with all matches at the host school site.  We'll know more about specific schedules as we approach the draft on Wed., Sept. 27.  To see all the district assignments, scroll down into the archived announcement area.  As of now, here are the host schools in our area:

CLASS 5 (Districts 5-8, in that order):

Truman, Waynesville (not in our area), Lee's Summit North, Park Hill South

CLASS 4 (Districts 7-8):

Pembroke Hill, Platte County

CLASS 3 (Districts 13-16):

Harrisonville, Central (Kansas City), Oak Grove, Cameron

CLASS 2 (Districts 13-16):

Holden, Lafayette County, Lathrop, Mid-Buchanan

CLASS 1 (Districts 13-16):

Green Ridge, Santa Fe, St. Joseph Christian, Tarkio


MSHSAA Broadcast Email - AUG. 9, 2023 





In the online rules review and the rules announcement, it states that the official MSHSAA adopted ball is the Mikasa VFC1000 in red/white/blue, and it must be used in regular season contests, excluding tournament and the districts and state series for the 2023-2024 season.  


After having questions concerning this, I did some research.  I found that although this information of the official ball must be used in regular season contests has been in the rules review this year and in years past, the official MSHSAA adopted ball, the Mikasa VFC1000, does not have to be used during regular season contests.  


Any ball legal within the guidelines of the NFHS Volleyball Rules Book may be used for regular season contests.  The official MSHSAA adopted ball will be used for district and state series play.  I apologize for the confusion.


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.


When a team hits its first or second contact into a ceiling suspended net system, make sure to know Rule 2-3-1j! If that ball contacts a diagonal pole, cables, or straps of the net system, you'll blow the play dead, then you'll make a judgment whether or not the team could have made a play on the ball.  If so, it's a replay.  If not, it's out.  If a third contact touches the ceiling or overhead obstruction, it's out.

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We need to be more aware of our process as R2s on how we call net and center line violations.  We talked about that during the Aug. 6 GKCOA meeting.  Please scroll to 1:07:25 to 1:23:45 in the following video to see or review the presentation and make note of the slides below:

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Here is an excellent video from the Iowa Girls' High School Athletic Union 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:

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