OHSBVA State Officials' Coordinator's Page


2018 Officiating Crew
2018 OHSBVA State Tournament Officiating Crew

 Left to right: Michael Chandler (Official Scorer), Joe Bysak (Line Judge), Jim Hammar (Line Judge), Josh Hall (Referee), Mike Merz (Line Judge), Ashley Howerter (Referee), Anthony Hines (Line Judge), Scott Burnett (Referee),Terry Miller (Referee), Lori Francescon (Referee), Lucas Tuggle (Head Referee) 


 This Week in Volleyball


 Please view this page for important updates from

Lucas Tuggle,

OHSBVA State Officials' Coordinator.


This page should be accessed weekly for the latest information including NFHS rule changes, rule interpretations and guidance. To access in-depth officiating information, click on "Officiating."


2019 OHSBVA Rules Interpretation PowerPoint and How to Work with a VolleyWrite Scorer: Following the last Rules Interpretation meeting each year, the State Officials' Coordinator has the PowerPoint presentation posted on the Officiating web page for reference by officials, coaches and other interested parties. See this document here in addition to the VolleyWrite document. To be updated on March 19, 2019.


Rule Changes for Upcoming Season

The basic change for 2019 moves us from the solid-colored jersey rule, a rule that has been difficult to enforce effectively for girls'/women's volleyball. For a variety of reasons both USA Volleyball and PAVO/NCAA college women's volleyball previously abandoned this rule.

Jersey rule changes
The move from the solid-colored jersey rule will hopefully make it easier for both schools and referees to more easily identify liberos on the court in the middle of a group of moving players. As we shared in the rules meeting, the revised jersey rule requires the libero jersey to be clearly contrasting from the jerseys worn by his teammates from every angle to allow the libero to be quickly identified by everyone with a need to spot the libero. Review the NFHS jersey PowerPoint at http://www.nfhs.org/media/1019891/2019-contrasting-uniform-top-requirements.pdf!
Revised Rule 4-2-2 states that the libero uniform top must clearly contrast from the predominant color(s) of the team uniform top, excluding trim but including sleeves. Long sleeves could be an issue if they are the same color as the predominant color of the libero’s teammates’ jerseys. Fortunately, short sleeves or cut-off sleeves are more the norm for boys’ VB. The libero’s uniform top cannot be made up solely of the same predominant color(s) of the team’s uniform top, even if the like color(s) are placed differently on the uniform top. The key is that the libero must clearly contrast with the rest of his teammates and conform to all other uniform rules. This means shorts in the same shade range as teammates and having a visible, readable and legal number of the proper size and in the proper location.
Who Decides?
Each set of referees has to apply the clearly contrasting standard from what the referees observe in viewing jersey combinations. In some cases, jerseys are not viewed until warm-up jackets come off, and the referees don't get to see how difficult it is to spot the libero with the libero and his teammates in motion on the court. Of course, it isn’t just the R1 and R2 who need to be able to spot the libero quickly in a crowd from a variety of angles to ensure libero actions comply with the restrictions on the libero. The Scorer and Libero Tracker have to view that the libero is serving, and the LT has to track the libero’s movements on/off the court.
Expectations of coaches/teams
We have put together a reasonable process in an effort to prevent problems and seek compliance. This includes providing coaches with a jersey rule change guidance document, a bullet-point summary and inclusion in the pre-season rules meeting for coaches where a representative from each school is required to attend. We should (and do!) expect cooperation from the coaches.
Expectations of referees
Referees need to reasonably address situations where the contrast is not good enough. Don’t fail to deal with the situation and pass a problem on to the next set of referees! Instead, communicate politely/professionally with the head coach so the issue is understood, and see if you can’t get the coach to come up with a better option for the libero. Regardless, marginal combinations aren't to be ignored; if the coach doesn't present another jersey option, let the libero play that match and report the issue to your assigner and to the State Officials' Coordinator. Also, please let the coach know that another set of referees may not allow the libero to play in that jersey combination and that you are reporting it as an issue. The situation will be addressed administratively with the school, and we will keep folks informed as needed.
However, if it’s a really bad combination in terms of contrast, the libero should not be allowed to play in that jersey. For example, if you are looking at two light colors (such as light blue and light gray, white and pale blue, white and light yellow, etc.) or - more likely - two dark colors (like black with any of the following colors: navy blue, dark green, dark gray, maroon, purple and other really dark colors; navy and maroon, etc.), it is not okay for the libero to play wearing that jersey. From a problem-solving standpoint, as early as possible, give the coach a chance to fix the problem through quick, respectful and professional communication. Use the same approach as with marginally contrasting jerseys in terms of asking the coach to provide a contrasting jersey for the libero when the jerseys are clearly not contrasting. The difference is that failure to produce a clearly contrasting jersey means the team plays without a libero until a compliant jersey is found. The team's libero will have to play instead as a regular player.
From not being allowed to play with a libero, it probably won’t take very long before the team produces a light or dark jersey as appropriate to be able to play a libero, if not for this match, then likely the next one! Referees should plan to report to their assigner and the State Officials’ Coordinator, who also is our State Rules Interpreter, when a team was not allowed to play a libero due to failure to comply with the clearly contrasting from every angle requirement.
Summary: The clearly contrasting requirement has been around since the the libero player was introduced to volleyball. Reasonable compliance is expected. Failure to produce a clearly contrasting jersey means the team will have to play without a libero, and the player who would have been libero gets to play but as a regular player.



This Week in Boys' Volleyball will be a new feature this year. We will put up a link to each Week's issue with topics that we believe are important to referee development. Stay tuned!


List of "High School Rule Differences" for new OHSBVA Referees who have not officiated OHSAA matches before!

Some key distinctions for high school (not all-inclusive):

  • Time-outs are 60 seconds in duration with an R2 double whistle at :15 on the countdown clock to alert the teams and a directed horn at either 0:00 on the clock , whichever occurs first
  • Illegal block and illegal attack are signaled the same as for college women’s VB, not USAV
  • Any coach – but only one coach – may stand to coach team on live ball. All coaches may stand to coach on a dead ball as long as all coaches other than the standing coach are in the process of being seated when R1 is ready to authorize next serve; which coach stands may alternate from rally to rally
  • Lineups are due by 2:00 on the warm-up countdown clock for the first set and no later than with 
  • 1:00 left in the intermission between sets; late lineup submissions are loss of rally but prevent this from occurring by being proactive! 
  • 5:00 intermission for a "special event" is possible between sets 2 and 3 of a Varsity match only if it is pre-announced to the officials prior to the meeting with the coaches and captains so the information may be shared with the visitors before the coin toss
  • Rosters are due by 10:00 on the warm-up countdown clock; late submission results in a loss of rally
  • Assistant coach rights are different – assistant coaches are not permitted to address referees regarding their decisions (allowed for college, not for USAV) but can request information (not allowed under USAV rules) such as lineup check, number of time-outs used, correct server for the team, whether the score is correct, identification of a safety issue and other items of a similar nature
  • R2 net fault signal procedures is the same as for college (signaling player number) as opposed to the USAV where the R2 gestures toward the player committing the net fault
  • 0 and 1-99 are legal numbers; effective 2019 season, 00 is no longer a legal number BUT we are allowing 00 for this year 
  • 01, 02, etc. are not legal numbers but allow them to play and report to your assigner and the State Officials’ Coordinator; teams can’t use both 02 and 2 (for example) as these are the same number
  • No "protest rule" per se, but there is a procedure allowing head coach (only) to ask R2 for a time-out (whether or not the team has a time-out remaining) for express purpose of a review of a decision on the last rally that is not solely judgment in nature (ball in/out, touch, antenna fault) but rather questioning whether a playing rule was properly applied or that an incorrect rule was applied or that the wrong penalty was applied; if review results in decision to overturn decision (replay, loss of rally awarded to the team requesting the review, the time-out is charged to the officials; however, if initial decision is not changed, the time-out is charged to the team and, if this would be the team's 3rd time-out in the set, the opponent is awarded a loss of rally/point; review by R1 (if R2 can’t satisfy coach) is at the table not at the stand
  • 18 subs vs. USAV (12 or 6) or 15 (college women's volleyball) 
  • Only one sub request for each team on same dead ball regardless of a time-out for the subbing team followed by another sub request
  • Sub signal is open hands instead of fists
  • Court change is college signal of drop arms to the side then raise arms from the side of the body with open hands instead of fists and instead of USAV wrap-around-the-body movement
  • Illegal alignment (position fault) is open hand rotating clockwise instead of index finger
  • 5 seconds to serve each time + a re-serve rule: one per server during a term of service
  •  Server can toss and drop OR toss and catch OR toss then swing and miss; only swing and miss and ball contacts player is illegal (no re-serve awarded)
  • Delay sanction design allows a warning (administrative yellow card) each set like college before administrative red card/penalty and point to opponent
  • Conduct sanctions are for match like USAV: yellow/warning, red/penalty, red-yellow apart = Disqualification
  • No Improper Request: just deny the request/wave off with no penalty/educate!
  • No court switch at first team to reach 8 points in a deciding set in Varsity (or for JV OR Varsity) at 13 points in a deciding 3rd set to 25
  • R2 shows R1 which team will serve for deciding set with open hand toward court on side of team that will serve, then signals whether teams switch courts or keep current benches (shown as two open hands toward court), then R1 whistles and shows switch courts or same benches
  • 2 hits by same player as 3rd and 4th contacts result in 4-hit fault, same as college
  • While a team cannot start a match with less than 6 players, a team can drop to less than 6 players due to injury, illness or unavailability, and the "vacant player" rule goes into effect (loss of rally every time position rotates to RB)
  • Can’t complete an attack on opponent’s serve when the ball is contacted totally above net height – not legal from above top of net when ball is completely in the back zone
  • Players may have different number as a libero if listed on roster such as 4/L7 and
  • The libero must wear shorts in the same shade range as his teammates 


Lucas Tuggle, OHSBVA State Officials' Coordinator/State Rules Interpreter

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Ohio High School Boys Volleyball Association