TSSAA Referee Regulations Procedures – 2020

TSSAA Volleyball Officials modifications for TSSAA Volleyball, Fall 2020

    • By state association adoption, long-sleeved, all-white collared polo shirt/sweater are permissible. (5-3-1 NOTES 2)
    • Electronic whistles are permissible. (5-3-2a, b)
    • Cloth face coverings are permissible.
    • Gloves are permissible.

Officials and Coaches:

There are the guidelines published by NFHS for officials’ modifications for officiating volleyball this fall for Tennessee.  Additionally, TSSAA is including some other guidelines and procedures:

  1.  You MAY wear a solid long sleeve white shirt with NO trim, logo, etc. under your official polo top to avoid having to purchase an additional official shirt with long sleeves.
  2. You MAY referee in a mask that fits around the ears.  The scarf masks that look like a cowl neck scarf are NOT legal.  The mask must be one solid color with NO logo or print of any kind.  You may NOT referee in a face shield.
  3. You may use an electronic whistle.  Keep in mind, the batteries of those whistles do NOT last an entire season.  They usually last 13-16 matches.  Carry extra batteries and a regular whistle for emergencies.  PRACTICE with the electronic whistle before you are assigned a match.  It IS a learning process according to those who have used them.
  4. You may referee in gloves.  We do NOT recommend this since, according to medical personnel, for gloves to be effective, they need to be changed FREQUENTLY because of high contamination.
  5. You may referee in a jacket or sweatshirt if it has the Certified Volleyball Logo on it.
  6. Check with the local guidelines for mask requirement.  Some areas will require you to enter/exit in a mask.  All referees will have temperatures taken upon entrance into the facility.  If your temperature registers high, go to a cool place within the facility and have it taken again about 5-10 minutes later (especially if it is hot outside…).  If your temperature registers too high, you will not be allowed to enter.  CALL your LOCAL assigner immediately if this happens and notify the HOST management/coach to tell them that you must exit and cannot officiate. 
  7. We strongly recommend that you wear a mask when talking to scorers, trackers, line judges, captains, or coaches.  LIMIT any conversation with anyone else other than what is absolutely necessary.
  8. Bring your own WATER.  Most sites will NOT have concession stands or water fountains available.  If you have several matches, you might want to pack a few snacks.  There will be NO hospitality rooms this year.  If a site has concessions, it will be extremely limited with pre-packaged items only.
  9. Bring your own hand sanitizer!  Use it frequently.
  10. Only HOME team scorer, tracker, and timer will be allowed to sit at the scorer table.  Visiting team scorer, tracker, and statisticians must sit on their team bench or in the stands.  There are NO exceptions to this rule this year.
  11. Schools will provide FLAGS for all regular season contests.  Invitational tournaments—officials will provide flags.  You might want to carry wipes or hand sanitizer for the handles of the flags.  For regular season contests, leave the flags on the table.  Allow the Line Judges to retrieve them and officials will NOT touch them.  Go over their duties and ask them to return flags to the table at the conclusion of the match.
  12. Rosters will be submitted directly to the scorer table.  Officials are to check rosters from the table without TOUCHING the rosters.  Ask the scorer to turn it so you can see it to confirm players and numbers.
  13. R2 will NOT sign in scoresheets at the end of the set.  They will report their initials to the scorer, who will write them on the scoresheet.  R1 will NOT sign the scoresheet at the end of the match.  They will report initials to the scorer who will record on the scoresheet.
  14. Pre-match conferences will be held PRIOR to starting the 15:00 warmup.  The 2 referees and 2 the HEAD COACHES ONLY will meet center court, maintaining social distancing.  R1 will inform teams if they will be staying on same side or changing sides between sets (if an advantage exists on one side ONLY).  The visiting team will be given the choice of serve OR receive.  The HOME team will have chosen their bench prior to the conference.  There is NO coin toss.  Immediately following the ground rules, choice of serve/receive, exit the floor, and tell the timer to start the pre-match warmup clock.  Both teams pass on their own court from 15:00-12:00.  Serving team will be given 6 minutes warmup at 12:00. Receiving team will have court 6:00-0:00.
  15. At the beginning of the set, ENTIRE teams go to baseline. R1 whistles/signals players onto court.  They may meet for “wave/verbal good luck” FROM THE ATTACK LINE ONLY but there will be NO physical contact between teams. R2 will monitor this social distancing.
  16. R2 will check lineups from the Scorer table WITHOUT touching the lineup/roster sheet from the coaches.  Ask the scorer to turn it so the referee can confirm the correct lineup.
  17. Host management may clean the volleyballs prior to the match and between sets.  Volleyballs should NOT be cleaned during timeouts or other game interruptions. Referees are NOT to participate in the cleaning of the volleyballs.
  18. If the match requires a deciding set, Set 3 of 2/3 or Set 5 of 3/5, the R2 will meet ONE captain from each time center court, maintaining social distancing, for the decision.  The HOME team captain will choose to serve/receive.  If teams have NOT been changing sides, they will maintain that bench for the deciding set.  If they HAVE been changing benches, the VISITING Team Captain will have the option to choose her bench.
  19. Teams have been instructed to social distance on the benches and limit bench personnel.  Once ALL chairs are filled and there are NOT enough chairs to seat everyone, substitutes IN UNIFORM will be allowed to stand BEHIND the bench. They cannot stand in the sub zone, or at the end of the bench.  They must stand behind the chairs and movement should be limited.  All bench personnel NOT IN A UNIFORM MUST be seated on the bench. 
  20. At the conclusion of the match, the R1 will whistle, signal, and teams may ‘MEET” AT THE ATTACK LINE to wave/congratulate with “Good Match”.  Teams should immediately report to their team benches.
  21. Some schools will require all persons in the bench area to wear masks.  The referees are NOT to address/enforce mask wearing.  That is Host Management responsibilities.  Referees are only responsible for bench personnel as to who is seated and who can stand.
  22. Again, limit conversations before or during the match with anyone other than your working partner and persons pertinent to the match/your duties.
  23. At the conclusion of the match, both referees gather personal items and exit IMMEDIATELY.  If you are using rubber gloves, I recommend disposing of them immediately.
  24. There should be NO conversations at the conclusion of the match with ANYONE.  Ideally the referees should exit through a door NOT used by fans!  “Avoid the Crowd”
  25. We recommend that you sanitize your referee gear regularly!  Clean whistles, wash uniforms immediately, sanitize your flags if you must use them, dispose of rubber gloves after one working assignment if you use them.  Sanitize your masks regularly!  Carry several masks with you. 
  26. Communicate regularly with assigners, schools, working partners, and check the local regulations regarding mask wearing, temperature taking, etc.  Stay away from crowds at tournaments.  Find a place to go where you can social distance from others if you have multiple matches. 
  27. Stay healthy!  Stay safe!  We need ALL healthy referees this season.  Your health is MORE important that this sport!!!

New VolleyWrite Switch Sides Option

Due to COVID-19 pandemic the changing of courts between sets has been eliminated. To help the officials and scorers deal with this change, the thoughtful engineers at VolleyWrite have added a new checkbox in VolleyWrite Version 5.0.3 to allow control of the automatic switching of sides between sets.  The new checkbox is located on the Set Play page of the Rules tab labelled, “Switch Sides Between Non-Deciding Sets”. If that box is NOT checked, the teams will remain on the same side until the deciding set, then you have the option to change that based on the coin toss.

It is important to download the new version of the VolleyWrite software, version 5.0.3. The download is available here: https://volleywrite.com/resources/

Watch a quick video tutorial on YouTube. https://youtu.be/SCrYN-hIPnc.

Follow these steps to change the rules:

  1. Open VolleyWrite.
  2. Go to the Rules tab.
  3. Open the Set Play page.
  4. In the “Rules Application” section on the left-hand side, there is a checkbox with the label, “Switch Sides Between Non-Deciding Sets”.  If that box is un-checked, VolleyWrite will not alternate sides automatically.
  5. You may save the new rule set, but you must use a unique name.  You can also set the new rule set as your default…
Switch Sides Between Non-Deciding Sets checkbox settings:
CHECKED means VolleyWrite will alternate sides automatically.
UNCHECKED means VolleyWrite will not alternate sides automatically.

If you have questions, please review the video at https://youtu.be/SCrYN-hIPnc. It provides a quick walkthrough, provides tips and all the information needed.

Story of Grace

An F-3 tornado hit Grace Baptist Academy on Easter night of 2020 and destroyed the entire campus, including the Church, High School, Middle School, Elementary School, and the brand new Strength & Conditioning Building. Covid had already thrown a wrench in things, so when the Lady Golden Eagles Volleyball team found themselves without a facility for their upcoming season, there was a lot of anxiousness on their behalf.

Within 24 hours of the disaster, District Rival, Collegedale Academy’s Athletic Director reached out informing them that they had a place to practice and play for as long as they needed, even if that meant rearranging schedules so that Grace could use their gym as their “Home Court.” Their generosity and kindness speaks volumes about the morals and values they hold as a school. The AD said something along the lines of, “Hey, we are all brothers and sisters in Christ….volleyball is second to that.”

As Grace pursued using their facility, they also had been informed that Morris Hill Baptist Church had volunteered to house the entire K-12th grade school in their church building until Grace Baptist Academy was rebuilt. Along with that, came a gym. Anxiousness turned to excitement when they were told they could use the gym, all they had to do was drill Volleyball Pole holes. Sports Imports was huge throughout this process with their support and volunteered to come in and drill the holes for the team. Excitement turned back to anxiousness as soon as they got the blueprint of the building and realized there was only 8 inches of concrete before they’d be drilling through the ceiling below. When this was discovered, Sports Imports didn’t just back away and leave…they stuck with them until they had a plan in place, and assisted in connecting Grace with other contacts that could possibly help.

When Prater’s heard about what was going on, they instantly told the team they had nothing to worry about. They were very eager to take care of it and ensured the team that they would have a space to play their quickly approaching season. They graciously loaned them two portable net systems that were in their storage (due to Covid and club tournaments being shut down)…and when they saw the floor in the gymnasium, they quickly said, “Our portable net systems will tear up that floor…but no worries, we are going to put in an awesome, new floor for you, duplicate all the lines the church has on there currently, add volleyball lines…. and the church will love it!” Completely floored, the coach started getting permission from the church to start the process and 4 weeks later it was complete.

God answered so many prayers, even things that could easily be seen as “not a big deal”…but, He was there every step of the way and proved His graciousness time and time again. The Lady Golden Eagles Volleyball Team is looking to the future with hope and excitement for their upcoming season. 

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”


Laurie McGinley

High School Volleyball Coach

Grace Baptist Academy 

The Parent Seat

 The NFHS Learning Center Presents

The Parent Seat
“The Parent Seat” has been designed for coaches and athletic directors to use during their pre-season parent meetings. It explains the role of a parent during game day and provides suggestions on how they can cope with the roller coaster of emotions that they will feel. 

 Watch The Parent Seat
Unfortunately, the one who suffers most from negative parent behavior is the student. The NFHS has created a resource to help parents navigate through the emotions that come with sitting in the parent seat, including 10 suggestions to help you with the emotions that arise in the parent seat.