Boys Volleyball - Rules & Regulations

Rules and Regulations

 SOLID JERSEYS (Click to view samples -  NFHS Uniform PowerPoint)

NOTE:  Beginning July 1, 2016, the libero shall wear a uniform top that is immediately recognized from all angles as being in clear contrast to and distinct from the other members of the team.  Regarding the solid colored top:

a.    The solid-colored uniform top shall clearly contrast from the predominant color(s) of the teammates’ uniform top. Predominant color(s) is the color(s) appearing on approximately half of the uniform.

b.    Sleeves shall be the same color as the body of the uniform top.

c.    Piping/trim not exceeding 1 inch in total at its widest point may be placed along the seams and may be a different color(s) than the uniform top.

d.    Lettering and collars may be different color(s) than the uniform top. 

e.    A single school name, mascot and/or player's name may be placed on the body of the uniform top, but shall not disrupt the integrity of the solid-color uniform top.  Designs are not permitted.  A single mascot reference and/or school name may be placed on the sleeve(s), not to exceed either 4 by 4 inches or 3 by 5 inches.  

f.    Numbers shall be a contrasting color to the uniform top and meet all other specifications in Rule 4-2-4.


Printable Version -- Please print and place in your rule book for reference.


BALL: May be pink & white or pink, white, and another color. No waiver necessary. Ball must have NFHS authenticating mark.

UNIFORM:    Since volleyball does not have home and away uniforms, either or both teams may wear pink. Uniforms must meet NFHS requirements (Rule 4-2) including legally positioned numbers (Rule 4-2-4).    If a pink ribbon symbol is to be included on the jersey the dimensions must meet the requirements of Rule 4-2-10; maximum of 4 square inches.    No advertising is allowed on the uniform. "Dig Pink" or other trademark phrases are not allowed since they are considered advertising.

If the uniform tops are t-shirts which have been donated, the athletes must either pay for them or return them to the school when the event is finished. Failure to follow this requirement jeopardizes the amateur status of the athletes.

SOCKS, SHOES, AND WRISTBANDS: Are not covered by NFHS/WIAA rules so may be pink.

HAIR CONTROL DEVICES: Provided they adhere to Rule 4-1-5, may be pink.

FUND RAISING: See the following from the Eligibility Q & A Q.: I am a high school girls basketball coach. Our girls basketball team would like to hold a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society this coming season and I just want to check that how we plan on doing it will not violate any WIAA rules. Here's our plan, our fundraiser will be based on how many free throws the girls varsity team makes during the season. Each player will solicit funds or donations based on the free throw made. People could donate a lump some or could donate X amount per free throw made. As an example last year we made 205 free throws, if you pledged a dollar per free throw, you would be donating $205 at year end for the team to donate to the American Cancer Society. No funds are kept by or for the team. A.: While we appreciate the causes which our schools and athletes support, I recommend that you find a different method to raise funds. The Board of Control has made it clear that fundraisers connected to performance in competition are NOT allowed. Both from the sportsmanship perspective, as well as from the “paid to perform” and or gaming/gambling end of things, it is a not a good idea and not allowed. Your plan would be allowed in a practice setting.

OFFICIALS: May participate by using a pink whistle or wearing a pink wristband. Wearing a pink officiating uniform, shoes, or socks, would not be allowed.

2016 Volleyball Questions and Answers

QUESTION 1: I have received repeat questions on what officials signal is to be used if a player tosses the ball for serve and the ball hits a vertical hanging backboard which is over the service area (Rule 8-1-6)?

RULING:         The correct signal is Signal No. 3, Illegal Hit.  For further reference, please refer to the NFHS Official Manual, page 83 Illegal Hit.

QUESTION 2: Where can I find information regarding the new Uniform Changes?

RULING:         Please click the hyperlink for the new 2016 PowerPoint.

QUESTION 3: A substitution was requested by the coach and the player reported to the substitution zone.  The coach recognized that he didn't want to substitute this player and withdraws the request.  What is the correct procedure?

ANSWER: Unnecessary delay and an administrative yellow card if first delay in set; administrative red card if subsequent delay in set. (Case Book 9.9.1 Situation B)

QUESTION 4:  Are we required to have 3 people at the scoretable - scorer, timer and libero tracker - or are we allowed to have 1 person do both the libero tracking and timing and then a separate person keep score?


ANSWER:  The rule book states that you must have a scorer, a libero tracker and a timer.    NFHS Rule 5-6, 5-7 and 5-8.  
Case Book 5.7.1, Comment states “….It is permissible that the timer also serves as the libero tracker although not preferred.”

QUESTION 5:  Is a Varsity volleyball team allowed to play a 4th set as "exhibition" if the match winner has already been determined?

ANSWER:  Yes, under the National Federation Allowed Adaptations, "Note: The conference (if a conference meet) or the host school (if a non-conference meet) shall determine if exhibition sets in either a 2-out-of-3 or a 

3-out-of-5 set match will be played even though not necessary to determine the match winner."

 QUESTION 6:  Are the Skylar Diggins headbands allowed?


ANSWER:  Yes, legal in volleyball as long as they are made of soft material and no wider than 3".


QUESTION:  The libero has served in the third position of serve order in the current set.  The libero becomes injured and cannot complete the set.  The coach designates a new player as the libero; however, the coach would like her to serve in a different rotation in the serve order, justifying that this current libero has not yet served in the set.

 ANSWER:  Once the libero has served in that set, any other player who plays as the libero in that set must serve in the original libero's rotation, even if the new libero has already played and served in a different rotation as a non-libero. (NFHS Case Book 6.4.2 Situation B).

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2015 Volleyball Questions and Answers

September 30, 2015

QUESTION 1:    Under what circumstances can a head coach designate that their assistant coach be allowed to stand during play, instead of themselves?  What if the team has co-head coaches?  Can they both stand, just not at the same time?

ANSWER:          Rule 12-2-6, in the Notes, “the privilege to stand during play shall not be designated to an assistant coach.”  12.2.9 Situation C:  "During the pre-match conference, the R1 asks for a designation of one head coach for the match.  The designation remains for the match."

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 September 21, 2015

QUESTION 1:    Can teams leave the gym during the intermission?

ANSWER:          Currently the NFHS volleyball rules do not prohibit a team from leaving the bench area when intermission is being used.  If leaving, the coach has the responsibility to have the team back on court ready to play by the end of the intermission and to submit the lineup no later than two minutes into the interval between sets.  This means that during the intermission, the coach must still submit the lineup at the same time as no intermission.  A team that delays the start of play by not returning to the court on time shall be issued an unnecessary delay penalty.

QUESTION 2:    Can the home team determine that they will have an intermission without having any type of a “special event” planned?  (i.e. just want to have a longer break for teams to rest between sets.)

ANSWER:          No, NFHS rules designate that the reason for the intermission must be for a promotional or special recognition activity.  If using an intermission, it shall occur between sets 2 and 3.  The visiting coach must be notified no later than the pre-match conference that the intermission will be used.

QUESTION 3:    Why is there still an illegal substitution mechanic if the result will be unnecessary delay?

ANSWER:          If there is an illegal substitution, the official should indicate that signal, followed by the signal for unnecessary delay.

QUESTION 4:    When timing warm-ups, should the clock be set at 20 minutes, allow the clock to continue to “run down” and then sound the horn at 14, 7 and 0?  It is easier to have the timer set the clock for each interval and start/stop the clock for each transition in warm-ups.

ANSWER:        The Fall Season Regulations (p. 62) do not clearly indicate that one or the other of these methods must be used, so either method is acceptable.  At the WIAA State Tournament, that clock is set for each interval, the horn sounded, and the clock is reset for the next interval, so my recommendation would be to use that method throughout the season.

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September 1, 2015

QUESTION 1:    Can our freshman volleyball coach be the club coach for our current 8th graders (next year's 9th graders)?

ANSWER:          No. Your Varsity or JV coaches would be able to coach them, but not your Frosh coach (see below).

                           I.  COACHES AND COACHING CONTACT

Coaches may not have coaching contact with any athletes they will be coaching the following school season during restricted times (except their own children). There is no distinction between varsity and J.V. coaches, i.e., J.V. coaches cannot coach varsity athletes during restricted times, and vice- versa, nor any distinction between paid and nonpaid (volunteer) coaches. An exception is that varsity and J.V. coaches can have coaching contact with students who have just completed 8th grade or any preceding grade up until these 8th graders actually start their 9th grade year.

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August 11, 2015

QUESTION 1:   Are the team(s) allowed to leave the court and/or team bench area during the intermission period (Rule 11-5-2).  Should officials encourage teams to stay near the court to avoid an unnecessary delay?

ANSWER:        Currently the NFHS volleyball rules do not prohibit a team from leaving the bench area when intermission is being used.  If leaving, the coach has the responsibility to have the team back on court ready to play by the end of the intermission and to submit the lineup no later than two minutes into the interval between sets.  This means that during the intermission, the coach must still submit the lineup at the same time as no intermission. 

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October 17, 2014

QUESTION 1: I have a quick question:  My libero switched uniforms last night between games, but didn't go into the locker room to do it.  I got a yellow card and had to sit the reminder of the match.  Can you confirm this and also tell me where I can find it in the rules book.

ANSWER:        This was a point of emphasis from the NFHS for several years in a row, about 5-6 years ago.  

While the NFHS rules do not specifically list this as a violation, officials are well within the rules when they warn and/or card for this situation.  I believe Rule 12-1 which defines "unsporting conduct" would apply.  Unsporting conduct includes "disrespect".   Then 12-2-1; No player…shall act in an unsporting manner while on or near the court before, during or between sets."  PENALTY:  first offense is a yellow card.   Coaches should impress upon their athletes that changing in public will not be tolerated.

QUESTION 2: I had a coach ask me today if there was a new mandate for officials about calling double hits on sets.  The official in her match Tuesday night was calling the double hit on the premise of the spin of the ball off of the hands of the setter.

ANSWER:        As was shared earlier this season, officials should be calling double hits on second and third contacts and always on prolonged contact.  Your question as to the use of spin on the ball to make calls can be answered by referring to the NFHS Official's Manual, page 95; "External stimuli such as, ….the spin on the ball after contact are not part of the referee's criteria for making a judgment on ball handling."

QUESTION 3: My first question is:  Is the uniform guideline different for regionals vs. the regular season?

My next question is: This particular ref referred to the logos on our spandex.  Can they have different logos as long as they meet the size requirement of 2 1/4 inches?  My understanding is that they can all be different brands as long as they are the same color (black in our case).   My last question is: If the pair of spandax has a different color on the waistband is that unacceptable, or is their a width requirement on that (one girl has a little bit of gray on her waistband and maybe that's what he thought was an issue)

ANSWER:        NFHS uniform rules should be applied exactly the same for the regular season and the tournament series.

When you refer to "logos", are you referring to the manufacturer's logos?   Manufacturer's logos may differ from one player to another (Asics, Nike, Addidas, etc.).  There is no requirement for them to match.

Regarding the waistband, if players, when standing erect, have the waistband exposed and its differs in color from other players, that would be illegal.  I'm familiar with the style that some players are wearing and that they might have a pink waistband, another lime green, red, etc.   Rule 4-2-1b; "Like colored uniform bottom".   If your players' jerseys hang over the waistband and cover the waistband when the player stands erect, they would be legally attired.

October 7, 2014

QUESTION 1: First year AD here with two questions.  I am trying to get some more C-team games as they have several open exposures from their schedule.  In order to try to get another school to come they were wondering if we could couple the C-team game with a Varsity Scrimmage.  First question is whether or not a scrimmage for volleyball is legal during the season.  Second question is what are the differences between a regular game and a scrimmage?

ANSWER:        The Volleyball Season Regulations (pg. 60) are a good resource:


a. Two scrimmages with another school or schools may be conducted in addition to the maximum allowed contests, provided all athletes participating meet all WIAA and school eligibility requirements (exceptions: students ineligible due to academic deficiency, code of conduct violations, or those required to miss the next competitive event, due to being ejected from their last competitive event, may participate at the discretion of the school), and:

(1) Five different days of practice have elapsed.

(2) There is no loss of academic class time.

(3) Each high school team, i.e., varsity, JV, sophomore, freshman, is allowed two scrimmages.

(4) An individual student may participate in multiple levels of scrimmages conducted on the same day.

(5) It may be held any time during the regular season or the WIAA tournament series.

(6) There is no score in a book or on a scoreboard.

(7) A win/loss does not count in a team’s overall record.

b. Any interschool scrimmage other than the one described in 4a counts toward the maximum allowed games.

Note: If either school counts a scrimmage as a game, it must be counted as a game for both programs, schools or teams.

QUESTION 2: I have a girl that likes to wear what looks like over sized sweat bands on her wrist. Some officials have made her remove them while others have no problem with them.  I can not find anything in the rule book to address this.  Can you please help with the correct ruling?

ANSWER:        Without actually seeing the sweat bands I cannot give you a definitive answer.  Provided that the sweat bands are not illegal per Rules 4-1-2 or 4-1-4, I would assume them to be legal.

QUESTION 3: At the start of a new game the 2nd referee aligns team A, who is receiving serve, #11 starts in the right front.  Team B serves the ball and team A sides out.  Team A rotates and #11 goes back to serve, after she contacts the serve the scorer hits the horn and indicates incorrect server.  2nd referee indicates side out to team B for incorrect server.  My question is this, would this not be a correctible error because the 2nd referee did not correctly confirm the service order/line up on the court to begin the match?  They were not called for an illegal alignment on the first serve receive, which they should have been if they were not in the correct service order.

ANSWER:        No, not a correctable error.  While a situation like this should not occur if R2/scorer are doing their job, the procedure used was correct.  NFHS rule 6-4-3b.

QUESTION 4: Could you tell me the rule on JV games if one team has won the first two games?  Must a third game be played or is it if both coaches agree to play it.  It has come up as we are a small school and have the six game waiver. 

ANSWER:        This would be a conference decision if it’s a conference match.  Usually, subvarsity matches are 3 set matches regardless so that the players receive more playing time.  If its not a conference match, it could be mutually decided.

QUESTION 5: I just wanted to clarify a rule with you.  I have a couple of girls who want to participate in the color run this weekend in Green Bay.  The rule Article VI section 1 states:  A student becomes ineligible in a sport for the remainder of the season for competing in nonschool game, meet or contest in the same sport.  It is my interpretation that my volleyball players would be ok in this instance as it is not the same sport?

ANSWER:        Yes, volleyball players would be allowed but not cross country team members.

QUESTION 6: I arrived on site to the following question.  Is there a penalty associated with the home team doing ball handling prior to the beginning of the jv match. 

ANSWER:        No, currently there is not a penalty, although when this occurs officials should have the team stop inform them of the language in the Season Regulations, and contact WIAA staff the next day.

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September 25, 2014

QUESTION 1: Question has arisen about our varsity girls shagging balls during JV warm-ups.  Don't see it specifically addressed in rules book so thought I better ask.  If they are helping JV corral balls from flying all over the gym, do they need to be in full uniform?  I've advised them no.  As long as jewelry and all other equipment measures are followed I don't see a problem.  An official informed them the other night that they needed to be in full uniform.  First time I've seen that in 8 years.

ANSWER:        You are correct.  This has been an NFHS point of emphasis in year's past.  The two most important points are that those shagging have proper footwear and are not wearing jewelry.  This does not include coaches who are facilitating the warm-up drills, they participate at their own risk.  There was never an intent that those shagging be dressed in their full legal uniforms.

QUESTION 2: We had a set where I was going to have 2 subs go in.  My second player was late to the sub area and the sub was denied.  I told the ref that I wanted to take a timeout and then make my second sub after the timeout.  The R2 said he would not allow this sub to occur even if I were to use one of my timeouts.  As far as I can tell, if I am willing to take a timeout I can make another sub if needed as long as I have a timeout available.

ANSWER:        The official was correct.  Rule 10-1-3; "Each team is permitted only one request for substitution during the same dead ball.  Other requests for substitution by the same team shall be denied." From the description of the event, it appears that this took place during the same dead ball period.

QUESTION 3: Based on Rule 9-5-3, Is it legal for a back row player, while on or in front of attack line, to jump and contact ball that is not completely above the height of the net to complete an attack?

ANSWER:        Legal.  Generally, if you do not find an action listed as illegal in the NFHS Rule Book, it should be considered legal.

QUESTION 4: Is it legal for the opposing crowd to cheer during a player's attempt to serve?

ANSWER:        This question continues to be asked every year.  Provided an athlete is not singled out (hey #21 you're going to miss, #33 miss it, etc.) it would be allowed.  Interesting that many volleyball fans cheer their loudest while their own players are serving.

QUESTION 5: What is the protocol for the teams' line-up for the national anthem?

ANSWER:        From the Volleyball Season Regulations (page 62); "4) National Anthem—teams lined up on the sideline in front of their bench."  While we are discussing the anthem, several armed service veterans have voiced concerns regarding teams that join hands and swing them during the anthem performing a choreographed "routine".   They feel this is disrespectful of the national anthem.  Coaches should review this with their players and officials should offer a gentle reminder during the pre-match meeting.

September 23, 2014

WIAA staff have been made aware recently, of inconsistencies in officiating, in particular, the double hit and prolonged contact.  Coaches too appear to be confused in some instances.   Please review the following:

**Prolonged contact is ALWAYS ILLEGAL    Rule 9-4-5; "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."

**Multiple contacts ARE LEGAL ON THE FIRST TEAM HIT BUT NOT THE SECOND OR THIRD   Rule 9-4-8a & b; "Multiple contacts are more than one contact by a player during one attempt to play the ball.  Multiple contacts are permitted only:  a) When the first ball over the net rebounds from one part of the player's body to one or more other parts in one attempt to block  b)  On any first team hit, whether or not the ball is touched by the block".

If its not the first ball over and you observe multiple contact (setting is a prime example), make the call.

The NFHS Case Book and Official's Manual is a great resource.  Case studies on these topics are located on pages 31-33.  The Manual also has extensive information on pages 94-96.


Good sportsmanship is an expectation for every coach and player.  In a recent video, a player is shown kicking a ball violently into the crowd after a play is whistled dead.   Neither of the officials appear to make any call.  This is certainly grounds for a yellow or perhaps a red card.  Officials have the ability to control the match.  Sometimes preventative officiating only goes so far, card when necessary, not needlessly!

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 September 19, 2014

QUESTION 1: If a player writes on themselves with a marker could that be considered the same as body paint?  I looked through the rule book and case book and could find only references to body paint and glitter and it is obvious that writing on your hand or arm does not provide any advantage to the player.

On a similar note, if a player has a permanent tattoo what is the ruling then?  What about a henna tattoo?

ANSWER:        Provided the writing is at least semi-permanent and is not offensive it would not be prohibited by NFHS rules.  Permanent tattoos are also considered legal as are henna tattoos.  Generally, if you do not find a prohibition in the NFHS rule book or Wisconsin Adaptations it should be considered legal.

QUESTION 2: The issue was related to screening.  Our opponent was the serving team, and they placed a back row player standing straight (not sideways or bent down in any way) up 8-10 feet in front of the endline, directly in front of the server (not offset to the side).  The back row player was taller than the server.  When serving, the server served the ball over the back row player.  This happened several times in our 2 matches against this opponent this week.  So here is my question and the responses I received from the officials.

While rule 6.5.2.b states that two or more players standing close together, and the ball being served directly over them, is a screen, Rule 6.5.2.a states that "When a player(s) on the serving team waves arms, jumps, moves sideways or stands close to the server, and the ball is served over the player(s)." that it is a screen.  I requested that screening be watched due to the player standing up in front of the server.  One official said it was not 2 players, so it was legal.  The other official said that he felt that the ball was served at a higher trajectory and he felt in his judgment that the view of the receiving team was not obstructed (while my players informed me that they could not see until after the ball passed the defender who was potentially screening.  In both cases the official made no attempt to ask the serving team to move the potential screener with preventative officiating.  I would think that regardless of flight path of the ball that rule 6.5.1 "Players on the serving team shall not take action to prevent receivers from seeing the contact of the serve or the path of the served ball." would cover this as well.

So my question is, does a screen exist regardless of the trajectory of the ball?  Is it still an official's judgment as described, or should this be black & white.

ANSWER:        The best resource regarding screening is in the NFHS Case Book, pages 26-27 (6.5.2, sit. A, B, & C).   The comments address several of your questions.  You'll see that the trajectory of the ball is a consideration and it is definitely an official's judgment call.

QUESTION 3: Our volleyball team participated in a multi-school at the start of the season.  Does that count as 1 scrimmage or more?  Can we still have a scrimmage before regionals?

ANSWER:        Two scrimmages are allowed.  Provided your multi-school scrimmage met the criteria on page 60 of the Volleyball Season Regulations, you would have one scrimmage remaining.

QUESTION 4: Quick question regarding WIAA volleyball rules.  Do we have to have anyone in particular keep the scorebook for freshman level volleyball games or can it be a volunteer parent from either team?

ANSWER:        Its the host school's responsibility to provide an individual that is knowledgable and reliable for the role of the scorekeeper.  Exactly who that person is, is up to the host.  Volunteer parent, if trained, is acceptable.

QUESTION 5: We officiated a volleyball game last night and the coach said that referees have been inconsistent with substitution procedures.  Some have had the 2nd pair of subs wait outside the substitution zone between the 10 M line and the end line, others have had the subs stand in a line (behind) with the 1st set of subs.  I just wanted to clarify proper procedure.

ANSWER:        From the NFHS rule 10-2-3B, the next pair should be outside the zone, to the side.  Positioning them directly behind the first pair is not indicated in the rule.

September 4, 2014

 UPDATE:   QUESTION 5:  As an official how I am supposed to deal with these new rubber medical alert bracelets? The rules book says to tape the metal to your body but there is no metal on these and the players are wearing them as medical alerts and not just jewelry. 

ANSWER:              From the NFHS:  The medical alert bracelet, even though made of pliable rubber, must be taped to the wrist with the medical alert message visible.


QUESTION 1:       I have an athlete on my volleyball team that has asked me if they could bowl with their mother, in a mother daughter bowling tournament, it has a cash payout.  They were wondering if this would conflict with rules of participation in volleyball?

ANSWER:              Bowling is not a WIAA sponsored sport, therefore participation in this event would be allowed.


QUESTION 2:       My daughter just got a nose ring and went to a tournament and the referee would not let her play. She could not physically take it out of her nose as she had it professionally done and I guess they put them in there so they don’t come out. Can she put a band aid or athletic tape over it to keep it covered or does she have to have it taken out by the person who put it in for her to be able to participate in matches?

ANSWER:              The WIAA follows NFHS volleyball rules, which prohibit jewelry.  Is your daughter in high school or middle school?  All high school teams (varsity, JV, and freshman) would follow the no jewelry rule.  WIAA membership at the middle level is much smaller so it is possible that your daughter's school team is not a member.  Occasionally, these non-member schools do not follow WIAA/NFHS rules.

When enforcing the NFHS no jewelry rule, covering the jewelry with tape does not make it legal.  The only solution is for your daughter to have the ring removed if she wants to continue to compete.  I would advise that she speak with her coach regarding this rule.


QUESTION 3:       What is the total number of sets a JV player can participate in if she/he moves up and also plays at the Varsity Level in the same evening?  Also what is the penalty if it is discovered during play that night if she/he exceeded the maximum?

ANSWER:              The maximum number is 5 if the format is a dual match.  There is a waiver available for D4 schools that have low numbers on their teams.   This is not the responsibility of the official to report.  If its brought to your attention during the match, the player in question should be restricted to the bench, play continues with the offending school self-reporting to the WIAA the next day.


QUESTION 4:       I am the STATS/PR person for Merrill High School Volleyball.  Currently, we use the MAX Preps website/app for stats, game calendars, etc.  They have pre-formed rosters and line up sheets for us to print out after we enter our information from our team.  They carry the MAX Preps logo on them.  My question is, are these acceptable for games and tournament play?  Do we have to use the line up sheet on the WIAA site?

ANSWER:              The WIAA line-up form is posted merely as an option for coaches.



QUESTION 6:       I am the varsity coach for XYZ High School.  Last regional seeding meeting there was a debate on if the games played to 21 instead of 25 in multiples (invites/tournaments) should be counted.  I will be going to ABC tomorrow and just received their tournament information.  They are playing 2 out of 3 to 21 points.  I addressed this last year with the head coach but no changes obviously have been made.  What are the rules for tournament play and can I be discriminated at seeding meetings for playing in tournaments that only go to 21 points. 

ANSWER:              Please see the following from the WIAA Tournament Regulations:


(3) Only matches played in a two-out-of-three or three-out-of-five (25 point sets) format should be reported on the season summary form.


The matches played to 21 points should be included in your supplementary report when you attend the seed meetings.


QUESTION 7:       How large can the letter "G" be on the front leg of a spandex uniform bottom?  We are adding it to our uniform.  I know all of the uniform top rules, and manufacturer's logo rules...but this one I could not find.

ANSWER:              No restriction on size on uniform bottom.  Only restriction would be for manufacturer's logo.


QUESTION 8:       We are hoping to host a "pink" match.  Where can I find information about what is allowed?

ANSWER:              On the WIAA website, make sure you are logged in.  Click on Sports at the top of the page and select Volleyball.  On the volleyball page, select Rules and Regulations from the list on the left side.  In the middle of the page choose "Hosting a Pink Event".


QUESTION 9:       I would like to know the requirements of the center line (which is also half court line for basketball court) through our logo? As I read in the current rule book, a shadow bordered line is permissible still to be used.  Also, with our gym layout to get 3 courts in correctly to meet spacing requirements, our main volleyball court is offset a bit on the main basketball court which puts the one volleyball sideline outside of the basketball court sideline. My clarification again on this situation is the volleyball attack line and endline that intersect through the basketball sideline.  Do these lines need to continue through the 8" basketball sideline?  If so, does it need to be a solid 2" line or can it be a shadow 2" line?

ANSWER:              From the NFHS:  "Shadow line is permitted for the center line.  Only small gaps (1-2") are allowed for the other boundary lines, including the attack line.  These must be solid lines, shadow lines are only allowed for the center line."


QUESTION 10:     An official stated that some girls last year put clear fishing line in their earring holes to prevent closing and to be able to play, is that OK? 

ANSWER:              Yes, this is allowed provided they then place tape over it.


QUESTION 11:     Can plastic or rubber plugs be worn in the ear, or are those considered earrings and not allowed?

ANSWER:              Not allowed.  Please refer to the Case Book, 4.1.6, sit. D:  "These devices are considered jewelry and shall not be worn by a player in warm-ups and/or competition…The spacers could also be removed and the ear covered with tape with acknowledgement of the first referee."


QUESTION 12:     If officials forget their flags for the line judges, can the match still be played? 

ANSWER:              Yes, if this is a chronic issue with certain officials school should report it to the WIAA.


QUESTION 13:     Is a volleyball player allowed to wear a sleeve on their arm?

ANSWER:              Legal.  There are no NFHS rules, which would prohibit this.




2013 Volleyball Questions and Answers

October 4, 2013

***Please note that the requirement for host schools to provide libero trackers extends to all levels of play:  varsity, junior varsity, and freshman matches.
***Officials should carefully check the R1 stand prior to stepping onto the stand.  If it appears that it is not secure contact the supervisor.  From the standard official's contract:  "Under no circumstances should officials perform any task beyond the scope of their officiating duties as prescribed in the WIAA and NFHS rules such as assisting in the set-up of facilities."

QUESTION 1:    I had a coach ask me the other night about the girls wearing pink hair extensions for a Pink Out event. I told her I wasn't sure about extensions, but knew for sure that the girls could dye their hair pink if they wanted to.  Can you shed some light on this situation for me?
ANSWER:    It depends on how the extension is attached.  If it has any kind of hard metal or plastic attachment to the girls’ real hair it would not be allowed.  If it was woven into the hair and secure than it might be OK.  You are correct that hair dye would be allowed, but caution should be used if the hair coloring is spray on rather then actual dye.  Spray on tends to run when the player becomes hot and sweaty.

QUESTION 2:    I have a question regarding the officiating of the volleyball games.  I have seen a pretty strong consistency of officials not calling double hits on sets and carried sets (those set from the chest).   Thus when poor sets/lifts are not called, it allows for fundamentally poorer teams to "stay in the game" instead of blowing the play dead.  Was this a point of emphasis for them during the off-season in order to let play continue?  I make it a point to coach my teams to play fundamentally correct even to the point of officiating our daily practice games.  As I said, I have seen this at almost every match and if I knew it was a point to allow it thus letting play continue, I would be able to let my girls know that and thus have them practice against those situations.  As of now I stop play when those events occur, thus creating muscle memory in them.  Any advice or info would be greatly appreciated.
ANSWER:    As was stated in an earlier Q & A, double hits are only allowed on first contacts and prolonged contact is always illegal.  The expectation is that officials will enforce the rules and call violations whenever they see them!

QUESTION 3:    I have a question concerning footwear.  In warm-ups, the varsity coach was barefoot while warming up her team.  Rule 4-2-6 states "appropriate playing shoes shall be worn" and I know as an official we are to screen ball shaggers (members of  the C and JV teams) to make sure they have appropriate footwear.  Is the coach exempt from this rule?
ANSWER:    While it is ill advised for a coach to be on the court without proper footwear, officials' jurisdiction in this area does not extend to coaches.

QUESTION 4:    Can a JV Team have more than the maximum allowed matches?  We are currently one over the max but are watching the number of games our athletes that play both Varsity and JV are playing.
ANSWER:    No, Please refer to the WIAA Volleyball Season Regulations; “The maximum number of contests is 15, and no more than seven of the 15 may be multiple-school contests (involving total of more than two teams)”.

QUESTION 5:    For lower level games, can we have one official on the tower only?  In other words not have a floor official...for JV/Frosh matches?
ANSWER:    Yes.  Please refer to the Volleyball Season Regulations, page 61; “Two WIAA licensed officials are recommended for all nonvarsity competition, but only one is required.”

QUESTION 6:    This is my second year as head coach.  We had a match last night and traveled to another school.  Is it legal for their fans to be making noises while we are serving?  Their fans were making whistling sounds while we were serving.  They were not cheering anyone on, but using this high screeched whistle to distract our girls.  They of course only did it on their side of the net.
ANSWER:    This topic has come up several times during the past few years.  The NFHS Rule Book, page 45 under Section 1 NOTE states; "The NFHS disapproves of any form of taunting which is intended or designed to embarrass, ridicule or demean others under any circumstances including on the basis of race, religion, gender or national origin."  Our interpretation of this has been that players, coaches, and/or spectators may not single out individual players during the match.  An example of this would be if your player #4, for example, takes her position to serve and the spectators start calling out her number or name or make specific references to her.  This would not be allowed.  The volleyball officials do have the ability to suspend the set if; "...spectator becomes unruly or interferes with the orderly progress of the set, the first referee shall suspend the set until the host management resolves the situation and the set can proceed in an orderly manner." (NFHS Rule 12-3)  The would be a judgment call of the officials.  As the coach you could request that R2 discuss the situation with R1.  Most of the stoppages of play that I have seen were related to a fan specifically singling out a player. While whistling doesn't seem like good sportsmanship, officials don't have the authority, per the NFHS rules, to require silence during the serve.

QUESTION 7:    I have a volleyball player who has a medical condition.  The condition is worsened with the long sleeve uniform the varsity wears.  Would it be ok if we alter her uniform to be short sleeve while everyone else has a long sleeve uniform.  
ANSWER:    NFHS Rule 4-2-1 allows for a variety of sleeve lengths.  If your coach has someone question this she should refer them to the NFHS Case Book, page 14, 4.2.1, sit. A which addresses this specific question.

QUESTION 8:    I have a volleyball player who has been fitted with a "sam splint" on her finger.  It is a metal splint sandwiched between padding.  Is it legal for her play with this type of splint?
ANSWER:    Not allowed.  Please refer to NFHS Rule 4-1-1; “A guard, cast or brace made of hard and unyielding leather, plaster, pliable plastic , metal or any other hard substance shall not be worn on the hand, finger, wrist or forearm, even though covered with soft padding.”

QUESTION 9:    Prior to the end of the JV match, a XYZ varsity player entered the gym, removed 6 balls from the bin and headed to the hallway with them.  I asked where she was going with them and her response was that her team runs in for warm-ups with balls.  However, when she took the balls to her team in the hall, they engaged in some pepper and setting off the wall.  I wouldn't call it an organized warm-up, but I brought this to the attention of the officials after the JV match ended.  I was told by the officials that their jurisdiction is limited to the gym.  The only reason I bring this up is because officials historically deny any touching of volleyballs in the gym until official warm-ups start.  If that is the policy, it seems an easy way to get around it would be to take balls into a hallway, locker room, extra gym or even outside.  I'm just looking for clarification on the rule (if there is an official rule) and if what happened violated the spirit of that rule.  Just wondering in case this comes up again in the future.
ANSWER:    You are correct that teams are not allowed to use volleyballs to warm-up immediately prior to the official 20 minute warm-up period.   This has traditionally been a “self regulated” rule, in other words one which officials are not expected to seek out and enforce.  We make a point of stressing, during the WIAA tournament, that teams should not be on the court warming up with volleyballs when teams arrive for the tournament match.

September 26, 2013

QUESTION 1:       Are assistant coaches ever allowed to stand to coach?

ANSWER:              Not allowed.  Please refer to NFHS Rule 12-2-5a-e.  The list of privileges does not include standing to coach.

QUESTION 2:       In a match last night I asked a coach if one of her players was wearing glitter on her eyelids.  She told me it was clear tape holding her false eyelashes on that looked like glitter.  What is the ruling?  Legal or illegal.

ANSWER:              I believe that the rule prohibiting glitter (4-1-7) is more concerned with body lotion or actual pieces of glitter that would have the potential to come off on the ball or fall onto the floor rather then false eyelashes with glitter tape.  It seems to be too inconsequential and personal for officials to be checking on players eye lashes.  Keep in mind that coaches have the ability to enforce stricter rules for their own team.

QUESITON 3:       Is it true that towels can no longer hang on the left over part of the net closest to the pole?  I realize the new rule that players can have a small towel in their spandex during play but I had a referee tell us the towel could not be bunched up out of the way during the game.

ANSWER:              I would advise that your setter take advantage of the new rule which allows players to have a small towel tucked in the waistband of their shorts (4-1-4).  Having a towel hanging on the net cables has always created the potential for a towel on the floor which could become tangled in a player's feet or cause an uneven surface.  If a towel is necessary, high humidity which results in a slippery floor, then have towels available at the scorer's table, team bench, or located under the official's stand.

QUESTION 4:       At a recent boys' game, one of the teams had jerseys with a legal NIKE swoosh on the chest and additionally a NIKE tag at the bottom of the jersey.  I believe this is in violation of the single logo rule  (4-2-1f).

ANSWER:              Correct call.  Only one manufacturer's logo is allowed per piece of apparel.  There are two solutions; tuck the shirts in (which is probably how they are supposed to be worn) or take a Sharpie marker and color over the NIKE tag on the bottom of the jersey.

September 24, 2013

QUESTION 1:    What are teams allowed to do before the pre-match conference?  What are they allowed to do during the prematch conference?
ANSWER:    The prematch warm-ups shall consist of 20 minutes.  The clock must be stopped and the horn sounded after each of the segments listed below.
(1) 6 minutes – both teams on the court doing ball drills, but no net play.
(2) 7 minutes – home team on court alone.
(3) 7 minutes – visiting team on court alone.
(4) National Anthem – teams lined up on the sideline in front of their bench.
(5) 1 minute – team huddle in bench area.
(6) Starters only report to baseline.
(7) Introduction of starters from the baseline.
(8) Teams will then follow the defined National Federation prematch protocol.
(9) Allowed exceptions include:
(a) The introduction procedure can be modified for special circumstances (i.e., parents or senior night, etc.).
(b) If two courts are available both can be used for warm-ups. The involved coaches should mutually agree on procedures for court usage.  The visiting team must, however, be provided equal usage of the main court.

This information can be found in the Wisconsin Adaptations that all officials and coaches must runoff and include in their NFHS Rule Books.
Found here:

Prior to the 20 minutes of prematch warm-up, teams may run, stretch, etc., but no use of a volleyball is allowed.

QUESTION 2:    Can our players put pink glitter tattoos on their face (cheek), shoulder, or hand?
ANSWER:    Temporary tattoos are not allowed in volleyball.  Similar to “body paint or glitter” (Rule 4-1-7).

QUESTION 3:    Are glitter headbands legal in volleyball?
ANSWER:    Please refer to the NFHS Case Book,  page 13, 4.1.6, Situation A.

QUESTION 4:    When there is a deciding game (either the 3rd or 5th), and the captains are called for the coin flip.  Is it all captains or just the "playing" captains on the court?
ANSWER:    Please refer to Rule 5-4-4d2.  It references “captains” and not specifically “playing captains”.  I would interpret this to mean all captains.

QUESTION 5:    Team A wins a rally and the serve.  With Player X for Team A at end-line, R1 blows whistle and beckons for serve.  Player X realizes that she is not the correct server and within the 5 second count tosses the ball up into the air and lets it fall to the ground.  R1 calls for re-serve.  Team A, now rotates to the correct positions and the correct server takes possession of the ball and serves.  Play is allowed by R1.  Is this the correct call?
ANSWER:    Legal.  Please refer to the Case Book, 8.1.6, sit D.  Similar situation.

September 17, 2013

QUESTION 1:         There seems to be a lot of confusion concerning the end of set protocol for a non-deciding set.  I signal the loss of rally, the fault, the end of set signal, and then the change of court signal.  I have the players on the court change sides going around the net poles without going to the end line.  I have seen some referees at the end of the set send the players on the court to their bench and then have them change sides.  I have also seen some referees follow the old protocol of sending the teams to the end line and then have them change sides.

                              I am sure the teams are getting just as confused by all the referees doing their "own thing" as me seeing it.  Please clarify.

ANSWER:               Please refer to NFHS Rule 9-2-3b; “When directed by the first referee to change courts, the teams shall proceed immediately to their new team benches and the players shall proceed counterclockwise along the sideline past the standard to their new team benches.”  This is also referenced in Rule 5-4-4b.  The new rule has simply eliminated the need for the players to report to the endline prior to changing courts/benches.

QUESTION 2:         How many players can I have on my varsity roster and bench during a match?  I only really play 7, but I have a lot of young kids that I would consider "suiting up" after they play JV if it was legal.  I thought it was 12 during season and 15 at tournament time, but I wanted to check.

ANSWER:               During the regular season there is not a WIAA limit on your bench size.  I would advise checking with your athletic director to see if there is a conference limitation.  You are correct that during the WIAA tournament series there may only be 15 players in uniform.

QUESTION 3:         I have an officiating question for you.  Team's A server tosses the ball in the air and let's it drop. The official calls for a re-serve. The server serves two more points before again tossing the ball in the air and letting it drop.  Is the server entitled to a second re-serve or only the one?

ANSWER:              Illegal.  8-1-5; "Each player may have only one re-serve during a team's term of service."

QUESTION 5:         A question that I should know the answer to, but still have a degree of uncertainty.  I know that a double hit is legal on a first hit by the receiving team immediately following the serve (in other words, the very first time the ball went over the net).  My question is this: after the served ball is over and during a continuing volley (in other words after the ball has gone over the net at least a second time) does the rule of first hit still apply or is this rule only applicable for receiving a served ball.  Another way to phrase my question is:  what is a good definition for first hit? – is it:  a) any ball that is received by the receiving team  or b) any served ball that is received by the receiving team?  or any served ball or any hard hit ball that is received by the receiving team.  Also, if I’m right so far, what about a ball that is simply lobbed over the net.  Could the player receiving a lobbed ball be called for a double hit while trying to receive the ball using finger action?

ANSWER: 9-4-8; “Multiple contacts are more than one contact by a player during one attempt to play                                the

 ball.  Multiple contacts are permitted only:  a) When the first ball over the net                      rebounds

 from one part of the player’s body to one or more other parts in one attempt to  block, b) On any first team hit, whether or not the ball is touched by the block.”  You are  correct that a double hit is possible on a first team hit, but prolonged contact is not.  It  doesn’t matter if it’s a serve, receive, dig, or overhand pass.

QUESTION 6:         We wear small plastic rings on our shoes as a symbol of unity and togetherness.  I have used these rings both as a player and as a coach.  Never has there been an issue with these rings.  They are the same exact rings we have always had.  It is safe to say we have used these rings for at least 30 years.  In the final match of our tournament on Saturday, following an entire day of play with the same officials, we were forced to take the rings out prior to being able to take the court.  For future reference, could you please give me a ruling on this?  As I stated, they are a small ring made of a very soft plastic that is softer than the actual plastic on the shoe.

ANSWER:              I believe the addition of anything not functional to the shoes would be illegal.  Please refer to the NFHS Case Book, 4.1.6, sit. A.; “Metal charms are considered jewelry and must be removed before a player can enter the match.”  I understand that the rings are soft plastic, but in another area of the Case Book is states that plastic ear plugs are not legal.  I’m using this as my rationale.

QUESTION 7:         On a ball headed out of bounds that contacts a player’s hair versus the skull, is it considered a touch?  This happened at a girls match whereby it was apparent it contacted hair, but not the head/body.  The officials did not call it a touch as hair contacting the net is considered incidental contact.

ANSWER:              Rule 9-4-1; “A contact is any touch of the ball by a player (excluding the player’s loose hair).” Also a situation in the Case Book:  9.4.1.

QUESTION 8:         Is there a difference in any way between a volleyball used for a girls match vs. a boys match.  I see nothing regarding this in the rule book.  The subject came up during a freshman girls match last night and there seemed to be some consensus that there is.

ANSWER:               Any NFHS approved ball may be used for either boys or girls' volleyball matches.  There are volleyballs made by different manufacturers that are specifically for boys' play.  The ball is firmer.  In the WIAA tournament (sectionals and State) we use Molten volleyballs and we do have one type we use for girls (IV58L-3-HS Super Touch) and another for the boys (V58L-3-HS Pro Touch).

September 6, 2013

The WIAA has received reports of athletes participating in team warm-ups (varsity for JV and JV for varsity) while wearing inappropriate footwear (flip flops, etc.).  Coaches are reminded that this is not acceptable!

QUESTION 1        I've seen quite a few athletes with spandex shorts that have a manufacturer's logo on the leg and numerous logos around the waistband.  Aren't these considered illegal uniforms?

ANSWER               The uniforms pictures below would be considered illegal as per NFHS Rule 4-2-1f.

QUESTION 2        At a recent tournament there were vertical hanging backboards about 6' from the endline of the court.  On one court, a ball contacting the backboard was automatically dead with no opportunity for a replay.  On the other court it was dead but the official considered whether there were grounds for a replay or not as per NFHS Rule 9-8-1h.  What should the ruling have been?

ANSWER               If it is determined that the vertical hanging backboard is in a playable area a replay would be called if " the judgment of the referee, the ball would have remained in play had the backboard not been there, and a player is able to make a legitimate play for the ball."  Where identical multiple courts are being used it is important for officials to make consistent calls on ground rules.

QUESTION 3        We have a player who likes to start her jump serve from outside the sideline, she then runs along the baseline and serves.  Last week at our invite she was called for a violation, because she started the serve outside the sideline.  Is this a violation?

ANSWER               NFHS Rule 2-1-6 defines the serving area and rule 8-1-2 states; “...shall not touch the end line or the floor outside the lines marking the width of the serving area at the instant the ball is contacted for the serve.”  This means that the server may begin their approach outside the serving area but at the moment of contact must be within the defined serving area.

QUESTION 4        We have a JV volleyball player with non-removing collar bone piercings that has recently joined our team. Is she able to play in JV games with them? Do they need to be covered with athletic tape or an undershirt?

ANSWER               Dermal piercings (exposed objects protruding from the skin) are not allowed per NFHS Rule 4-1-6.  Covering the protrusions does not make them legal.

QUESTION 5        I am at a tournament with teams that I am unfamiliar with (do not know the head coach).  I call for the prematch meeting with the head coach and captains.  During the match, the coach that is standing is not the coach that was in the meeting.  Is this a violation?  What is the penalty?

ANSWER               The head coach is required to attend the pre-match meeting (Rule 12-2-3).  Not attending could result in an unsporting conduct which in turn means the head coach has lost the ability to stand for that match (12-2-6).

QUESTION 6        I've been trying to find out how many different volleyball contests are allowed for freshmen and haven't been able to find it on WIAA website.

ANSWER               Please refer to page 62 of the Volleyball Season Regulations; “The maximum number of meets is 13.  No more than six of the 13 may be multiple-school meets.”

QUESTION 7        I thought I read somewhere that if an official chooses to wear black shorts due to heat that he also must wear white socks and white shoes, not black shoes and socks.  So my question is whether I am correct and white shoes and socks are mandatory with black shorts or are they optional and we can also wear black shoes and black socks.  I know we must wear the black with black pants.  Also could you reference where in the rules these policies might appear?

ANSWER               The information regarding volleyball officials’ attire can be found in the “Guide for Officials”.  On the WIAA website select Officials, then on this page scroll down to Resources which is just under the picture of the umpire on the right hand side.  “Black shorts allowed with white shoes and socks.”  Since it states “allowed” either white or black would be fine although both partners should be wearing the same thing.

QUESTION 8:       My middle (#3) rotates to the back and serves, once she is done serving I have my Libero (#17) run in to take her place.  So 17 plays serve receive in the RB spot, serve and serve receive in the MB spot, then plays serve in the LB position... here is where the question comes in, the player currently serving-an opposite (#10) I would like my libero (17) in her spot when she loses her serve so when 10 lose her serve could my libero (17) take 10's place in the RB spot and 3 (the middle) run in to the LB spot, with 10 coming off the floor?  That would mean 3 would play serve receive in the LB back and then rotate to the front.  My libero (17) would then play serve receive in the RB, serve and serve receive in the MB and serve and serve receive in the LB then she would come out and sit and 10 would come in the front row.  Legal or not?

ANSWER:              I don’t see that your libero is serving.  If #17 (Libero) was to move to the RB position for #10 and serve this would be legal.   But she cannot move to RB after #10 has finished her serve (10-4-1c) without sitting out one deadball.  

QUESTION 1:    Are "skids" legal for use by all players?

ANSWER:    Legal.

QUESTION 2:    We have more girls out for volleyball this year then ever before.  Is it possible to have a varsity reserve team?  How do we go about creating one?
ANSWER:    Your school board should officially approve the varsity reserve team.  Then create a schedule specifically for this team.  The varsity reserve would have the same match limits as the varsity and JV teams and each girl would still need to adhere to the individual season limitations.

QUESTION 3:    What volleyball can we use?
ANSWER:    Any ball which has the NFHS Authenticating Mark is legal for use.  During the WIAA Sectional Championship and the State Tournament, the ball which is used is the Molten IV58L-3-HS Super Touch (girls) or the V58L-3-HS Pro Touch (boys).  Both balls are red, white, and blue in color.

QUESTION 4:    We have a player that needs to wear a heart monitor.  Does she need WIAA approval?
ANWER:    Yes.  Contact WIAA staff with the name of the player and provide a copy of the physician's orders for its use.  The WIAA will provide a wavier which should be shown by the head coach to the officials prior to each match

August 12, 2013

QUESTION 1:    Are athletes allowed to wear this device?
ANSWER:    Prohibited.  Rule 4-1-4.

QUESTION 2:    Is there information posted on-line regarding "Pink Events"?
ANSWER:    Yes, make sure you are logged into the WIAA website.  Select Volleyball from the sport list, then click on Rules & Regulations, and then choose "Hosting a Pink Event".

QUESTION 3:    We're training new line judges.  Is there information on what they need to know?  I'm especially interested in training them to use flags.
ANSWER:    Access the WIAA website, select Volleyball from the list of sports, click on Rules & Regulations, and then choose "Line Judges Duties and Responsibilities."  This is an excellent PowerPoint presentation produced by the Indiana Association.

QUESTION 4:    Now that players may wear a towel tucked into their waist-band, what is the ruling if the towel touches the net?
ANSWER:    Net violation.  Rule 9-6-7a.

QUESTION 5:    We're ordering new libero jerseys and I'd like to be in compliance with the new rule that takes effect in 2016.  Is there additional information available somewhere?
ANSWER:    Yes, there are several pictures of legal and illegal jerseys posted in a PowerPoint presentation.  On the WIAA main webpage, select Volleyball from Sports, then Rules & Regulations, choose Uniforms.  You'll find the NFHS PowerPoint on the new uniform rules.

Sixth-Set Waiver Request   Waiver available August 19th.

In emergency situations, a sixth set waiver may be requested if a school is sponsoring only two levels (junior varsity and varsity), is a division four school, and has less then 16 players between the two teams. Written approval from the conference and the WIAA is required.

See form above for complete instructions.

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Wisconsin Interscholastic
Athletic Association
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