An Equity Committee of the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) has declined to endorse adding boys’ volleyball as an official offering in the state after hearing a proposal last Thursday.
For at least the second time this decade (a previous attempt was made in 2010), this means that Colorado will stop short of adding the sport for boys next season.
The committee, in making its decision, cited a survey where 81 percent of schools said that by adding boys’ volleyball, “their proportionality numbers would either be negatively affected or their school’s proportionality would come out of compliance.”
74% of the state’s high schools responded to the survey.
Title IX of the Education Reformation Act deals with, among other things, ensuring equal access to athletics opportunities at American schools at all levels – including high school and college. In broad terms, schools are required to provide male and female students with varsity athletic opportunities in rough proportion to their student body.
While this doesn’t necessarily kill the bid for sanctioning, it is a major roadblock, in spite of 77% of survey respondents saying that they favored sanctioning. The organization’s bylaws doesn’t give the Equity Committee a full veto, but does require the Legislative Council to weigh their recommendation in their decision-making process.
The presentation on behalf of boys volleyball was made by Cherry Creek Schools athletic director Larry Bull, who pointed to over 500 athletes participating on high school club teams, which have existed since 1996.
As of the last NFHS participation survey, 24 out of 50 states sponsor boys’ volleyball. That represents 2,287 schools and 54,418 participants nationally, led by California (676 schools, 16,552 participants) and Pennsylvania (206 schools, 3,708 participants).
The state currently has teams in 15 girls and 14 boys sports (though there are cases of female athletes participating on male teams). No new sports have been added since the year 1999.
The equity committee also heard presentations from girls’ wrestling and ultimate frisbee. It didn’t rule on either, but is monitoring them. In 2014-2015, 85 female wrestlers competed on boys’ teams.