Volleyball: Boys volleyball makes latest serve for sanctioning

Cherokee Trail Boys Volleyball Team
The Cherokee Trail boys volleyball team, coached by Terry Miller, top right, won the Colorado Boys High School Volleyball Association state championship in 2014. Miller now coaches a team based out of Cherry Creek that includes players from schools all across the district. Boys volleyball is seeking to be a sanctioned sports by the Colorado High School Activities Association. (File photo)

AURORA | A lot of people in town will be keeping an eye on Thursday’s meeting of the Colorado High School Activities Association Legislative Council, where the future of boys volleyball in Colorado will be decided.

The sport has pushed to be sanctioned by the state’s governing body on several occasions in the past, but this might be the best chance it has yet to get approval.

Cherokee Trail’s Terry Miller, who coaches the school’s girls team in the fall and one of several Cherry Creek co-op boys teams in the spring, planned to be onhand for the vote and said he was “cautiously optimistic” that it would be successful this time.

“I’ve heard that it’s going to be very close, but I’m hoping that this finally is the year that men’s volleyball is sanctioned in the state of Colorado,” Miller told the Sentinel. “I’ve been coaching the boys’ program for quite a few years now and I certainly would like all of the hard-working athletes of all programs to be recognized by the state and by their respective schools.”

Currently, boys volleyball is playing as a club sport and features competition in Classes 5A and 3A.

Locally, Regis Jesuit has multiple teams and the Cherry Creek co-op program features players from Eaglecrest, Grandview, Overland and Smoky Hill. There’s been a lot of local success in the past in Aurora, as the former Cherokee Trail team won the state championship in 2014, which followed back-to-back titles for Regis Jesuit.

This season’s schedule started on March 6 and the season concludes with state championships in two classifications crowned May 13.

The implementation of the Title IX Education Amendment, which attempts to even the playing field in regards to male and female participants in sanctioned sports, has been a sticking point in the past. The size of football at most schools tends to make it difficult to add any additional male sports. Coloradoboysvolleyball.com cites a survey of Colorado schools that indicated that “143 schools answered the CHSAA survey that they could add boys’ volleyball and NOT move out of compliance with Title IX.”

Besides that, boys volleyball — which has more than 50 teams and 600 athletes for the 2017 spring season — satisfies a lot of CHSAA’s sanctioning criteria.

According to Coloradoboysvolleyball.com, there would be 52 schools in Classes 1A-3A that would have teams, plus 41 more in 4A-5A, which would satisfy the CHSAA sanctioning criteria of having enough schools in a geographic area to complete a schedule.

With girls volleyball taking place in the fall, officials would be available in the spring for a boys season. Gyms, volleyballs and volleyball nets already exist at most schools, so the cost of equipment is minimal.

Miller went on to say that several people had done to “great lengths” to make it a reality this time.

Should the sport get turned away from sanctioning again, it won’t deter it from continuing on in its current form and making another push in the future.

“Even if the vote doesn’t go our way, we will still continue to support the sports we love and we will encourage more high schools and school districts to do the same,” Miller said.

Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel