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After years of discussion, UHSAA adds boys volleyball as sanctioned high school sport in Utah

By Patrick Carr and Brett Hein - | Mar 24, 2022

Patrick Carr, Standard-Examiner

In this Oct. 28, 2021, photo, Morgan and Union high schools' girls volleyball teams begin to take the court for the 3A state championship match at Utah Valley University in Orem.

Another high school sport has sanctioned status in Utah.

The Utah High School Activities Association announced Thursday that its Board of Trustees has voted to sanction boys volleyball beginning in the 2023-24 school year. A UHSAA press release says competition will begin in the spring 2024 season.

“We’re very excited about seeing a new group of kids get to compete for a Utah state championship under our umbrella,” UHSAA assistant director Jon Oglesby said. “We think it’s going to be a positive addition to the association’s sanctioned activities and will be a good thing for kids moving forward.”

Boys volleyball’s status had been discussed for years and was initially up for a vote in a May 2020 board meeting, but sanctioning was postponed at the time because of uncertainties in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, a motion to sanction boys volleyball for the 2022-23 school year failed 8-5.

According to NFHS participation statistics, 25 states were participating in sanctioned boys volleyball in 2018-19.

It’s the fifth sport the UHSAA has added to sanctioned competition since 2016, joining boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse, girls wrestling, and competitive cheerleading. Cheerleading will host its first sanctioned state championship in the 2022-23 school year.

Boys volleyball stands to join a roster of spring sports in Utah that already includes baseball, softball, boys soccer, track and field, boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse, track and field for both boys and girls, girls golf and boys tennis.

The busy spring schedule has become a point of contention from school athletic directors and administrators who aren’t being paid additional amounts to supervise more events and take on more work.

There are also additional logistical challenges to adding a new sport, namely facilities and administrative supervision for games.

A bill filed in the most recent Utah general legislative session, Senate Bill 67, sought to pay school athletic directors more money — either $2,500 or $5,000 depending on their certification level.

The bill, filed by Sen. Mike McKell (R-Spanish Fork) received a favorable recommendation in the Senate Education Committee but was never voted on in the Senate nor the House of Representatives.

Oglesby said there was not a discussion in Thursday’s board meeting about potentially moving one or more spring sports to the fall to alleviate the spring slate.

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