Will panel dig idea of boys volleyball?

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Boys volleyball, currently a club sport, is set to serve up another attempt to the Colorado High School Activities Association to sanction the sport.

The CHSAA Equity Committee didn't endorse sanctioning boys volleyball during its January meeting, but the Colorado Boys High School Volleyball Association will make another bid to become a sanctioned sport at the April 20 Legislative Council meeting.

One of the fears of adding another boys sport is that schools could become out of compliance with Title IX. The federal law passed in 1972 mandates equal opportunities for sports participation for male and female athletes.

"This is the third time it's been up for vote and of all the times before I believe this has the best chance," CBHSVA president Mike Prusinowski said. "It all comes down to the Legislative Council vote. If the Equity Committee would have said yes, I would have been extremely sure we would have the votes. Now, I am hopeful for them."

The Equity Committee ruling is a barricade but not a full veto. CHSAA bylaws require the Legislative Council to weight the Equity Committee's recommendation in their decision-making process.

In a CHSAA survey last November, 258 schools responded and 93 - or 36 percent - said they would start a boys volleyball team. Another 107 schools support sanctioning boys volleyball, though they wouldn't initially field a team.

Overall, about 55 percent of schools said they could add boys volleyball and maintain compliance with Title IX.

"It's not an equity issue and they can't make it one because 143 schools have said they could maintain compliance," said CBHSVA board member Scott Siegfried, a representative for Cherry Creek. "The next question CHSAA asks is do we have officials? The president of the officials association of Colorado said we have plenty of officials. Then it becomes a money issue, and the fact the gyms, the nets, the balls already exist... I've been working hard to reach the $40,000 mark that I will donate to CHSAA through private donors. So, in essence, the first season could be free.

"We have a good case. I think I've answered every question single question anybody would ask so I feel good about that but this is a democratic process, people can vote and that will be what it is."

There are 50 club teams this season in the CBHSVA, with 600 participants playing in 3A and 5A. The clubs are co-op teams, with players coming from around the school districts. For instance, Cherry Creek has five teams, two 5A and three 3A, with players coming from all district schools.

Of the south, west and north metro schools that responded to the CHSAA survey, those that would field teams if boys volleyball sanctioning is approved are Cherry Creek, Heritage, Valor Christian, Northglenn, Ralston Valley, D'Evelyn, Pomona, Faith Christian, Holy Family and numerous schools in the Douglas County School District.

ThunderRidge hires from within

Doug Nisenson probably hums the melody of the Michigan fight song, which ThunderRidge has adopted as its fight song, in his sleep.

Nisenson, a ThunderRidge graduate who played football from 2002-05 for the Grizzlies, is the new football coach at ThunderRidge. He replaces Joe Johnson, who is leaving to coach at Cherokee Trail.

After coaching stints in Arizona and North Carolina, Nisenson has been on the ThunderRidge coaching staff since 2013. He was the defensive coordinator last season.

Jim Benton is a sports writer for Colorado Community Media. He has been covering sports in the Denver area since 1968. He can be reached at jbenton@coloradocommunitymedia.com or at 303-566-4083.

Jim Benton

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