A proposed bylaw amendment to add boys volleyball to the Minnesota State High School League’s programming of co-curricular opportunities fell just short of the required votes for passage from the 48-member Representative Assembly legislative body May 10.

The proposal to sanction boys volleyball and amend Bylaws 501, 502 and 520, was defeated by a vote of 31-17. A two-thirds majority, or 32 votes, was required for passage.

Boys volleyball has been considered for sanctioning in previous years.

In 2017 and 2018, a proposal to sanction boys volleyball as a spring activity did not gain the necessary support of 9 of the 16 administrative regions to advance to the Representative Assembly. In 2021, when reviewed at the region level, 11 of 16 regions supported the approved amendment which brought it to a vote by the Assembly, yet the proposed amendment fell two votes short of a majority vote by the Representative Assembly delegation.

Boys volleyball could be a future proposed amendment considered again by the Representative Assembly.

“It will absolutely be a possibility to be brought up in the future,” said Erich Martens, Minnesota State High School League Executive Director. “What you’re seeing, if you follow the path of volleyball, is both the growth in terms of the number of participants and the number of schools that have the programs. As more schools get on board, and some of the questions that were brought up by caucuses can be addressed, then I think we can get over that threshold. As you saw, today’s vote was very close. There are a lot of folks that are in support and excited to see boys volleyball continue to grow.”

That being said, the disappointment lingers for area teams who have been among the best in the state in recent years, with Andover winning back-to-back state championships and Blaine reaching the semifinals a year ago.

Disappointment was shared a year ago.

“When Blaine had its first program, I would have told you the important thing is that we have dozens of schools and hundreds of players playing and it does not really matter what organization sponsors the trophy at the end of the season,” Blaine head coach Will Paulson said at the time. “More of the reality of the details have set in. It’s been a lot of work just to find gym space as a program and to plan all the matches as a Minnesota High School Boys Volleyball Association. I think it’s even tougher on the players. For many of our players, this is the only high school sport that each one of them will play, so they are in an undefined space of being a high school student athlete, balancing academics and practice and matches and often work, however their own high school does not officially recognize them as an athlete for their school.”

“At Andover, we have many boys who have never participated in any high school sport, others who have and some who have been cut from a sport and are looking for another avenue,” said Andover’s Connie Huberty, director of boys volleyball and girls varsity volleyball head coach at Andover. “The best part is the players’ willingness to learn something new. They watch competitive volleyball for the girls team and want to learn the strategy and skill set involved with that ... this is what they are doing! It is so inspiring to watch them learn and grow as players, and tackle the hard stuff about the game. New relationships are formed, a sport is played that will be played for the rest of their life. Some of our alumni have been lucky enough to participate competitively in college, others are coaching youth boys volleyball. The benefits far exceed the limitations. The states around us have boys volleyball and we have all the resources to make it happen in Minnesota. It isn’t a sport that needs a large number of players on a roster and it doesn’t take away from other spring options. How many boys get a door closed in a sport they have spent their lives playing in high school — volleyball opens a door for them that is better than other choices they might make without options. We are all set up and ready to move forward.”

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