Students evaluate benefits, implications of sanctioning men’s volleyball as an IHSAA sport

Raghav Sriram

 

Ben Hastings, senior and volleyball player, jumps as he prepares to hit the ball in a game. Hastings said he thinks it’s a shame that not as many people know about men’s volleyball as other sports. (Submitted Photo: Ben Hastings)

Junior Carly Christy said volleyball has been an integral part of her life ever since she was a young child.

“I (have) played volleyball since I was maybe seven years old. It was the first time I took a (volleyball) class, and I just loved it ever since.  I’ve played club since I was eleven and volleyball has just been a really big part of my life,” she said.

After initially playing club volleyball, Christy said she also got involved in the women’s volleyball team at this school.

The varsity women’s volleyball team strategizes during a game. At this school, women’s volleyball is a school-sanctioned sport but men’s volleyball is a club sport. Junior Yayha Rehman said that men’s volleyball does not compete in regional and state level competitions as a result of these differences in sanctioning. (Luke Miller)

“I’ve been on the (women’s) volleyball team for the past three years,” she said. “My favorite thing about it is just been the people. It’s awesome to have friends and people you can trust on the court, but you just meet so many amazing people, and especially in club that just reaches so many different places. So you make so many friends.”

“(Volleyball), really teaches you to be organized and structured when you play sports, because you don’t have all the time in the world. It makes sure I eat goods like my body is fueled so that I can do everything I need my body to do; It also just teaches me how to be a good person and a good teammate.”

However, junior Yahya Rehman said he might not have the same opportunity to make memories and share similar experiences as Christy was able to through volleyball due to limitations of the men’s volleyball team at CHS. 

He said, “Even though there is a men’s volleyball team here at (this school), I’m guessing that the matches and even the tournaments are all quite a bit different from the girl’s volleyball team since men’s volleyball is not an IHSAA sanctioned sport, meaning that there is no regional and state level tournaments and competitions that you see with other sports like swimming and football.”

Rehman said that he would be interested in joining the men’s volleyball team here at this school but was not aware of the opportunity until recently.

“I think when I was younger I didn’t know of a single boys team, at all, but now some other clubs have started having a boys team, Carmel obviously has a boys team,” Christy said. “Although, I also feel like maybe there aren’t as many tournaments for boys teams to go to because just not very many boys teams played, so there just isn’t as much opportunity to compete (for men’s volleyball players).”

Benjamin “Ben” Hastings, senior and boys’ volleyball player said, “I think that it’s a really big shame that not as many people know about (men’s volleyball). I mean, in middle school during gym it was a sport that we all played, no matter our gender, so I don’t see why that shouldn’t continue into high school.”

“And I don’t think that should even stop at high school. There’s men’s college volleyball teams as well and you can see men’s volleyball in the Olympics, but you don’t see that being talked about nearly as much as other sports which I think is a bit unfair,” he said.

Hastings is not the only one who shares this sentiment. A petition created by First Point Volleyball Foundation, a national organization dedicated to growing boys’ and men’s volleyball, has reached over six thousand signatures and urges the Indiana Athletic Association (IHSAA) to sanction boys high school volleyball. 

John Speraw, chairman of the First Point Volleyball Foundation, said, “Our goal is to grow the number of opportunities at every level, for men and boys to play (volleyball), this includes getting boys high school volleyball sanctioned in all fifty states. One of the best ways to do this is by creating a petition to rally up support within communities and show volleyball players across the nation the amount of support that they have.”

According to the petition, sanctioning high school boys’ volleyball in Indiana should be a relatively seamless process as for the past 28 years. While boys have been playing club volleyball, the Indiana Boys Volleyball Coaches Association (IBVCA) has maintained IHSAA rules during play. 

Christy said, “I support the petition. I think, hopefully, it will just reach more people and maybe people will be like ‘Oh, I want to play volleyball that looks cool’ because I didn’t even know that there was a boys team until I got to Carmel, so hopefully more people will know about (boys volleyball) and will be more aware.”

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