Boys volleyball as a varsity sport in the Minnesota State High School League is in a holding pattern, postponing its proposed first sanctioned season until 2022.
There are 57 programs in the Minnesota Boys High School Volleyball Association in seven different conferences based on location. That's up from 22 teams in 2018.
Chaska and Burnsville would have been two of 13 new teams expected to begin this spring, along with Benilde-St. Margaret's, and Mound-Westonka-Orono-Delano. But the third intramural season was wiped out due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Southeast Conference would have featured eight of the 10 South Suburban Conference teams — Burnsville, Eagan, Eastview, Farmington, Lakeville South, Lakeville North, Prior Lake and Rosemount — along with East Ridge of the Suburban East Conference.
Shakopee of the SSC would have been in the nine member Southwest Conference, along Chaska, Eden Prairie, Edina and Minnetonka.
At the MSHSL Board of Directors Meeting back on April 24, officials said teams are still interested in becoming a league-sponsored sport. It received nine of 16 regions' support, thus moving to the general rep assembly June 1.
"We have a base of students that deserve this," said Jon Ekstrom, athletic director at North Branch.
Boys volleyball is looking at a shorter spring season to accommodate the need for gym space for many spring sports. They anticipate April 1 as an annual start date for each season.
"I've engaged with people that are running boys volleyball. We have a ton of support from current families," said Russ Reetz, Prior Lake athletic director.
Some have questioned the decision to run boys volleyball as a spring sport, going up against baseball, lacrosse, track and field, golf, and tennis.
Todd Waterbury of Mankato East High School reminded directors that just because a sport is available in the MSHSL, not every school has to offer it if they deem the numbers won't work.
Among board concerns was a state tournament location. Financially, the girls volleyball tournament breaks even each year at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. A boys tournament at the same venue would result in a major loss.
"We would not demand a venue like where the girls play, like the Xcel Energy Center," Reetz said.
Shakopee High School has identified themselves as a potential state site to consider. The first-ever boys state tournament was held there last year.
For more on Minnesota boys volleyball, go to mnboyshighschoolvolleyball.com.
Andover won the first-ever state title last year beating St. Paul Harding in the title match. Prior Lake ended up third.
Tom Schardin, firstname.lastname@example.org, also contributed to this report.