DENVER — Boys volleyball, girls wrestling and unified bowling were all approved to begin pilot seasons by the Board of Directors on Wednesday.
It means each have taken an initial step towards official sanctioning by CHSAA.
"We're really excited about the possibility of these sports offering new opportunities for students across the state," said CHSAA assistant commissioner Bethany Brookens, who oversees the equity committee and the sanctioning of new sports. "We are really trying to reach new populations of students who aren't already participating, with a focus on inclusion."
The three sports were the first to present pilot programs for consideration under a new bylaw which was passed in January. It is the first big hurdle for any new sports or activities to clear along the way to sanctioning. The Classification and League Organizing Committee, the Sports Medicine Committee, the Equity Committee, and the Legislative Council must also support a new sport or activity.
The first boys volleyball pilot season will be this upcoming spring. Girls wrestling will begin its pilot in the winter season of 2018-19. Unified bowling, which will be co-ed, will present its timeline at the April meeting of the Board of Directors.
Though that bylaw only requires one pilot season, both boys volleyball and girls wrestling would have two pilot seasons. If the Legislative Council approves the sports in 2019, boys volleyball would begin play in spring 2020, and girls wrestling would begin in winter 2020-21.
23 states already sanction boys volleyball. Another seven, including Colorado, are considering it.
In Colorado, there have typically been between 35-40 teams participating in boys volleyball over the past 20 years. In 2017, there were 50 teams and more than 650 athletes in the Colorado Boys High School Volleyball Association.
Participation in girls wrestling has also grown in recent years. In 2016-17, the first-ever girls-only tournament was held, and that continued in 2017-18. Last season, there were 235 female wrestlers who participated with boys, and even more who participated in girls-only tournaments.
Currently, only six states nationwide sanction girls wrestling. In the past month, both Georgia and Oregon indicated their intention to do so, as well.