Q&A: Insight into having the girls volleyball season in the spring with assistant commissioner Bethany Brookens

(Ryan Casey/CHSAANow.com)

With girls volleyball's move to the spring, we thought it was a good idea to take a glance at more info about the move.

So we caught up with Bethany Brookens, the assistant commissioner who oversees volleyball, to ask her some questions.

Question: What was the reasoning behind moving volleyball to the Season C in March?

Brookens: We worked really hard to try to offer girls volleyball this fall, and I was very optimistic that it would be approved. There are 346 of our 363 member schools that offer girls volleyball. That's 95 percent of our membership. We wanted to give them an opportunity to fully participate and engage with a sport at the start of school.

With that being said, when we found out on Tuesday that volleyball was not approved to move forward in Season A, we placed it in Season C to maintain consistency with sports that traditionally compete in the same season. So volleyball is with other traditional fall sports, like football, boys soccer and field hockey.

Q: Why wasn't volleyball placed in another season, such as D, or B?

5A boys swim state

Bethany Brookens. (Ray Chen/ArrayPhoto.com)

Brookens: When looking where to place volleyball, we had to take a global approach to figure out what was best for all high school participants across the state. The reality is that this is not just about volleyball. Knowing that facility space would be tough, as well as overlap of student-athletes, made the process tricky.

With all the winter sports being moved to Season B, we could not place volleyball there due to a lack of gym space, and the fact that many smaller and rural schools have a high number of basketball players who also play volleyball.

We did look to try to move girls volleyball to Season D, where our traditional spring sports are now offered. We wanted to offer volleyball during a season that would allow girls to have as many opportunities for participation as possible, which aligns with Title IX. If we were to move it to Season D, this would only limit participation opportunities for girls.

There are five other girls sports offered in Season D — most notably, track and field, which is a huge sport for our small schools and rural communities. Again, this is a state-wide decision. We are not just making decisions for metro-area volleyball players.

There are nearly 17,000 girls who play volleyball as part of our school programs across the state. We looked to do what is best for all female student-athletes interested in playing volleyball and all of our sports as a whole. We didn't want to limit participation opportunities in other high school activities.

Q: What about club volleyball and high school volleyball now sharing a season?

Wiggins Yuma volleyball

(Dustin Price/dustinpricephotography.com)

Brookens: It's unfortunate that the main club volleyball season overlaps with Season C. Colorado state law, and our bylaws, allow students to participate in both a high school season and a club season concurrently, with permission from their principal.

With that being said, realistically, it may be tough for some players to do both. I know that club coaches and high school coaches have high expectations for their players, and they should. I do not view us as in competition with club volleyball.

Families and student-athletes may ultimately have to make a choice and a decision that is best for them. We are in the midst of a pandemic, and things are not going to be normal, or fair. We are living through challenging times.

If athletes choose to play club instead of high school this year, we understand their decision. At the same time, this may open up other opportunities for high school student-athletes who may not have had an opportunity to participate for the high school team otherwise.

CHSAA is an organization for all student-participants, not only the high-profile players who may have college opportunities after they graduate.