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Volleyball club sets record for interested participants

Concordia men’s club volleyball has its largest turnout in over five years with 25 interested participants, prompting many to begin asking when men’s volleyball will become a school-sanctioned sport at Concordia.

Athletic Director Rich Glas is interested in adding men’s volleyball, among other sports, to the college’s athletic department. According to Glas, a survey will be coming out soon asking incoming and current students what sports they would like to see added to Concordia athletics.

“After figuring out which sport the students want at the school, we must find out how it is possible to bring that sport to the school,” Glas said.

One of the hurdles preventing the creation of a new sport is Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972. Title IX says, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in … any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

This law applies to not just the world of academia but college athletics as well.

This means a college or university must have an athletic program that is proportionally balanced between men’s and women’s sports. With the creation of a men’s athletic team, a women’s athletic team must be created to balance out the equation.

Although Title IX presents difficulties, Glas was quick to note that it is not the only obstacle to sanctioning a new sport.

Like other club sports that are trying to become sanctioned sports, men’s volleyball must have enough MIAC teams to have a competitive conference and season.

According to Antonio Burks, president of men’s volleyball club, the MIAC is already thriving in the world of men’s volleyball. Although the MIAC doesn’t have a men’s volleyball conference, nearly every school in the MIAC has a men’s club volleyball team.

“Our conference [Northern Intercollegiate Volleyball Conference] has about 32 teams in it,” Burks said. “It is very competitive and we take pride in that. Just about every MIAC school has a team. Some are better than others.”

Junior outside hitter Adam Fordahl was ecstatic at the thought of men’s volleyball becoming an official school sport.

“I do think our team could handle the competition that comes with being a real, sanctioned sport,” said Fordahl. “For practicing only twice a week, I think we are doing pretty well.”

The challenge for Burks and fellow teammates now is whether they can garner enough attention to have students vote for men’s volleyball to become a sport and to attract more potential players to the team. Burks hopes to raise awareness of the club through on-campus advertisement.

The team is planning to host a home tournament at Concordia. This would give students a front row seat to see the club in action and see what men’s volleyball is like at Concordia.

With 25 players on this year’s roster, Burks hopes to create an environment that is attractive to prospective students but also takes seriously the the work involved.

“We expect everyone to honor their commitment and work as hard as possible,” Burks said. “This year we will compete in six tournaments. Five of the six we will travel three hours plus.”

With a growing commitment level, the next step for the club is to push for recognition. Having the school sanction the sport would be a tremendous step forward for the club, Burks said.

“I think it’s a great time to jump on the wagon and push our sport to the forefront,” Burks said.

It is important to note that men’s volleyball is not the only sport being considered by the athletic department. Men’s swimming and women’s lacrosse are also under review as possible future additions to Concordia’s athletic department.

This article was submitted by Matthew Engum, contributing writer.

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