Updated October 2023
This page provides a thoughtful and balanced case for school-sponsored boys volleyball at high schools in Northern Virginia. The message is targeted to school board members, school district officials, including school principals, directors of student activities (DSAs) and other athletics administrators.
The following summarize the benefits of elevating High School Boys Volleyball to a school-sponsored sport.
The popularity of High School Boys Volleyball is increasing rapidly across the county according to the annual participation survey of National Federation of State High School Associations,
56% growth (2011 - 2023) Volleyball is the No. 1 team participatory sport in high school and college for girls, and boys high school volleyball numbers have increased by 40% since 2017, making it the fastest growing high school sport in the country (see https://www.sportico.com/leagues/other-sports/2023/us-volleyball-participation-surging-1234742921/).
22.9 participants per school - Schools are accommodating a large number of interested boys each year
There are several other indicators of strong growth and demand for boys volleyball across the county:
The three boys-only volleyball leagues in Northern Virginia are also experiencing strong growth in popularity.
Steady growth in ES & MS participation - The number of Northern Virginia Boys Volleyball has more than doubled since 2012 with 180 to 200 boys each fall. There is a steady pipeline of boys ready to jump into HS volleyball.
Explosive growth in HS participation - The fall 2023 season of the NoVA HS Boys Volleyball League (NVHSBVL) had a record high 49 teams with more than 500 boys, a whopping 300% increase from just 3 years earlier.
Boys volleyball interest clubs are forming - Boys volleyball interest clubs have been formed at 19 of the 25 traditional FCPS high schools with the rest in the works.
Representation at socio-economically diverse schools - We have representation across the entire slate of schools.
Annandale - No team in 2022. 2 teams and 49 boys registered in 2023.
Falls Church HS - Teams have participated since 2017.
Justice HS - 24 boys registered in 2023.
Lewis HS - 41 boys and 2 teams registered in 2023.
Mt Vernon HS - Teams have participated since 2021.
West Potomac HS - Teams have participated since 2018.
West Springfield HS - 37 boys and 2 teams registered in 2023.
Volleyball provides a high value team experience for boys looking for an alternative activity in the Fall
Opportunity - Provides more boys a chance to play a competitive team sport
Inclusive - Prior experience not required with skills acquired through hands on participation and teamwork
Scalable - Can accommodate 10 to 20 boys per team and multiple teams
Safe - Based on studies, volleyball has a measurably lower concussion rate compared to football
Boys volleyball is a recognized and sanctioned FALL sport by the Virginia High School League (VHSL). It is currently a varsity sport at 73 Virginia high schools in downstate regions with smaller populations than Northern Virginia.
The non-school affiliated Northern Virginia High School Boys Volleyball League (NVHSBVL) includes boys from high schools across Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Arlington County and Alexandria City. As mentioned above, the Fall 2023 season had a record turnout of 49 teams representing local schools and volleyball programs
NVHSBVL Fall 2023 Teams
Several existing entities will provide the support infrastructure to grow and sustain High School Boys Volleyball
With schools already supporting girls volleyball, the start-up cost for High School Boys Volleyball would be comparatively low with fund raising planned to minimize on-going costs.
Fixed Start-Up Costs
Costs After Club Status
Costs After Varsity Status
Below is a possible path to varsity status. The timeline through the final step is expected to take 4 to 6 years.
Step 1 – Club Status
Step 2 – Growth Period
Step 3 – Varsity Status
Proposed Varsity Hurdle: Apply for varsity status once 50% or more of a county’s high schools have sustained boys club teams for 2 or more years.
Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about High School Boys Volleyball.
Q1. How will gyms be shared with girls volleyball?
A1. Schools in Richmond and VA Beach have worked this out with boys practicing before/after girls and boys home matches scheduled on days when girls are playing away. Most NoVA schools already successfully share gyms with girls and boys basketball teams during the winter season, with some utilizing local MS gyms.
Q2. Are there enough coaches for boys teams?
A2. With volleyball coaches already covering 80+ high schools, 200+ club volleyball teams and countless recreational league teams, there is a deep pool of available coaches in Northern Virginia. Advocacy groups such as the NoVA Volleyball Alliance are committed to locating coaches to support boys teams.
Q3. Do Boys Need to Practice 5 Days Per Week?
A3. Not required. Most NVHSBVL teams practice 2 to 3 times per week. This has also benefited boys teams by bringing in volunteer coaches not yet prepared to commit to 5 practices per week.
Q4. What benefit could school club status bring?
A4. With school club status, boys volleyball would be officially recognized as a school activity, gain priority access to school gyms and equipment (after the girls), appear in the school yearbook, and receive varsity letters.
Q5. Will another boys sport violate Title IX?
A5. The current set of sports approved by VHSL has been in place for many years. The high schools in the Richmond and VA Beach areas are running boys volleyball along with all the other approved VHSL sports without Title IX concerns.
Q6. Do boys have to be from the same school?
A6. Currently, the NVHSBVL allows boys from any school to play on any team. After switching to club status, only boys from the school will be allowed on the school’s team. During that period, NVHSBVL will attempt to form non-club teams of boys who do not attend a school with a defined club team.
Q7. Can teams from private schools join?
A7. During the club transition period, private schools can run club teams in the NVHSBVL league. Once varsity, private schools can play in their existing district formats with cross-over matches against public school teams. This is the model currently used in the VA Beach area.
Boys who would like to play on a varsity high school volleyball team in Northern VA can show their support by filling out the Boys Volleyball Interest Form.