Sports Column: Men’s volleyball is not that popular. What’s the solution?

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Sports Column: Men’s volleyball is not that popular. What’s the solution?

Societies battle for bragging rights throughout the year through grueling sports seasons. The Turkey Bowl and basketball championship games are some of the most heavily attended intramural events of the year.

But things seem to slow down around volleyball season? Why is that?

The volleyball season has just begun, but the sport has one of the lowest participation percentages among men’s teams.

Why does this sport take a backseat to basketball and soccer?

Volleyball’s unpopularity among college age guys is partially due to the lack of opportunities men have to play the sport.

Most American high schools don’t offer men’s volleyball programs. Those  who do have interest in setting and spiking are forced to pay hundreds of dollars to join club teams.

These city teams are not located everywhere. Many cities don’t have volleyball clubs at all.

The same goes for college athletic departments. Collegiate level men’s volleyball programs are even harder to find.

According to Athletic Business, only 22 NCAA Division I schools offer men’s volleyball among their intercollegiate programs.

The lack of serious upper level program opportunities all but eliminates the thought of playing volleyball from the minds of college men.

Volleyball has also fallen into gender steriotypes that keep some men distant.

Many spectators perceive volleyball as “a girl’s sport.” Lanier volleyball captain Nate Schnell said attitudes toward volleyball are often established as early as grade school.

“I think volleyball is often overlooked, especially among guys, because most American Christian schools see volleyball as just a girls sport,” Schnell said.

Christian schools especially are limited in what sports may be offered. Basketball and soccer are usually given priority, followed closely by baseball. Volleyball is placed on the back burner.

If volleyball is ever going to compete with some of the more popular sports on campus, it will first need to be introduced much earlier in young men’s lives.

Volleyball could also use an ambassador to help stimulate interest. Popular sports in America have had “legends” who have lifted the sport into popular culture.

Basketball had Michael Jordan. Baseball had Babe Ruth. Football had John Elway.

There is currently no volleyball Lebron James spiking his way into the hearts of American youth, preventing the game from reaching its full potential among the American powerhouse sports.

Hopefully, the 19 men’s teams competing in this year’s society league will give the effort to make this season one to remember and maybe even elevate the sport to a new level here at BJU.

We’re just hoping to see  some good games and good play by our fellow students.