Competitive cheer — thanks to a new law signed by Gov. Brown — could be offered as a sport at Manteca Unified high schools starting in the fall of 2017.
Whether it happens, however, is up to what the individual Manteca, East Union, Sierra, Lathrop, and Weston Ranch high schools want to offer and whether the Valley Oak League — or another nearby league — incorporates it into their line-up.
Manteca Unified School District Superintendent Jason Messer did indicate that there have been discussions about possibly adding boys’ volleyball as a sport.
“We’ve had requests from boys who play volleyball in the MUST league (Manteca Unified Student Trust seventh and eighth grade play between district elementary schools) about offering it at the high school level,” Messer said.
The problem, however, is the VOL doesn’t currently offer boys volleyball.
If the VOL doesn’t add it as an offering or there aren’t nearby leagues that Manteca Unified schools could join, Messer said one option could be creating an intra-district league similar to MUST of only Sierra, Lathrop, East Union, Weston Ranch, and Manteca teams or offering it as an intramural after school league at individual district campuses.
The Sac-Joaquin Section — that includes the VOL — does have boys’ volleyball playoffs to determine section champions. Almost all of the teams, however, compete in leagues in the Sacramento area.
Manteca schools — if the individual campuses decided to pursue boys’ volleyball as a California Interscholastic Sport — could seek to join other area leagues that offer it or join forces with another league to start a volleyball league. The VOL, as an example, offers water polo but Manteca, Sierra, East Union, Lathrop, and Weston Ranch do not. The VOL, in their places, has allowed Ripon, Sonora and Bret Harte to join with Central Catholic, Kimball, and Oakdale.
Messer noted that Manteca Unified complies with Title IX requirements and federal audits indicate that is the case. He noted auditors even check to make sure girls get coverage in media that circulates within a school district’s attendance area and that it isn’t simply boys’ teams being covered. He noted in Manteca Unified’s case that audit covered the Bulletin, The Record, and The Bee. Messer said auditors found no issues. He didn’t know if they had what remedies the government would require.
Messer noted that girls have been wrestling on boys’ teams and that as it gained in popularity over the years a wrestling team specifically for girls has been created at some schools.
“Girls can also go out for football,” Messer said.
Most that have in Manteca Unified have been kickers.
At the same time boys have been incorporated as part of cheer squads.
Messer did not know whether Title IX rules would require allowing boys to play on girls’ volleyball teams.
Enforcement of Title IX aimed at equal access in athletics for both boys and girls is bringing about a change this school year.
Out of concern that Friday nights draw the biggest crowd due to it being the end of the school week; the VOL is switching to having girls’ and boys’ varsity basketball teams play Friday nights. The junior varsity boys and girls teams will play Thursday at the opposite site that the varsity games take place.
Instead of switching off Friday with one being for boys’ basketball and the next for girls’ basketball, the VOL opted to have the varsity games take place on the same night. Much of the reasoning was that boys’ basketball tends to have a bigger gate. The gate receipts for football and basketball traditionally helps carry other high school sports expenses for endeavors such as track, baseball, softball, cross country, and such.
Currently plans are for the girls’ varsity to play the early game and the boys’ varsity the late game.