Softball
FootballHelment

  SEARCH

Advanced Search

NFHS Coaching Today
Ultimate Highschool Buyers Guide
Print

High School Sports Participation Increases for 20th Consecutive Year

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Bruce Howard or John Gillis

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (September 15, 2009) — Despite cutbacks in funding in many high schools across the country, participation in high school sports has never been higher — increasing for the 20th consecutive year and establishing records for both girls and boys participants.  

Based on figures from the 50 state high school athletic/activity associations, plus the District of Columbia, that are members of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), participation for the 2008-09 school year set an all-time high of 7,536,753, according to the 2008-09 High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the NFHS.

In addition, boys and girls participation figures reached all-time highs, with 3,114,091 girls and 4,422,662 boys participating in 2008-09. The girls figure increased by 56,825 this year, while the boys figure increased by 50,547.

Based on the survey, it was also determined that 55.2 percent of students enrolled in high schools participate in athletics – a slight increase from last year’s 54.8 percent. 

“Given the state of the economy, this year’s survey makes a great statement about the interest in high school sports in our nation’s schools,” said NFHS Executive Director Robert F. Kanaby. “The record participation levels for boys and girls reflect the fact that participation in high school sports is of great value to our nation’s young people. Also, the survey’s results support the NFHS 2008-2011 Strategic Plan, in which the organization vowed to provide stronger leadership and support for high school athletics and fine arts activities.” 

In addition to its chief task of writing playing rules for high school sports, the NFHS — through its “Take Part, Get Set for Life™” initiative — is striving to promote participation and gain awareness and support from state and local governments, media, corporate partners, and especially students and their parents.

Swimming and diving gained the most combined participants in 2008-09, with an increase of 29,967, followed by outdoor track and field with 19,396 and cross country with an additional 18,193 participants.  Lacrosse, one of the emerging sports in recent years, had an additional 9,579 participants in 2008-09.

With an increase of 4,017 participants, 11-player football again was No. 1 for boys this year with 1,112,303 participants, followed by track and field (558,007), basketball (545,145), baseball (473,184), soccer (383,824), wrestling (267,378), cross country (231,452), tennis (157,165), golf (157,062) and swimming and diving (130,182).

Outdoor track and field supplanted basketball as the most popular girls sport with 457,732 participants.  Basketball was in second place with 444,809 participants, followed by volleyball (404,243), fast pitch softball (368,921), soccer (344,534), cross country (198,199), tennis (177,593), swimming and diving (158,878), competitive spirit squads (117,793) and golf (69,223).

Texas remained the state with the most participants with a combined total of 781,000. California was second with 771,465 participants, followed by New York (380,870), Illinois (341,763), Ohio (330,056), Pennsylvania (321,324), Michigan (311,277), New Jersey (257,798), Florida (242,356) and Minnesota (242,220). 

The participation survey has been compiled since 1971 by the NFHS through numbers it receives from its member associations.  The complete 2008-09 Participation Survey is available on the NFHS Web site <www.nfhs.org>. 

 

 TEN MOST POPULAR BOYS PROGRAMS

 

Schools

1. Basketball

2. Track and Field – Outdoor

3. Baseball

4. Football – 11-player

5. Cross Country

6. Golf

7. Soccer

8. Wrestling

9. Tennis

10. Swimming and Diving

 

17,869

15,936

15,699

14,105

13,647

13,543

11,139

10,254

9,499

6,556

Participants

1. Football – 11-player

2. Track and Field – Outdoor

3. Basketball

4. Baseball

5. Soccer

6. Wrestling

7. Cross Country

8. Tennis

9. Golf

10. Swimming and Diving

 

1,112,303

558,007

545,145

473,184

383,824

267,378

231,452

157,165

157,062

130,182

 

TEN MOST POPULAR GIRLS PROGRAMS

 

Schools

1. Basketball

2. Track and Field – Outdoor

3. Softball – Fast Pitch

4. Volleyball

5. Cross Country

6. Soccer

7. Tennis

8. Golf

9. Swimming and Diving

10. Competitive Spirit Squads

 

17,582

15,864

15,172

15,069

13,457

10,548

9,693

9,344

6,902

4,748

Participants

1. Track and Field – Outdoor

2. Basketball

3. Volleyball

4. Softball – Fast Pitch

5. Soccer

6. Cross Country

7. Tennis

8. Swimming and Diving

9. Competitive Spirit Squads

10. Golf

 

457,732

444,809

404,243

368,921

344,534

198,199

177,593

158,878

117,793

69,223

  

See Also: News;
team snap

Copyright ©2011 National Federation of State High School Associations. All Rights Reserved.

National Federation of State High School Associations
PO Box 690 • Indianapolis, IN 46206 • PHONE: 317.972.6900 • FAX: 317.822.5700

  

  Hall Of FameiHoopsLogo2     NIAAA   Let's Move In School