High School Sports Participation Increases For 24th Consecutive Year

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Participation in high school sports increased for the 24th consecutive year in 2012-13 and passed the 7.7 million mark for the first time, according to the annual High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations. 

Based on figures from the 51 NFHS-member state high school associations, which includes the District of Columbia, sports participation for the 2012-13 school year reached an all-time high of 7,713,577 participants – an increase of 21,057 from the previous year.

An additional 15,190 girls participated in high school sports last year, moving the girls all-time record to 3,222,723 and marking the 24th consecutive year for an increase in the number of female participants. After its first decrease in 20 years last year, boys participation started on the upswing again with an additional 5,867 participants. The boys total of 4,490,854 is second all-time to the 4,494,406 in 2010-11. 

“While we recognize that many schools are experiencing challenges with funding high school sports programs, we are encouraged that schools are responding to the challenges and that more and more students are involved in high school sports,” said Bob Gardner, NFHS executive director. “Playing sports within the school setting continues to be the desire of more than 55 percent of students enrolled in our nation’s high schools.”

Eight of the top 10 girls sports registered increases in participation in 2012-13, led by competitive spirit squads (8,201), outdoor track and field (4,172), and swimming and diving (3,536). Lacrosse, cross country, volleyball, soccer and tennis also had additional female participants, while basketball and fast-pitch softball had minor declines. 

Five of the top 10 boys sports showed increases in participation, led by outdoor track and field (5,044), swimming and diving (4,354), and basketball (3,387). Cross country and baseball also registered gains among top 10 sports. 

Eleven-player football remains the top sport for boys with 1,086,627 participants in 2012-13, although the number of players has decreased slightly each of the past four years, including a drop of 9,366 from 2011-12 to 2012-13. 

In terms of combined participation, track and field, and swimming and diving registered the best overall gains. Track and field had an increase of more than 9,100 participants when combining girls and boys, while swimming and diving was up almost 8,000 participants. 

Girls sports outside the top 10 that recorded increases in participants and could be emerging sports for females are bowling (25,450 participants in 2012-13), ice hockey (9,447), wrestling (8,727) and flag football (7,019). 

A sizeable increase in “adapted sports” participation also contributed to the rise in 2012-13 figures. With seven states offering these programs for students with disabilities in 14 sports, the number of participants rose almost 3,000 to 8,747 (girls and boys combined). 

The top 10 states by participants remained in the same order as last year, with Texas and California topping the list with 798,333 and 777,545, respectively. The remainder of the top 10 was New York (389,475), Illinois (339,944), Ohio (327,919), Pennsylvania (315,492), Michigan (304,438), New Jersey (270,423), Florida (243,397) and Minnesota (230,421). Although only one of the top 10 states registered an increase in participation (New Jersey), overall, 30 states reported higher figures from the previous year.   

The participation survey has been compiled since 1971 by the NFHS through numbers it receives from its member associations. The complete 2012-13 High School Athletics Participation Survey is attached in PDF format and is available on the NFHS Web site at www.nfhs.org.

Smokies Topple Lookouts Wednesday, 8-4

The Tennessee Smokies dropped the Chattanooga Lookouts Wednesday, 8-4. The Lookouts fell to 26-31 in the second half.  Adam Brett Walker II smacked his record breaking 29th home run in the loss to the Smokies.  Walker's homer set the team's modern era record for home runs in a season, passing Tim Costo (1992) and Scott Schebler (2014) who each had 28.   Walker ... (click for more)

Covenant To Add Track and Field

Covenant College and Director of Athletics Kyle Taylor has announced the addition of Men's and Women's Track and Field as an intercollegiate sport beginning in the 2016-17 academic year. The added programs will bring the total amount of intercollegiate sports offered at Covenant to 15. The programs will be led by current head cross country coach Katie Stanford and compete in ... (click for more)

DA Pinkston Asks City Police To Investigate Fatal Shooting By County Deputies Of Man They Chased Into The City Limits

District Attorney General Neal Pinkston has asked Chattanooga Police to investigate a fatal shooting involving Hamilton County deputies who chased a suspect from Old Lee Highway to Pine Marr Drive inside the city limits. At Pine Mar, the suspect crashed and shots were fired resulting in the suspect’s death.  DA Pinkston said he would have no further comment. Pine ... (click for more)

DISH And Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. Finalizing Long-Term Deal; Stations To Be Restored

DISH Network L.L.C. and Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. have reached an agreement in principle that will form the basis of a long-term retransmission consent agreement for carriage of Sinclair’s local channels in 79 markets nationwide. Restoration of Sinclair signals to DISH’s system is underway. “We are grateful for the FCC’s work on behalf of consumers to actively broker ... (click for more)

The Obvious In School Test Scores - And Response (3)

I have been watching what has become an annual event in Chattanooga, which is the hand wringing and blame game associated with low test scores in our schools.  I keep waiting for someone to bring up what should be obvious unless they either don't want to talk about it or think they shouldn't because it might not be politically correct.   1) The highest school test scores ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Her Heart Will Go On

Tonight’s a big night in Las Vegas, one of the biggest in quite a while. Celine Dion, truly one of the most magnificent singers of our time, will return to the stage of the Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace after a year’s absence and, if you dare think you can get a seat, it has been sold out for months. Of course, they say in Vegas you can buy anything, but tonight is one of the toughest ... (click for more)