From all the reports of program reductions, it comes as a surprise to learn that high school sports participation increased during 2010-11 on both the national and state levels.
Based on input from its member associations across the country, the National Federation of State High School Associations reported Aug. 23 that participation in high school sports increased for the 22nd consecutive year, to a record-breaking 7,667,955 participants. Boys reached a record 4,494,406 and girls reached its all-time high of 3,173,549 participants. (For the full report, go to NFHS.org.)
The news from Michigan is also more positive than expected. The total for 2010-11 was 314,354, with 133,147 female participants and 181,207 male. All three numbers are up slightly from the year before.
While Michigan’s high school age population ranks eighth nationally, both its female and male high school sports participation rank sixth. Nationally, 55.5 percent of high school students participate in interscholastic athletics, while it’s over 62 percent in Michigan, an increase of 1.2 percent over 2009-10.
Buried in the good news are the sagging statistics for girls basketball participation in Michigan, whose national ranking has continued to drop since the change to the winter season. Michigan now ranks seventh nationally in high school girls basketball participation – its worst ranking since the NFHS began releasing national participation figures in 1971.