The MHSAA’s John Johnson is the best communications director in the country among high school associations; and he is at his best in making lemonade out of lemons in his July 13, 2010 press release on 2009-10 sports participation figures. (Click here for Sports Participation Release)
John leads with the good news that participation in MHSAA tournament sports topped 300,000 for the sixth consecutive year; and that while enrollments of MHSAA member schools dropped 2.7 percent for the past year, participation slipped only 0.8 percent.
He notes that records for participation were set in boys and girls bowling, cross country and lacrosse, as well as boys swimming & diving.
Buried in the release are more sobering stats:
- During the past two years, overall participation among MHSAA member schools has declined 3.6 percent – 3.1 percent for boys and 4.3 percent for girls – while enrollments in those schools have declined 4.1 percent for each gender.
- Girls volleyball participation saw a 2.9 percent drop in 2009-10, the lowest it has been since the 1995-96 school year. Since the 2006-07 survey, volleyball participation has dropped 6.3 percent.
- Boys tennis slipped to its lowest participation total since 1997-98. Its losses since 2006-07 are the highest in terms of percentage of any sport, at 14.4 percent. By comparison, girls tennis participation is up 1.7 percent in the same time period.
- Girls golf figures dropped 6.9 percent during the past school year, and the sport is down by that same number – 6.9 percent – since 2006-07. Boys golf was down 1.4 percent in participation in 2009-10 and is off 2.3 percent since 2006-07.
- After stable participation numbers from 2007-08 to 2008-09, basketball figures dropped 2.9 percent for boys and 3.3 percent for girls in 2009-10, hitting the lowest point for both since the Association began tracking the numbers in 1991-92. Since the 2006-07 survey, girls participation is down 8.2 percent and the boys number is down 6.4 percent.