Sports participation drops againPublished 8:52am Wednesday, September 30, 2009
EAST LANSING – For the second straight year, Michigan slipped one spot nationally in high school sports participation according to figures released recently by the National Federation of State High School Associations for the 2008-09 school year.
Girls participation in Michigan ranked fifth nationally last year, moving up one rung on the charts. Prior to the 2007-08 school year, girls participation had ranked fourth for four consecutive years. Overall participation for the 2008-09 year was 311, 277, with 129,635 girls and 181,642 boys taking part.
The overall number is seventh nationally, and the boys figure ranks sixth. According to 2008 U.S. Census Bureau figures, Michigan continues to rank eighth in both females and males of ages 14 through 17.
Two girls sports – skiing and tennis, were ranked third nationally in 2008-09, with the tennis placement up from fourth the previous year. Girls competitive cheer moved up from sixth to fourth; and basketball went from fifth to fourth. Girls bowling and volleyball also rank fourth, as they did in 2007-08. Golf held onto fifth place; cross country slipped one spot to sixth; track & field was down a tick to seventh, where it joined softball, which held its ground. Lacrosse surged to eighth place after being 11th a year ago. Soccer and swimming & diving each tumbled three places – soccer to eighth and swimming & diving to ninth, and gymnastics was up one spot at 11th.
Bowling participation for boys jumped back up to second place nationally after being third in 2007-08, and holding onto their third place slots were ice hockey and skiing. Tennis dropped one position to fifth place, while basketball, football, track and field, and wrestling stayed fifth.
Golf maintained its sixth-place position, but cross country slipped from that spot in 2007-08 to seventh last year. Baseball was seventh for the second straight year.
In eighth place nationally were lacrosse, which was seventh a year ago; and soccer, which was unchanged. Swimming and diving fell for the second straight year and was ninth in 2008-09.
National participation in high school sports in 2008-09 was up to 7,536,753, again setting a new record. Nationally, 55.2 percent of high school students participate in sports, up from 54.8 percent a year ago; and in Michigan, that figure is 59.4 percent, an increase of 0.3 percent from a year ago.