Athletic participation reaches record numbers again
Participation in high school sports took place in record numbers at Michigan High School Athletic Association member schools across the state for the fourth straight year in 2002-03.
There was a total of 294,012 participants in sports in which the Association sponsors post-season tournaments during the past school year, topping last year's mark of 287,795.
Among the student-athletes, a record 124,393 female participants took part, up from 119,195 last year and the 2000-01 record of 119,586; and boys participation also hit a new high of 169,619, up from the old record of 168,600 last year.
The totals count students once for each sport in which he or she participates, meaning students who are multiple-sport athletes are counted more than once. The participation figures in MHSAA tournament sports for girls are up 19 percent since the 1994-95 school year. Boys are up nine percent over the same time period.
Volleyball continues to be the most popular sport for girls, with 21,678 participants in 2002-03, up from the 2000-01 record of 21,572. Girls sports hitting their all-time highs in participation last year were basketball, competitive cheer, golf, soccer, softball and tennis.
The most popular boys sport continues to be football, with last year's 44,480 participants an all-time high for the third straight year. Other boys sports hitting new participation highs last year were ice hockey, soccer, and tennis.
The participation figures are gathered annually from MHSAA member schools to submit to the National Federation of State High School Associations for compiling its national participation survey. The results of the survey from the 2000-01 school year on may be viewed on the NFHS Web Site – www.nfhs.org. Nationwide results for 2002-03 will be available later this summer.