Prep sports participation falls for first time in 30 years

By Kendall Baker, Axios Sports

Participation in high school sports dropped in 2018-19 for the first time in 30 years, according to an annual survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations.

By the numbers: The 2018-19 total of 7,937,491 participants was a decline of 43,395 from the year prior, when the number of high school athletes reached a record high of 7,980,886.

  • All eyes on football: Participation in 11-man football declined for the fifth straight year and reached its lowest mark (1,006,013 participants) since 1999-2000. On the flip side, participation in boys six-, eight- and nine-player football is up, and girls 11-player football has doubled over the past 10 years.
  • Big winners this decade: Since 2012, boys and girls lacrosse is up 19%, boys soccer is up 9% and volleyball has seen growth for both genders (up 26% for boys and 8% for girls).

    Wrestling (51 States with Boys) 10,843 Boys Schools  247,441 Participants
    (43 States with Girls), 2,890 Girls Schools  21,124 Participants 268,565 Combined (Boys and Girls)

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