National mark tops 7 million students

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Football had the most participants and had the largest increase among boys sports.

INDIANAPOLIS -- California and New York continued cutting into Texas' huge lead in the number of high school students participating in sports.

Total student participation for all 50 states and the District of Columbia, meanwhile, rose 1.6 percent from 2003-04 to a record 7 million in 2004-05, according to an annual survey by the National Federation of State High School Associations. It was the 16th straight year the NFHS reported an increase in the number of high school athletes.

"The fact the numbers continue to rise confirm to us the interest in school-based athletic programs is still there," NFHS spokesman Bruce Howard said Tuesday. "Certainly, there are some emerging sports that help that, such as bowling and lacrosse, in certain parts of the country. A lot of the routine major sports continue to be pretty steady year to year."

Football again had the most participants and the largest increase among all boys sports. Basketball remained the leading sport for girls, but track and field showed the biggest gain. In terms of percentage increases, bowling and lacrosse had the biggest gains for both boys and girls.

Another emerging sport, mainly in California, Maine and Vermont, is snowboarding.

Texas, with 740,052 participants, is still the national leader but has dropped more than 39,000 since 2000-01, including almost 15,000 in just the past year, according to the NFHS figures. California remains second, with an increase of almost 26,000 to 678,019, and New York is still third at 350,349, an increase of almost 14,000.

Michigan's increase from 302,648 to 311,814 moved it from sixth to fourth. Illinois fell to fifth, Ohio dropped to sixth and Pennsylvania remained seventh. The only other position change among the top 10 states was by Minnesota, which moved ahead of New Jersey into eighth. Florida again was 10th.

Missouri ranked 13th with 167,481 participants, according to information provided by the Missouri State High School Activities Association.

Total participation for boys was 4.1 million, including just over 1 million in football and about 545,000 in basketball. The total for girls was a record 2.9 million, including some 456,000 in basketball and about 428,000 in outdoor track and field.

The Indianapolis-based NFHS represents about 18,000 U.S. high schools and some 13 million students. The participation survey is based on figures supplied by each member state association.

State by state

High school participation in each state in 2004-05:

1. Texas740,052
2. California678,019
3. New York350,349
4. Michigan311,814
5. Illinois310,791
6. Ohio310,585
7. Pennsylvania262,859
8. Minnesota233,070
9. New Jersey228,388
10. Florida219,040
11. Massachusetts205,181
12. Wisconsin189,787
13. Missouri167,481
14. Virginia164,426
15. North Carolina160,330
16. Indiana159,496
17. Georgia151,986
18. Iowa140,333
19 Washington137,888
20. Colorado121,421
21. Arizona102,579
22. Tennessee101,768
23. Connecticut100,715
24. Maryland100,305
25. Kansas99,111
26. Kentucky93,967
27. Oregon92,575
28. Louisiana90,157
29. Alabama86,036
30. Mississippi84,877
31. Nebraska80,228
32. South Carolina79,777
33. Oklahoma74,511
34. Maine55,256
35. New Mexico48,504
36. Utah46,910
37. Arkansas46,315
38. Idaho44,512
39. New Hampshire43,418
40. Nevada38,096
41. Hawaii34,758
42. West Virginia34,571
43. Montana33,338
44. South Dakota28,541
45. North Dakota26,768
46. Rhode Island25,971
47. Vermont24,472
48. Alaska19,357
49. Wyoming17,302
50. Delaware16,631
51. District of Columbia4,087
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