LEXINGTON - For the 2011-2012 schoolyear, participation in high school sports in the Commonwealth ballooned to more than 70,000 students according to data collected from the membership and reported to the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) as part of their annual participation survey.
For the first time, actual participation numbers were determined by school sport rosters as submitted electronically by the membership, versus a triennial survey in past years. This past schoolyear, 40,103 boys and 30,774 girls were part of a high school level team in KHSAA sanctioned sports and sports-activities, compared to 32,886 boys and 18,286 girls in the 1989-90 schoolyear.
Football participation is at an all-time high in the Commonwealth, with 14,042 boys listed on rosters compard to 7,195 in 1989-90. Baseball, basketball, soccer and track all have more than 6,000 boys competing this year. Basketball, soccer, softball, track and volleyball each had more than 5,000 girls competing, with volleyball showing the highest level of participation (6,147 girls).
“I think our schools are really seeing the fruits of their labors with our emphasis on girls sports, and reporting and awareness related to Title IX,” said Tackett. “In 1989-90, we had only basketball with more than 3,000 girls participating and now we have five different sports with more than 5,000 participation slots in each. These opportunities show vast improvement for the girls in our schools but we still have plenty of work to do. I am particularly pleased with the fact that we have more than 6,000 students playing fast pitch softball (1,000 more than slow pitch softball) and more than 5,600 in girls’ soccer, two sports we didn’t have in 1989-90; and volleyball participation has exploded from 70 schools with 780 participants in 1989-90 to 255 schools having 6,147 participants in 2012-13.
“Interscholastic sports is the absolute best opportunity to ensure students stay involved representing their school and maintain better academic and attendance records, all of which are critically important of the academic goals of our Commonwealth.”