MHSAA Participation Remains Above State Enrollment Downturn

The Michigan High School Athletic Association recently announced its participation numbers for the 2016-17 school year, with three of the 28 sports with postseason tournaments setting participation records.

Although enrollment for member high schools declined once again in 2016-17, the MHSAA saw a total of 283,397 participants in organization-sponsored sports, which is down 0.29 percent from the 2015-16 school year. Enrollment for high schools throughout the state decreased by 0.40 percent this past year.

Despite a drop in enrollment for girls of 0.60 percent, girls participation rose for a second consecutive year to 119,709 students, which is an increase of 0.36 percent. Boys overall enrollment dropped 0.21 percent and saw participation fall 0.76 percent to 163,688 students.

Boys and girls skiing saw the biggest percentage increases last school year, with 837 boys (up 16.4 percent) and 746 girls (up 14.4 percent). Boys and girls lacrosse also had increases in participation, with 5,114 boys (up 3.3 percent) and 2,814 girls (up 1.4 percent) participating.

Girls basketball ended a 10-year participation decline with an increase of 2.2 percent in 2016-17, with 15,896 participants marking the most since 2013-14.

Other sports that saw increases were girls golf, which increased 2.9 percent to 3,651 students; boys hockey, up 1.8 percent to 3,411; boys soccer up 0.38 percent to 14,630; swimming and diving up 5.2 percent for boys and 4.1 for girls; track and field up 2.4 percent for girls and 1.9 for boys; girls and boys cross country both up 1.0 percent; and tennis for girls at 2.8 percent and boys at 0.48. The increase for boys tennis was the first in seven years.

Football saw a decline of 1,805 participants, or 4.6 percent from 2015-16. There were 15 fewer 11-player programs in 2016-17, but 13 more 8-player programs and 640 total programs between 11-player and 8-player.

Participation figures are gathered annually by the MHSAA from member schools and submitted to the National Federation of State High School Associations for compiling a national participation survey. 

Categories: Cross Country, Football, Girls Basketball, Lacrosse, Track & Field