Participation in high school sports set another record high in the 2000-01 season, according to a survey by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). Altogether, 6,657,257 students participated in athletics, a 1.5 percent gain over the previous school year. This marked the 12th consecutive year that participation has increased and the third consecutive year that a new record was set.
Both girls and boys increased their participation. The girls reached a record high of 2,746,181 (a 2.3% increase), and the boys posted their fourth-highest total, 3,911,076 (a 1% increase).
The biggest percentage gain of participants in girls' sports was in competitive spirit squads (34.2%), followed distantly by outdoor track and field (2.6%) and volleyball (1.5%). Girls' sports making the biggest gains in number of programs were soccer, golf, and cross country.
Outdoor track and field also did well among the boys, leading all other sports by posting a 2.3 percent increase in participation. The next greatest increase among the boys' sports was in 11-player football (1.0%). Increases in the number of boys' programs partially mirrored those of girls' sports, with soccer and golf leading, but with wrestling making the third greatest gain.
Three sports attracted 52 percent of the total male participation: 11-player football (1,012,420), basketball (539,849), and outdoor track and field (491,822). …