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Football continues to drop in popularity

Published on August 29, 2018 8:21AM

Participation in high school sports was down in Oregon last season, with the number dipping below 100,000 for the first time since 2012-13.

The National Federation of State High School Athletic Associations released its annual nationwide athletics participation report showed that there were 99,907 total participants in Oregon athletics last year — 55,572 boys and 44,335 girls. All three numbers are down from the previous year.

It is a continued trend of fewer boys and more girls participating in athletics; however, as girl participation has risen six percent since the 2009-10 season, boys participation has dropped 7.5 percent.

The most popular sport in the state was football yet again with 12,419 players between the 11-man and 8-man ranks; however, that total is down 17 percent from 15,009 players in 2008. Rounding out the top five for most popular boys sports were track and field (9,526), basketball (7,620), soccer (6,397) and baseball (5,596).

While football’s decline grabs the headlines, baseball and boys golf continued its drop-offs. In baseball, participation has dropped each of the past four seasons, from 6,071 in 2015 to 5,596 this season, and it has dropped 17 percent from 2008 when 6,766 kids played.

Meanwhile, golf’s 2017-18 participation number of 1,464 is down 32 percent from 2008 when 2,162 kids teed off.

Track and field keeps its spot as the most popular girls sport with 7,289 players, which is an 11 percent increase over the past 10 years. Following track is volleyball (7,086), basketball (5,824), soccer (5,398) and softball (4,568).

Soccer was the biggest gainer nationally for boys, with 6,128 more participants last season.


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