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11-man high school football participation declines by more than 25000 nationally – Los Angeles Times

The National Federation of State High School Assns. released its annual sports survey Monday with the headline, “High school sports participation increases for the 28th straight year, nears 8 million mark.”

Buried in the news release, however, was the fact that 25,901 fewer students played 11-player football in 2016-17. The overall drop was 25,503. That continues with a trend from a decline in youth football participation. The overall participation is 1,086,748 students playing football, No. 1 among all sports.

“While we are concerned when any sport experiences a decline in participation, the numbers do not substantiate that schools are dropping the sport of football,” according to Bob Gardner, federation executive director, in a comment from the news release.

The federation says there were an additional 52 schools offering 11-player football, from 14,047 to 14,099.

With competitive cheer being offered, girls’ participation had its largest one-year increase in 16 years.  The increase was 75,971 to 3,400,297.

The total number of high school sports participants nationally in 2016-17 was 7,963,535, an all-time high.

In boys’ sports, soccer had the largest increase, with 9,912.

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