In any successful enterprise, some time will be devoted to trying to learn what the customer wants. In school sports, there are many diverse customers, but none more important than the student-athlete. During the period 1998 to 2008, the MHSAA conducted three surveys of 7th, 8th and 9th-graders to try to assess the sports participation interests of the next wave of students to our high schools. Among the more obvious observations from the most recent survey results are these:
For boys (both 9th-graders in high schools and 7th and 8th-graders of junior high/middle schools): archery continues to receive the highest interest among non-MHSAA tournament sports; snowboarding is now second among non-MHSAA tournament sports; weightlifting is third.
For girls: snowboarding is the non-MHSAA tournament sport of greatest interest, and figure skating and archery follow (in opposite order for 9th graders versus 7th and 8th graders).
Many factors in addition to student opinion must go into determining what sports will be added or subtracted from local high schools, not the least of which are avoiding duplication of community sports programs and providing new school-centered opportunities with maximum bang for the buck, that is, for the largest numbers of students at the lowest costs.
For 2008-09 high school sports participation numbers click here.