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 girlssnowboarding 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.

Posted in: Sports - General


# Jon
Tuesday, August 18, 2009 8:37 PM
Sure, those may be the "cool" sports, but they also seem like they go against the concept of "school-centered opportunities with maximum bang for the buck," as most of them would require significant costs to use an already-limited number of facilities, especially for snowboarding and figure skating.

On the other hand, there are already growing numbers of schools participating in TEAM sports that have already developed their own statewide infrastructures... rugby for boys and field hockey for girls come to mind immediately (full disclosure -- I'm a field hockey parent). Large team participation, lower equipment costs -- that sounds more like "bang for the buck" to me.
Steve Jacks
# Steve Jacks
Thursday, August 20, 2009 11:29 AM
Has anyone every actually seen an archer? I wonder how that showed up on both boy's and girl's lists.

I am not also big on weightlifting. My guess is that w'lifters already play one of the "contact" sports (FB, Lacrosse, maybe Hoops), and will not bring any different athletes into athletics.

Did they ask about ice hockey for girls? Technically, that is not an MHSAA championship sport. If MHSAA added that, would more schools pick it up?

I disagree with field-hockey-Jon in one aspect. Much of the time, "bang for buck" is maximized by adding an individual sport, instead of a team sport. You get more cost-effectiveness by adding tennis or track. This is because the team can participate in multi-school meets instead of two-team single matchups. (The proviso is that you need the facility in place; you either have a tennis court, or track, or swimming pool, or you don't.)
# bbsnow6@comcast.net
Friday, August 21, 2009 8:39 AM
I'm surprised that boys volleyball didn't emerge as a future sport. On the other hand, we're not in California where everyone plays on the beach. I think other states have boys VB among their choices, but what season would be suitable if it became a reality?
# phil
Saturday, November 28, 2009 12:29 PM
I think Michigan should invest in boys volleyball. So many other states have it already and it would be the most reasonable choice.

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