Michigan Again 7th for Participation

August 19, 2015

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

For the seventh straight year, Michigan ranked seventh nationally in high school sports participation, according to statistics for the 2014-15 school year released recently by the National Federation of State High School Associations. 

That level of participation continued to best Michigan’s national ranking for total number of residents of high school age, which remained ninth for the third consecutive year, and Michigan also ranked ninth or higher in participation in 25 of 28 sports in which the Michigan High School Athletic Association conducts a postseason tournament.

Michigan’s participation ranking was based on a number of 295,660, with 124,633 girls and 171,027 boys taking part, and included sports in which the MHSAA does not conduct postseason tournaments. The totals count students once for each sport in which he or she participates, meaning students who are multiple-sport athletes are counted more than once.

The state’s girls participation remained seventh nationally for the fourth consecutive year, while the boys participation figure continued to rank sixth. According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau figures from 2014, Michigan ranks ninth in both females and males ages 14 through 17.

Two sports improved in national ranking this school year, while four sports dropped one or two positions. However, 13 sports bested the state’s overall national participation ranking of seventh, placing sixth or higher on their respective lists.

Michigan girls volleyball improved from fifth to fourth in the national participation ranking, and girls track and field from eighth to seventh. The four sports that ranked lower for 2014-15 were boys bowling falling from second to third, girls cross country from fifth to seventh, girls swimming and diving from ninth to 10th and wrestling from seventh to eighth.

The 11 other Michigan sports that ranked sixth or higher repeated their rankings from a year ago: football (11 and 8-player combined) at sixth, boys basketball at sixth, boys golf at sixth, boys ice hockey fourth, boys skiing fourth, boys tennis fifth, girls bowling fourth, girls competitive cheer fifth, girls golf sixth, girls skiing fourth and girls tennis also remaining fourth on its national participation list. 

The other Michigan sports that equaled their 2013-14 national ranking were girls basketball at seventh, gymnastics at 12th, girls lacrosse at 13th, girls soccer at ninth, softball at seventh, baseball at seventh, boys cross country also seventh, boys lacrosse eighth, boys soccer ninth, boys swimming and diving ninth and boys track and field seventh on its list.

National participation in high school sports in 2013-14 set a record for the 26th consecutive year with 7,807,047 participants – an increase of 11,389 from the year before. Girls participation also set a record for the 26th straight year, increasing this time 20,071 participants to 3,287,735 total. Boys participation fell 8,682 participants from 2013-14, but still totaled 4,519,312 after passing 4.5 million for the first time a year ago.

Boys soccer saw the largest gain nationally with an additional 15,150 participants, and that sport ranked fifth among boys sports behind 11-player football, outdoor track and field, basketball and baseball. Football (1,083,617) remained the most-played high school sport overall. Track and field remained the most popular girls sport with 478,726 participants, with volleyball moving ahead of basketball for the second spot in the girls rankings. Soccer and softball followed at fourth and fifth, respectively, on the girls sports list.

MHSAA, MHSFCA to Provide Spring Evaluation Camps for College Football Hopefuls

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

March 27, 2023

The Michigan High School Athletic Association, in partnership with the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA), will be hosting first-ever Spring Evaluation Camps to provide athletes with aspirations of playing college football opportunities to show their skills and abilities to college coaches at one of five locations.

The one-day camps will take place between May 15-18 at Jenison High School, DeWitt High School, Jackson High School, Brighton High School and Detroit Country Day High School. The MHSAA’s involvement will allow for the opportunity for Division I college coaches to attend, and representatives from college football programs at all levels are expected.

Athletes who will be juniors or seniors in Fall 2023 may register to participate via a link on the Football page.

“This is an attempt by the MHSAA to help our athletes get exposure during the spring evaluation period in a way that does not intrude on spring sports,” said Brad Bush, an MHSAA assistant director and past high school and college football coach. “We are working with the MHSFCA to help put together a first-class experience for the athletes and college coaches.”

Cost is $20 per player, and each registrant will receive a shirt to wear based on the athlete’s graduation year and registration number so college coaches in attendance can monitor their camp performance. College coaches also will receive registration information for each athlete in attendance.

All athletes must have a coach from the athlete’s school staff present at the camp, and that coach must be a member of the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association.

MHSFCA executive director Andrew Pratley called the Spring Evaluation Camps a tremendous opportunity for high school athletes in Michigan.

“We are very excited with the partnership with the MHSAA that allows our kids the opportunity to wear a helmet and do drills in front of college coaches in the spring at a minimal cost,” Pratley said. “College coaches are thrilled, and it's a unique opportunity to have the rules waived by the MHSAA at these events only in order to showcase the tremendous talent all over the great state of Michigan.”

The Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA) has been devoted to the promotion of high school football since its inception in March 1972. The MHSFCA has more than 2,500 members and provides several educational and development opportunities for members and their athletes, including an annual coaching clinic, an annual leadership conference for coaches and potential team captains, and the annual summer East-West All-Star Game for graduated seniors. Additionally, the MHSFCA’s Leadership Development Alliance is in its third year of training coaches and offering veteran members of the association as mentors.

The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,500 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract more than 1.3 million spectators each year.