NC excessive colleges report sharp drop in sports activities participation amid pandemic
Raleigh, NC – College sports participation appears to have been severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic, based on the results of a HighSchoolOT survey of sports directors at member schools of the NC High School Athletic Association.
Last week, HighSchoolOT sent out a participation poll of athletic directors at all 421 NCHSAA member schools. A total of 265 sporting directors, or around 63%, took part in the survey. The results provide an insightful look at participation trends across the country.
According to the survey, 73.2% of NCHSAA member schools saw a decrease in participation in sports in the 2020-2021 school year. The effects were felt most strongly in younger athletes, with 66% of schools reporting having stopped at least one junior varsity sport due to a lack of participation. Almost a quarter of schools – 24.2% – are not that high, but they do say they drop at least one university sport due to a lack of participation.
Every sport was influenced, but some scored a bigger hit than others. Girls’ basketball has lost more teams than any other sport; This year, a total of 109 girls’ basketball teams were eliminated – 13 varsity teams and 96 junior varsity teams. Boys’ football finished second with 83 teams including 67 junior college teams. Football took third place with 53 teams, including 49 junior university teams.
All sports were influenced differently. So far this school year, the NCHSAA schools have started regular playing times in volleyball, girls’ basketball, boys’ basketball, boys’ soccer, boys’ lacrosse, girls’ lacrosse and soccer. In five of the seven sports, more than half of the schools report a decline in participation.
Of the sports that started in the regular season so far, volleyball has seen fewer declines than any other sport. 30% of schools that participated in the HighSchoolOT survey said participation in volleyball has decreased. Boys’ lacrosse saw the biggest drop, with 74% of schools reporting a drop in the sport.
Lacrosse, usually a spring sport, has been postponed to January on the calendar. When that decision was made last summer, lacrosse coaches highlighted participation concerns as an issue as boys lacrosse would overlap with soccer. The two sports are shared by many athletes and do not overlap in normal years. The NC Lacrosse Coaches Association sent a letter to the board of directors of the NCHSAA asking them to reschedule lacrosse later that spring, but the request was denied.
While the total number of teams dropped for girls and boys lacrosse isn’t as high as some other sports, the percentage is high as fewer schools offer the two sports. 54 schools typically surveyed field girl lacrosse teams, and 24 canceled either girl or junior girl lacrosse teams. 59% report a decrease in girls’ participation in lacrosse. For boys lacrosse, 65 respondents typically offer the sport, and 34 schools have dropped out of either boys or junior boys lacrosse.
In the HighSchoolOT survey, several sporting directors pointed to the overlap between lacrosse and soccer as a cause of part of the decline in participation in these two sports.
Another cause for concern is the fact that participation in college sports in North Carolina declined for a few years before declining slightly in the 2018-2019 school year. Nationwide, participation in university sports decreased for the first time in three decades in the period 2018-2019.
The 2018-2019 school year is the last year that participation dates were made available. The National Federation of State High School Associations, which publishes an annual report on college sports participation, confirmed to HighSchoolOT that it will not release data for the 2019-2020 school year as it is incomplete due to the impact of the pandemic. HighSchoolOT reached out to the NCHSAA to inquire about data available from the 2019-2020 school but have not received a response. The NFHS added that data from the 2020-2021 school year may also not be available.
In view of the trend towards the coronavirus pandemic, the consistently noticeable decline in participation in the 2020-2021 school year triggers alarm bells for the future of university sports. The decline isn’t limited to small or large schools, Eastern or Western schools, or even schools that didn’t offer face-to-face learning in the fall semester. There is a clear trend towards a decline in attendance in schools of all sizes, in all locations, and with all types of learning.
According to the data collected by HighSchoolOT, 3A schools saw the largest decline, with 83% of schools seeing a decline in participation, while 1A schools saw the smallest (but still significant) decline, with 63% of schools seeing a decrease in participation .
In the survey, sports directors were asked whether their school offered students in the first semester personal learning opportunities. According to the responses, 70.5% of schools that offered some face-to-face learning in the first semester still saw a decline in participation in sports. In 79.5% of schools that did not offer personal learning in the first semester, the number of participants fell.
Nor was there much difference in the decline in participation between traditional public schools and charter schools. 70.8% of charter schools reported a decrease in attendance, compared to 74.1% of traditional public schools.
Most sports have yet to be played. Boys & girls’ golf, boys’ tennis, girls’ soccer and softball are scheduled to begin regular season exercises on March 1st. Baseball, girls tennis, boys & girls outdoor track, and wrestling begin training on April 12th. What Sports Directors See With participation, they are now worried about the rest of the school year.
“It’s like a goddamn show,” replied one sports director in the poll.
“In the 10 years that I have been here, the fewest children have played different sports,” said another.
“I am concerned about the participation rates in all of our sports,” replied another sporting director. “I think the number of participants in our school will continue to decrease.”
Concerns are widespread among sports directors. 72.1% of sports directors who responded to our survey said they were very concerned or slightly concerned about attending their high schools for the remainder of the school year. 69.4% said they were very worried or somewhat worried about attending their high schools about the 2020-2021 school year.
More than half – 56.2% – of the sporting directors we surveyed said they were very or slightly concerned about future programs or teams having to be folded due to a lack of participation.
The news wasn’t bad for every school. About 24% of sports directors say attendance at their school has remained constant compared to previous years, while 2% say attendance has actually increased this year.
“We believe our number has increased because students have a desire for normalcy since we haven’t had personal study,” said a sports director.
A few sports directors said their interest in students remains unchanged, but they are the size of some teams – such as. B. Cross Country – Reduced due to NCHSAA restrictions on how many athletes can compete at the same time during the pandemic.
This is the first of several reports HighSchoolOT will have of college sports participation during the coronavirus pandemic. Look in the future for more reports and data from the survey of the NCHSAA sporting directors.
Who took part in this survey?
Here is a breakdown of the people who responded to the survey to participate in HighSchoolOT Sports. The respondents had the option to indicate their identity or to remain anonymous. The poll was emailed to the NCHSAA sports directors.
Breakdown of the classification
- 1A: 70 (26.4%)
- 2A: 70 (26.4%)
- 3A: 71 (26.8%)
- 4A: 54 (20.4%)
- East: 137 (51.7%)
- West: 128 (48.3%)
- Traditional audience: 240 (90.6%)
- Charter: 24 (9.1%)
- Parochial: 1 (0.4%)