For the 2011-2012 school year, participation in high school sports in the Commonwealth ballooned to more than 70,000 students according to data collected from the membership and reported to the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) as part of their annual participation survey.
For the first time, actual participation numbers were determined by school sport rosters as submitted electronically by the membership, versus a triennial survey in past years. 40,103 boys and 30,774 girls were part of a high school level team in KHSAA sanctioned sports and sport-activities for 2011-12, compared to 32,886 boys and 18,286 girls in the 1989-90 school year.
Football participation is at an all-time high in the Commonwealth, with 14,042 boys listed on rosters compared to 7,195 in 1989-90. Baseball, basketball, soccer and track all have more than 6,000 boys competing this past year, while basketball, soccer, softball, track and volleyball each had more than 5,000 girls competing, with volleyball showing the highest level of participation (6,147 girls).
“I think our schools are really seeing the fruits of their labors with our emphasis on girls sports, and reporting and awareness related to Title IX,” said Tackett. “In 1989-90, we had only basketball with more than 3,000 girls participating, and now we have five different sports with more than 5,000 participation slots in each. These opportunities show vast improvement for the girls in our schools but we still have plenty of work to do. I am particularly pleased with the fact that we have more than 6,000 students playing fast pitch softball (1,000 more than slow pitch softball) and more than 5,600 in girls’ soccer, two sports we didn’t have in 1989-90; and volleyball participation has exploded from 70 schools with 780 participants in 1989-90 to 255 schools having 6,147 participants in 2012-2013.
“Interscholastic sports is the absolute best opportunity to ensure students stay involved representing their school and maintain better academic and attendance records, all of which are critically important to the academic goals of our Commonwealth”
The Dead Period, the annual moratorium on school-sponsored team and individual activity, begins at midnight on Monday, June 25, and runs through 11:59 p.m. on Monday, July 9.
The Dead Period was adopted nearly 20 years ago by member schools in response to concerns about year-round play and practice and parental and coaching desire for some down time from interscholastic play. Member schools adopted the period of June 25 to July 9 as a time of inactivity, which followed the pattern of the historic idling of southern textile mills and this time allows administrators, coaches, student-athletes and their families a time where they are not committed to school play.
According to Article 3 of Bylaw 26 (The Dead Period), it states that:
“Students may not receive coaching or training from school personnel (either salaried or non-salaried) and school facilities, uniforms, nicknames, transportation or equipment shall not be used each year in any KHSAA sanctioned sport or cheerleading squad during the period beginning June 25, and going through July 9. School funds may not be expended in support of interscholastic athletics in any KHSAA sanctioned sport during this period. These restrictions shall not apply to any postseason wrap-up activities, celebrations and recognition events relating to a spring sports team at a school which participated in KHSAA state championship play in that particular sport during that particular year.”