High School Participation at the State Level

The National Wrestling Coaches Association's Blue Ribbon Task Force is looking at an alarming trend in high school boys wrestling: the five year decline in nationwide participation as reported by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). Relevant to this effort is a look at the state-by-state participation numbers from 2010/11 (peak nationwide participation) to 2015/16 (last year of available data). Here is the state-level data:

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The decline over the last five years seems widespread with the notable exception of Texas. Indeed, of the twenty-two states having more than 5,000 participants in 2010/11, only Texas experienced growth through 2015/16. The six largest states in 2010/11 -- California, Illinois, New York, Ohio, Michigan and North Carolina -- all experienced a decline relative to 2015/16.

Also, nine states lost more than one thousand wrestlers representing 14-20% of the total baseline participation in these states.

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Taken together, these nine states lost roughly 18,500 wrestlers during the period.

If the NFHS data is correct and I've done the aggregations properly (!), then perhaps focusing on these nine states would be a good start for the Blue Ribbon Task Force?

Also, what is up with Texas? With a regrettable mixed metaphor for you Boise stalwarts, in high school wrestling Texas is hitting the ball out of the park!



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