Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Decades after Title IX, girls still gaining

The surge in girls participating in sports is old news. In fact, decades old. But now and then it's worth reflecting on how far we've come, thanks largely to the passage of Title IX. I'll do that today, with an assist from the National Federation of State High School Associations, which recently released new stats on girls and boys playing prep sports.

In 1972, the year Title IX took effect, boys playing high school sports outnumbered girls by 12 to 1. Twenty years later, the edge had shrunk to fewer than three boys for every girl. The 2007-2008 stats from the NFHS show girls comprising about 42 per cent of high school athletes.

More from the NFHS's recent stat package:

-Most popular sports among high school girls (by number of participants): Basketball, track and field, volleyball, softball and soccer.

-Girls sports that gained the most players last year: Competitive spirit squads, soccer and cross country.

-Number of consecutive years that the number of girls playing prep sports has risen: 20.

And a barely relevant, if quirky, footnote. There are two states that boast more girls playing soccer than boys. Congrats to the ladies from Florida and Hawaii. (Maybe the guys in those warm-weather states are all on the football field).

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