Lacrosse remains fastest growing high school sport
This is the seventh year of Coach & Athletic Director’s survey of high school athletic administrators. The results help us develop and our editorial vision, while offering readers a glimpse at the opportunities and challenges in prep sports.
When we first commissioned our survey in 2011, athletic departments were struggling. Drastic cuts to public school budgets forced athletic directors to drop many programs, and fewer teachers showed interest in coaching. During the last two years, our survey showed signs of improvement as athletic budgets began to rebound.This year’s survey continues that trend, with roughly one in five schools reporting increases in their athletic budgets. More schools are planning capital projects, but fundraising remains a critical component of athletic departments everywhere.
Part of our annual survey focuses on the major concerns of high school athletic directors. Finding qualified coaches remains the No. 1 headache for administrators, but new challenges like competition from club sports has climbed the list.
Lacrosse leads new sports
When it comes to new sports offered by high schools, lacrosse again leads the way.
This is the sixth consecutive year lacrosse has topped the list of our most added high school sports, though the trend is slowing. Last year, 30 percent of athletic directors said they anticipated adding boys or girls lacrosse to their programs. Golf and bowling came in at third and fourth, respectively.
According to the National Federation of State High School Association’s latest participation survey, lacrosse is the 10th most popular girls sport. Participation in girls and boys lacrosse grew nationwide by more than 7,700 athletes over the last year.
Thought they didn’t rank among the most added sports, athletic directors also planned to add some more unique sports to their offerings, including trap shooting, beach volleyball and fencing.