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Wrestling Has More High School Athletes Per College Spot than Any Other NCAA Sport

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It has been many years since I have run the numbers and I thought I should check again. Yep, it is still true; Wrestling has more high school athletes vying for each spot on a NCAA team than any other sport. This is a good point to bring up when colleges are talking about when collage ADs are talking about cutting or expanding sports in their programs and they have the notion in their heads that "wrestling is a dying sport."

 

2013/14               MEN            NFHS:     WOMEN            NFHS:  
                     NFHS      NCAA  NCAA       NFHS      NCAA  NCAA
Baseball/Softball 482,629    32,635  15:1    365,711    18,618  20:1
Basketball        541,054    17,812  30:1    364,297    16,643  22:1
Bowling                                       25,751     1,155  22:1
Fencing             2,189       593   4:1      1,774       625   3:1
Field Hockey                                  61,471     5,670  11:1
Football        1,093,234    69,847  16:1                        
Golf              152,647     8,441  18:1     72,172     4,981  14:1
Gymnastics          1,995       300   7:1     19,231     1,695  11:1
Ice Hockey         35,393     3,832   9:1      9,150     2,009   5:1
Lacrosse          106,720    12,716   8:1     81,969     9,916   8:1
Rifle               2,000       417   5:1      1,168       378   3:1
Rowing              2,544     2,683   1:1      4,242     7,337   1:1
Skiing              9,999       423  24:1      9,404       420  22:1
Soccer            417,419    22,956  18:1    374,564    25,672  15:1
Swim              138,373     9,368  15:1    165,779    11,910  14:1
Tennis            160,545     7,787  21:1    184,080     8,603  21:1
Track/XC          906,518    87,238  10:1    763,132    50,399  15:1
Volleyball         52,149     1,705  31:1    429,634    16,818  26:1
Water Polo         21,451       967  22:1     18,899     1,812  10:1
Wrestling         269,514     6,653  41:1                        
Total           4,396,373   286,373  15:1  2,952,428   184,661  16:1
                                                
Sources: NFHS Participation Report and U.S. Department of Education Equity in Athletics Data Analysis

Edited by ValkyrieWrestling

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Guest ShannonSofield

I like this stat. A nice little vanity metric to share among my friends implying it was harder for me to be a D1 starter than it was for them on the Basketball team. Though, I don't think it shoudl be translated as literally as that; I'm still going to run with it.

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Is that right that there are more college lacrosse players than HS lacrosse players?  

 

 

As for the dying sport thing...I think we are just beginning to tap the potential of our large HS base.  You can call it the flowestling effect, but I think we will continue to see more young fans watch the sport because of flo, twitter, and fb.  They can actually interact with guys like Dake/Taylor/Stieber..That makes them want to watch their matches and become fans..In 10 years they will be adults with $$$ to spend, and hopefully still fans.  

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Billyhoyle, Lacrosse is worse than that. It looks like I only grabbed D1 for men's LAX. There are 12,716 men in all NCAA divisions.

you grabbed the number of high school lax teams instead of participants. there were 106,720 HS laxers in 2014. 

 

http://www.nfhs.org/ParticipationStatics/PDF/2013-14_Participation_Survey_PDF.pdf

 

ratio is about 39.3:1, so actually pretty close to wrestling. 

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I am sure your ratios accurately reflect the real world in that there are say 5 times as many per capita slots for Lacrosse as Wrestling.

 

But the data from some states is somewhat suspect. Texas must be including all JrHi/MidSchool in with HS (they show 60+ on the Average Basketball team and 150 per school for football)

 

Pennsylvania numbers reflect an estimate of the number of 10-12th graders times the number of schools with teams (wrestling 488 teams divided into 9760 participants is exactly 20.00000. - looking at schools with rosters about 20 for 10-12 seems correct).

 

It really shouldn't be that hard. Federation should just get consistent (just 10-12, or 10-12 + 9th on varsity, or all 9th graders on Varsity JV JrHi),get them reported, and add them up.

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RichB - The numbers are likely correct. They call for all high school athletes so this would be any high school kid grades 9-12.

 

Allen High in Texas went undefeated in football this year with 80 athletes on the varsity team. In addition to those guys they also field five other high school football teams (JV1, JV2, Freshman Blue, Freshman White, and Freshman Red). All six teams play their own schedule and there are many schools they compete against that also field six teams.

 

(Via mobile)

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This is a fantastic stat... thanks for sharing! Based on this chart, there's no question that more opportunities need to be made available for wrestling.

 

Outside of wrestling, the chart also suggests that the ratios are roughly equivalent for men (15:1) and women (16:1). That seems to undercut the argument that Title IX unfairly discriminates against men. Without taking individual sports into consideration, it seems that male high school athletes (overall) have as many opportunities to compete in college as female high school athletes. Is that interpretation correct?

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right on. 

 

those fencing numbers are interesting. i knew a guy in high school, bigger kid and a good athlete, plated football and wrestled through middle school then quit wrestling to pick up fencing in high school. those numbers help explain the move. he got into his school of choice too. 

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RichB - The numbers are likely correct. They call for all high school athletes so this would be any high school kid grades 9-12.

 

Allen High in Texas went undefeated in football this year with 80 athletes on the varsity team. In addition to those guys they also field five other high school football teams (JV1, JV2, Freshman Blue, Freshman White, and Freshman Red). All six teams play their own schedule and there are many schools they compete against that also field six teams.

 

(Via mobile)

There is no doubt that the big rich schools(Allen, Permean, Odessa, Midland, etc) in Texas can field 200+ guys and a half dozen teams in grades 9-12. But beside 200 Class 6 Schools, there are 200 in each of 4 other divisions, The lower two divisions probably don't have 150 boys. All the other Southern states = FL, Ga, Al, Mi,La, Ark, Ok, Average 70-80 man squads.

 

Again, Pennsylvania sports are all listed as evenly divisible. Wrestling 20.0000, Football 45.0000, XC 20.000, Golf 10.000. And Pa classification is based on 10-12. Oh Texas wrestling ~45 man squads. Looks reasonable if you just sample the first school on Track, But that is Allen with like 80. Then check another half dozen randomly and you see more like 10-30.

 

I suppose someone could write a script to get an actual count from Track.

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Outside of wrestling, the chart also suggests that the ratios are roughly equivalent for men (15:1) and women (16:1). That seems to undercut the argument that Title IX unfairly discriminates against men. Without taking individual sports into consideration, it seems that male high school athletes (overall) have as many opportunities to compete in college as female high school athletes. Is that interpretation correct?

That was my take on it. I also found it interesting that football has a ratio of 16:1, which belies its reputaion of hording the headcount.

 

Track is interesting at 10:1 and with a large headcount. These figures include outdoor, indoor and cross-country. I bet there is a lot of overlap in participants in these three sports and coaches get more scholarship to share out over the duplicate squads. Also, they get to train for three season.

 

Wrestling could learn from this. NWCA should have a long-term goal of making freestyle and greco-roman NCAA sports. (Don't a lot of schools compete in freestyle anyway?) That way, they could end up with 25-30 scholarships to share out. In most cases, it would not take much more coaching staff. Do the same for same for women's wrestling to address Title IX concerns.

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That was my take on it. I also found it interesting that football has a ratio of 16:1, which belies its reputaion of hording the headcount.

 

Track is interesting at 10:1 and with a large headcount. These figures include outdoor, indoor and cross-country. I bet there is a lot of overlap in participants in these three sports and coaches get more scholarship to share out over the duplicate squads. Also, they get to train for three season.

 

Wrestling could learn from this. NWCA should have a long-term goal of making freestyle and greco-roman NCAA sports. (Don't a lot of schools compete in freestyle anyway?) That way, they could end up with 25-30 scholarships to share out. In most cases, it would not take much more coaching staff. Do the same for same for women's wrestling to address Title IX concerns.

If you increase scholarships to 25-30, you may only have 5 schools fund wrestling.  

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Cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track are able to offer 12.6 mens scholarships combined. They also have a women counterpart to balance and often travel together and use the same coaching staffs to save money. In fact, there are a lot of schools where they have women teams in these sports but no mens teams and even when there are mens teams many don't offer the full allotment of scholarships. Making more than one wrestling season would be devastating to the sport and many programs would be cut overnight. (Mobile)

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Pinnum, I did not know that the track/XC limits were combined. Still 12.6 is better than 9.9.

 

Everything you say about women's counterpart, travel, and coaching staffs could be true for wrestling as well. The women's counterpart would be the steepest climb but it is also the number one goal to expand our sport and insure its health. (Sidenote: Woman's wrestling in not yet an NCAA sport but there were 160 high school participants per college spots last year.)

 

Nothing about adding more wrestling seasons would force schools to cut a team. If they don't want to fund the extra season, they don't have to. Only about half the schools with track teams compete in the indoor season.

 

Only about 10% of schools with women's track team do not have a men's team.

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An athlete counts for each season they compete. So a 40 man wrestling roster with three seasons would mean that there would be 120 male wrestlers counted which would drastically skew participation numbers.

 

What this chart doesn't show is that though opportunities across the board are about the same for men and women (if you don't look at individual sports), the number of men and women enrolled in college are not proportionate to high school enrollments and demand for collegiate roster spots are not proportionate.

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I double checked the number and it is correct. There are only 93 high school with boy's fencing. Is there a hot bed region for fencing?

if that number is accurate than over half of every boy's HS fencing team is in NJ. i count 48.

 

http://highschoolsports.nj.com/boysfencing/standings/?grouping=state-district-5

 

which all may be true. i knew guys in high school that had fencing letter jackets. girls too. 

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I double checked the number and it is correct. There are only 93 high school with boy's fencing. Is there a hot bed region for fencing?

 

my bad

 

I was including both men & women in HS - but still, only 93 in the whole country seems surprisingly low  (less than 2 per state)

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What this chart doesn't show is that though opportunities across the board are about the same for men and women (if you don't look at individual sports), the number of men and women enrolled in college are not proportionate to high school enrollments and demand for collegiate roster spots are not proportionate.

Wouldn't the total line at the bottom of the chart show the opportunities across the board? So, 286,373 for men and 184,661 for women.

 

Assuming boy/girl enrollment is pretty even for high school, the number of men and women enrolled in college are indeed not proportionate to high school enrollments. College men: 8,919,087, women: 11,723,732. (US Dept of Ed figures for 2012 for all colleges.)

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