Play Ball! Boston

Going, Going, Gone: The Decline of Youth Sports

The Up2Us Center is the nation’s leading trainer, researcher and developer of sports-based youth development content. This content is used to support the impact of Up2Us member organizations and Coach Across America coaches.

Report at a glance:

  • An estimated $1.5 billion was cut from school sports budgets during the 2010-2011 school year. This was on top of the estimated $2 billion cut during the 2009-2010 year.
  • Currently, 40 percent of school districts nationwide are charging fees to participate, known as “pay-to-play”.
  • School sports participation is suffering: more than 80,000 fewer girls participated between 2009 and 2010; boys’ sports participation grew slightly, but at a substantially smaller rate than in previous years.
  • In 2010-2011, four key trends emerged illustrating the state of school sports: slashed budgets, increasing fees, eliminated opportunities, and growing inequities.
  • Emerging data for the 2011-2012 school year indicates that these trends will worsen.
  • Cuts are being felt in all areas of the country, whether traditionally affluent or disadvantaged.
  • Low-income communities and families are doubly impacted by fees and budget cuts as there is often less money available for districts to trim and few alternative opportunities for youth to play sports.

See the full report