This is the first time I have seen this article. I believe the title is inflammatory and false; a different look at the numbers would suggest the following title:
High School Football Participation Numbers Decreased Slightly, but that is OK
There is absolutely NO evidence that football is Dying a slow death. There is still plenty of participation. The author points to a 6.5% decrease in athletes playing football and the rise of Lacrosse. What the author does not point out is that the decrease in participating schools across the country has been 1% in 10 years. That means that 99% of the US high schools that fielded teams 10 years ago still have students excited about playing football. 1% decrease in schools participating is not a slow death.
Furthermore, the author makes additional points that explain the slight decrease in participation. Most notable of these is the decline in the total number of boys in this country aged 15-19. His census numbers showing that there are 700,000 fewer high school boys in this country accounts for a 6% decrease in the number of high school males. So football participation has decreased at the exact same level as high school boys attending high school. Amazing coincidence (haha). Bottom line: Using his numbers, the same proportion of boys are playing now as did 10 years ago. Hardly a dying sport.
There is some truth to arguments that sports specialization causes some athletes to choose other sports (baseball players choosing fall ball over football). There is also truth that some families are pushing kids in different directions due to concussion risk. And there are a few families that see sports as a path to a scholarship and push their kids toward other sports that that they mistakenly believe are easier routes to that scholarship.
But overall, our communities are excited about this Friday night and the beginning of football season. Players are excited. Students look forward to attending and entire communities are coming together on Friday nights.
Football is definitely not dying.