Novato High School (Marin County), once a North Bay football powerhouse, is planning to drop its varsity program.
According to a report in the Marin Independent Journal, Novato petitioned the Marin County Athletic League with its request to drop the program after fewer than 10 athletes attended summer practices. Sixteen players are needed to field a team.
Novato won three consecutive North Coast Section championships from 2005 to 2007, reaching the state championship game in 2007.
In 2014, the team was the MCAL co-champion. However, in recent years, the program — like many in Marin — has endured a drop in overall turnout and interest.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported on August 6 (front page) that High school football participation is dropping not only in the Bay Area, but California and The United States:
... a survey released last week by the California Interscholastic Federation discovered that while overall high school sports participation continues to increase, football participation actually decreased by 3.12 percent over the past year and about 10 percent over the past decade.
That is the second consecutive year that football participation decreased by more than 3 percent, although it still remains the high school sport with the most participants in the state. Also nationally, participation has declined slightly, about 1 percent in the past five years. The National Federation of State High School Associations will release its latest participation report this week.
“Over the last six years or so, there has been more concern on the part of students, due to the concussion concerns,” said Gil Lemmon, commissioner of the North Coast Section, which governs the athletic programs in the Bay Area.
My Brother was a sussesful Head Defensive coach for over 20 yrs at Bethel college in Minnesota and a head Highschool coach at Centennial high 3 time state champs a carrier my brother has always been proud of,,,, After seeing the movie ' Concussion ' and researching the health of his own players from the 80's & 90's and guilt of his part in their health risks he regretfully retired from coaching and can see the prohibition scholastically of the sport in the near future
I'm a hippie who was accused of being brain damaged from weed when I would X-C Ski for 4 hrs in sub zero temperatures, not to invigorating to watch but. 40 years latter I can still Ski with 20 yr olds and whizzed by people in their 60's , because , like walking, running , biking , swimming those things that all of us can do longer through Life, and without special talent or physical make up tend to be the most beneficial for health & spiritual wellbeing , just not much for Spectating , like back in Ancient Rome or when we were building Universities on wealthy peoples money ,egos and Love of competition .