Interest in football fizzles out at some schools across the country

Interest in football fizzles out at some schools across the country

WSFA/NBC - The cheers for Friday Night Football will fall silent this fall at one North Carolina High School.

Earlier this week, Chapel Hill High became the latest to cancel its varsity football season.

"Everybody wants to play, but everyone knew also we could not do it with the numbers that we have," Jeff Nash is Executive Director of Community Relations at Chapel Hill High said.

In a school of more than 1,500 students, only 30 signed up to play. A similar lack of interest also doomed football this season at Trimble High School in Kentucky.

"I just sat and cried, to be honest," Trimble High football player, Will Kunselman said.

The same goes for Park View High School in Virginia. Most of the few players available were dangerously inexperienced.

"What it came down to for us, is not what caused this, but what the situation is now, and the situation is not safe," said Wayde Dyard with Loudon County Schools.

Safety has been a hot button topic at all levels of football but to what extent those concerns are diminishing participation is hard to gauge.

The National Federation of State High School Associations reports total participation in high school football d ropped more than four percent between 2007 and 2016, that's nearly 50,000 fewer players.

Administrators at Chapel Hill say football's losing out, in part, because more athletes are specializing in just one sport.

"We have very few of our athletes to play three sports a year," Scarlett Steinert Director of School Safety and Athletics at Chapel Hill said.

Chapel Hill hopes to resume varsity football next year if gridiron interest stages a comeback. They still have a JV football team this season and are raising hopes for varsity football's return next fall.

Last year, Centennial High School in Maryland also disbanded its varsity team because of low participation, but the school is returning with a squad for the upcoming season.

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