COLLEGE PARK, Md. — The best lacrosse players in Maryland hail from wealthier parts of the state than the best football and basketball players.
That’s the conclusion of a Capital News Service analysis of recruiting data, which revealed that the median income of the hometowns of Maryland top high school basketball recruits in 2016 ($75,915) was slightly above the state’s median income ($74,149), while the median income of the hometowns of Maryland’s top high school football recruits was significantly higher ($81,397).
Lacrosse has long maintained a reputation as a sport that enjoys greater popularity in wealthier areas. It’s possible that football flourishes in areas wealthier than the state average because it requires athletic programs to spend more money on equipment, affording high schoolers a better chance at being recognized by college programs. Basketball, which requires significantly fewer resources to play, has thrived in poorer areas.
Indeed, in four of the last six years, the median income of the hometowns of Maryland’s best basketball players was below the state’s median income. That was true for football in only two of the last six years.
This chasm between recruits of each sport is stark. Half of all football recruits came from areas below the state median income, but that number jumps to nearly two-thirds for basketball recruits over the last six years. Over 70 percent of lacrosse recruits, on the other hand, came from wealthier-than-average towns, in 2016, our analysis found.