• The Annie E. Casey Foundation: Child Well-Being in Single Parent Families indicates 24% of all White children, below the age of 18, come from single-parent homes vs. 64% of African American children.
  • NCAA Demographics database shows 56% of all Division 1 athletes are White vs. 21% African American. The database further indicates greater underrepresentation of African American female students in many Division 1 sports. The database further indicates greater underrepresentation of African-American female student in many Division 1 sports, including: Lacrosse – 2.2%, Swimming – 2%, Soccer – 5.3%, Softball – 8.2%, and Volleyball 12%.
  • In the web article by the Newport Academy: Teen Sports and Mental Health, 10 Mental Health Benefits of Sports (December 8, 2021), “Teen sports can have a significant impact on teen well-being.” The article goes on to say, “Teen sports can boost self-esteem, build teamwork skills, and help young people build a close community of peers and supportive adults.”
  • According to Chasing Equity: The Triumphs, Challenges and Opportunities in Sports for Girls and Women, The Women’s Sports Foundation found the “dropout rate for girls of color in urban and rural centers is twice that of suburban white girls (Sabo a Veliz, 2008).
  • A 2020 report titled, Keeping Girls in the Game: Factors that Influence Sport Participation, key findings support EPIC’s purpose and mission to erase gender stereotypes; elevate women/girls in leadership roles, especially those related to sports; sports positively impact body image; coaches shape the sport experience; cost, transportation, and lack of access keep girls out of sports; maintaining the love of sport is key to participation; and the positive impact of sport participation on academics needs to be shared with parents, to avoid sport dropout.
  • An Aspen Institute study: Youth Sports Facts, Why Play Matters, shows the benefits of sports participation at a young age have a lifelong personal impact; health and wellness, financial and career benefits. Communities thrive when they promote policies and develop infrastructure that encourages athletics for all youth.
  • Girls Can Play: Analysis of Racial and Economic Barriers of Entry for Women of Color in Sport states, “Inner-city and low-income youth are denied opportunities presented to predominantly white middle and upper-class youth, who are awarded the opportunities to advance in the dimension of sport. Low-income children are being pushed out of sports, falling into a track that provides marginal community programming, while the economically advantaged are funneled into the other track of competitive private clubs. Race, economics, and social status become drivers for this segmentation in youth sport.”
  • A report titled National Youth Sports Strategy by the Department of Health and Human Services found that only 58 percent of youth ages 6 to 17 participated in sports in 2017, and the numbers are lower for girls, racial and ethnic minorities, youth from households of low socioeconomic status, and youth with a disability. In addition to these disparities, the cost of participation in sports continues to be a major barrier for youth and families across the country. Close to 60 percent of parents reported spending between $250 and $2,500 on sports programming each year. Youth sports is an estimated 15-billion-dollar industry, fueled by a pay-to-play model that focuses on specialization rather than positive youth development.
  • CBS News: Current State of Youth Sports 
  • Prep Dig (Omaha): Unpopular Opinion Part 2: In Nebraska High School Volleyball, Wealth Equals Success


EPIC! uses evidenced-based practices including Game Plan through the Women’s Sports Foundation which is a guide to building effective sports programs for girls. We evaluate teams using a program Quality Assessment tool designed for TEAM-UP Youth. Currently, EPIC! teams must provide a yearly report that outlines the demographics of participants and coaches, activities and community involvement, opportunities, and challenges faced throughout the year. Data is used to enhance programming, determine areas for growth, and how to overcome challenges.

In 2023, EPIC for Girls will work with its evaluation team to identify other significant quantitative and qualitative factors that will be measured/collected moving forward.