The objective of this study is to examine how participation in different types of competitive sports (based on level of contact) during high school is associated with substance use 1 to 4 years after the 12th grade. The analysis uses nationally representative samples of 12th graders from the Monitoring the Future Study, who were followed 1 to 4 years after the 12th grade. The longitudinal sample consisted of 970 12th graders from six recent cohorts (2006–2011). The analysis, which controlled for 12th grade substance use, school difficulties, time with friends, and socio-demographic characteristics, found that respondents who participated in at least one competitive sport during the 12th grade had greater odds of binge drinking during the past two weeks (AOR = 2.04; 95% CI = 1.43, 2.90) 1 to 4 years after the 12th grade, when compared to their peers who did not participate in sports during their 12th grade year. Moreover, respondents who participated in high-contact sports (i.e. football, ice hockey, lacrosse, and wrestling) had greater odds of binge drinking (AOR = 1.80; 95% CI = 1.18, 2.72), and engaging in marijuana use during the past 30 days (AOR = 1.81; 95% CI = 1.12, 2.93) 1 to 4 years after the 12th grade when compared to their peers who did not participate in these types of sports during their 12th grade year. Accordingly, the findings indicate important distinctions in sport participation experiences on long-term substance use risk that can help inform potential interventions among young athletes.