October 16, 2021

National Federation of State High School Associations OKs shot clocks starting in 2022-23

Individual state associations, such as the IHSA, will decide if they want to implement new rule

The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) is on the clock to decide whether it wants to implement a shot clock.

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Basketball Rules Committee during its annual meeting in late April stopped short of mandating a shot clock for high school basketball, but did recommend a 35-second shot clock be permitted if individual state associations choose to implement it. That recommendation was approved by the NFHS Board of Directors, the NFHS released Wednesday.

The new rule permits each state association – in the case of Illinois, the IHSA – to adopt a shot clock as early as the 2022-23 season. Some states already have shot clocks in place in various forms, with this new rule serving as an attempt to standardize the rules surrounding their use.

“We provided the committee with a lot of information regarding the shot clock, including responses to a 46-question survey sent to states currently using a shot clock,” said Theresia Wynns, NFHS director of sports and officials.

Guidelines for standardization include:

• Shot clocks lasting 35 seconds

• Schools displaying two timepieces connected to a horn distinctive from the game-clock horn

• A secondary timepiece, such as a stopwatch at the scorer’s table, available in case of shot-clock malfunction

• Allowing corrections only during the shot-clock period in which an error occurred when officials have definitive proof of a mistake of malfunction

Currently, the IHSA does not use a shot clock. In its place, officials use a five-second count for a guarded ball-handler to either dribble or pass the basketball, with the penalty being a turnover of possession. An unguarded ball-handler can hold the ball without penalty until the end of a quarter.

The IHSA basketball advisory committee conducted its annual meeting two weeks ago, on April 28, and discussed the pros and cons of instituting a shot clock in Illinois while evaluating previous questionnaires give to coaches regarding the potential rule change.

“Administrative input will need to be a part of the discussion before any decision is made by the IHSA Board of Directors if/when the potential use of a shot clock is allowed in high school basketball,” the minutes from the April 28 meeting read. “Implementation of a shot clock will come with costs for equipment/installation and staffing to run the shot clock, and it will be necessary to consider that during future discussions.”

J.T. Pedelty

J.T. Pedelty

J.T. is a graduate of Streator High School, Illinois Valley Community College and Southern Illinois University-Carbondale who is some 22 years into an award-winning sports journalism career.