June 19, 2024
Illinois High School Sports

IHSA board approves shot clock mandate for boys, girls basketball starting in 2026

Board also approved two-day state finals experience for teams

Nazareth Academy celebrates their win over Waubonsie Valley Friday, March 1, 2024 in the girls basketball 4A state semifinal at CEFCU Arena in Normal.

A 35-second shot clock is coming to both boys and girls high school basketball in Illinois starting in 2026. The IHSA Board of Directors approved the move at its Monday meeting.

Schools across the state will be required to have a shot clock for varsity games at the start of the 2026-27 seasons. The use of a shot clock for lower levels of basketball will be determined by conferences and a mutual agreement between competing teams in nonconference games.

The move comes two years after the IHSA allowed the use of a shot clock at shootouts and tournaments. IHSA executive director Craig Anderson said in a statement released Tuesday that the feedback from those events influenced the new mandate.

“The IHSA has allowed the shot clock to be used in tournaments and shootouts the past two seasons, and the overwhelming feedback we have received from coaches is that it is time to embrace the shot clock in all varsity contests,” Anderson said. “We believe the two-season lead time will provide our schools with ample opportunity to install the shot clocks and get comfortable with them from both a coaching and game administration perspective.”

The board also approved a new state finals schedule for both boys and girls that will ensure all teams have a two-day experience next year. The Class 1A-3A semifinals will take place on Thursday while the Class 4A semifinals and Class 1A-3A third-place games will happen Friday. The Class 4A third-place game and all championships will be on Saturday.

The boys state finals take place at the State Farm Center at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, while the girls finals are at CEFCU Arena on the campus of Illinois State.

“It’s been fairly unanimous in the Illinois high school basketball community that moving the state tournament to a single-weekend format has been a success,” Anderson said. “Our coaches believe this new schedule will provide an even better experience for all the student-athletes, coaches, and fans. We look forward to seeing it play out when we celebrate America’s Original March Madness next winter.”

Michal Dwojak

Michal Dwojak

Michal is a sports enterprise reporter for Shaw Local, covering the CCL/ESCC for Friday Night Drive and other prep sports for the Northwest Herald. He also is a Chicago Bears contributing writer. He previously was the sports editor for the Glenview Lantern, Northbook Tower and Malibu Surfside News.