On the clock: PIAA will discuss basketball shot clock in months ahead

CHRIS HARLAN
The (Greensburg) Tribune Review (TNS)
Bob Lombardi

Will Pennsylvania high school basketball have a shot clock in 2022?

The PIAA will address that question in the coming months, executive director Bob Lombardi said Wednesday, but it hasn't begun to explore the issue in depth since the National Federation of State High School Associations made that an option in recent weeks.

"We haven't really discussed it much at this time," Lombardi said. "It's an adoption from NFHS that's two years away, so we have some time. I know the board will probably get involved with it. But when this was passed, we wanted to get through spring sports."

On the recommendation of its basketball committee, the NFHS decided to permit use of a 35-second shot clock in high school basketball starting with the 2022-23 season, but is letting each state association decide independently whether to use it.

Lombardi predicted the PIAA would delve into the issue after gathering additional information at the NFHS convention later this month.

"I think you'll see a little more discussion coming from our (basketball) steering committee," Lombardi said, "and some people who are going to have some real involvement here: ADs, as well as school principals."

However, Lombardi noted some school administrators already consider the shot clock an "unfunded mandate" for schools, since they'd need to buy equipment and pay someone to operate it.

If implemented, the NFHS provided standardized guidelines that require two clocks "connected to a horn that is distinctive from the game-clock horn."

The NFHS rejected a proposal that would've mandated shot clock use nationwide.

"The committee felt it appropriate to stop short of a nationwide rule change," wrote the NFHS basketball committee, "and instead allow for the continued analysis of both game and violation statistics as well as continuing to measure preferences in all states through surveys and questionnaire data."

The committee noted there are "many advocates and opponents" for shot clock use.

Basketball proposal delayed: The PIAA board delayed voting on a plan to revamp the state basketball playoffs, and instead tabled further discussion until July.

The plan would start the state tournament a few days earlier (on a Tuesday and Wednesday) and put the semifinals on a weekend rather than mid-week. The board could've voted to support the proposal Wednesday, but a delay was requested by PIAA Districts 12 and 1, which represent Philadelphia schools.

"There are a couple of board members who said, 'I thought before we make this type of change, we were all going to get together and kick the tires,' " Lombardi said.

The board tentatively had approved the change last month on a first reading. The plan must pass three votes.

If approved, the next state tournament will begin March 8-9, 2022.