PIAA resets basketball shot-clock issue, will survey schools

CHRIS HARLAN
The (Greensburg) Tribune Review (TNS)
A shot clock stands is seen in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game between Maryland and Iowa in College Park, Md., Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Reset the clock.

The PIAA basketball committee met Wednesday to debate adding a shot clock to Pennsylvania high school games, but decided more time was needed to survey schools statewide, said Hampton athletic director Bill Cardone, who represents the WPIAL on the committee.

The committee did reach a couple of conclusions. If the shot clock is ultimately added, it won't be before the 2024-25 season and would be used for varsity and junior varsity games but not junior high.

Yet, the big question remained unanswered: Should Pennsylvania join a growing list of states using a shot clock at the high school level?

The PIAA intends to survey member schools in the coming weeks, collect the responses in April and have the basketball committee reconvene May 3.

"It will have questions to get input from your coach, your principal and superintendent, if needed," said Cardone, who chairs the WPIAL basketball committee.

Cardone said the committee discussed a survey conducted by the Pennsylvania Basketball Coaches Association that showed 77% of responding coaches favored a shot clock. However, the response to that survey was limited, so the PIAA wanted to canvass a larger sample size.

The committee felt that implementing a shot clock for next season was too hurried and could face some logistical hurdles. Among them, schools would need to acquire the equipment and train a shot clock operator, and officials also would need to be updated on their new requirements.

There also are financial concerns.

"People's budgets for next year are already set or are being set right now," said Cardone, who estimated that a set of shot clocks costs around $10,000. "If you don't have that money budgeted, where is that money going to come from?"

The PIAA operates in two-year cycles and a new cycle starts in the fall. Rather than add a shot clock in the middle of the next cycle (2023), the committee recommended waiting for the following two-year cycle to start in 2024.

Cardone said the committee limited shot clock consideration to varsity and junior varsity games because those teams typically share a gym. If junior high were included, many schools might need to buy multiple sets of clocks.

Decisions made by the PIAA basketball committee are only recommendations. The PIAA board must vote later this spring whether to approve the committee suggestions.

The shot clock became an option for the PIAA after the National Federation of State High School Associations last May announced a rule change that let every state decide independently whether to adopt a 35-second clock.

More than a dozen states have already approved the use of shot clocks, including California, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah and Washington, according to reports. The Kentucky High School Athletic Association in January decided to not adopt the shot clock next season after surveying its coaches.