No shot clock for Pennsylvania high schools, says PIAA basketball committee

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)

Time is running out for shot clock advocates.

The PIAA basketball committee reviewed statewide survey results Tuesday and decided a shot clock should not be added to high school games in Pennsylvania, likely ending that debate for now. The committee voted 9-5 to keep the status quo, a recommendation the PIAA board will consider in two weeks.

The PIAA survey was evenly divided with 50.8% of responding schools opposed to a shot clock and 49.2% in favor, said WPIAL representative Bill Cardone, athletic director at Hampton.

The survey received 575 responses.

Cost and budget concerns were a leading reason many schools opposed adding a shot clock, while others thought the game was fine as is, Cardone said.

"For now, it's a dead issue," he said.

More than a dozen states already use a shot clock or intend to add one next winter after the National Federation of State High School Associations gave approval last May to use them. That list includes California, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah and Washington, according to reports.

The PIAA was considering adding a shot clock for the 2024-25 season, believing schools would need time to prepare, and had asked the basketball committee for its recommendation.

The committee voted no, but ultimately the PIAA board has the final say.

"The board could go with the recommendation of the committee or vote to have it," Cardone said. "That's their choice."

The PIAA board meets May 18.

The basketball committee includes one representative from each of the 12 PIAA districts along with a statewide rules interpreter and a rep for the state coaches association.

Cardone was one of five votes in favor of a shot clock. Personally, Cardone said, he wasn't convinced the high school game needs a shot clock, but a majority of WPIAL schools (59.8%) supported the move.

"I always vote what the district wanted," Cardone said. "I think things are OK now. I think the game is good the way it is. The budget part is a huge concern for a lot of people."

The Pittsburgh City League also voted in favor of a shot clock, believing that was what its teams preferred, but athletic director Karen Arnold said concerns about the cost are valid.

"It could be upwards of $10,000 to add shot clocks to each school," Arnold said. "There are real concerns and it goes beyond the installation. You're going to have to look at the maintenance of it, the additional workers (to operate the clock) and making sure they're trained and qualified. Those pieces all play into it."

The basketball committee also reviewed survey results from game officials and found that a majority supported adding a shot clock even though that would add to their responsibilities.

Cardone said 63.1% of the 1,311 officials who answered the survey were in favor.

"I thought that would be totally the opposite direction in talking with officials who didn't really want it," he said. "That was kind of surprising."