NFHS votes down shot clock mandate for high school basketball

Monday, May 11, 2020 | 10:39 PM

High school teams can still hold the basketball for as long as they’d like.

A proposal that would’ve mandated use of a shot clock in high school games wasn’t approved by the National Federation of State High School Associations basketball rules committee, the organization announced Monday. Another proposal that would’ve allowed adoption on a state-by-state basis was also voted down.

The NFHS establishes a national rulebook for sports that’s used by the PIAA and subsequently by the WPIAL.

“Information was given to the Basketball Rules Committee that shared the votes in individual states on how coaches and officials voted in support of or non-support of the shot clock rule,” NFHS director Theresia Wynns said in a statement. “The conversation among the committee members explored the pros and cons of enacting the proposal as a rule for all states and likewise for state adoption. The committee will continue to explore the shot clock issue.”

According to USA Today, eight states use a shot clock in high school basketball: New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Washington, California, Maryland, North Dakota and South Dakota.

The committee did adopt several other rule changes.

Among them, the NFHS clarified that officials aren’t required to issue a warning to a coach before assessing a technical foul under rule 10-6-1.

“This amends an existing rule that gave the impression that a warning was a prerequisite to ruling a technical foul,” Wynns said. “Using the word ‘may’ helps one to understand that a warning is only an option.”

The committee also added a rule that declares a game a forfeit it a coach is removed for unsportsmanlike behavior and “no authorized school personnel are present to assume responsibility of the team.”

“Most states have bylaws to cover the instance when no adult school staff is on the bench to attend to the team. Officials are not likely to read those bylaws and consequently not know that rule,” Wynns said. “Having the basketball rules cover such a situation helps the contest officials and coaches alike if such a situation were to arise.”

A change to rule 2-12-5 alters the timer’s responsibility when a player is disqualified or injured. Now, a warning signal is sounded, giving teams 15 seconds to replace the player. A second warning signal should mark the end of those 15 seconds, preparing teams to resume play.

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at or via Twitter .

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