PIAA basketball committee readies for shot clock discussion this week

Tuesday, March 29, 2022 | 3:25 AM

Shot clock or no shot clock?

Pennsylvania’s high school basketball teams should have a better idea whether the clock is in their future after the PIAA basketball committee debates the issue this week. The shot clock will be on the agenda when the committee meets Wednesday, PIAA executive director Bob Lombardi said.

“I’m positive about the discussion,” he said. “I don’t think anyone is coming in with an agenda one way or another. And I think people are keeping an open mind to what’s good for the game.”

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 lets every state decide independently whether to adopt a 35-second clock. States are permitted to add the clock as early as next season (2022-23), but Lombardi said that’s probably too soon for Pennsylvania, should the PIAA decide to take that route.

“I’m not sure that’s enough lead time,” Lombardi said, “but let’s see what the steering committee comes up with. I think they’ve had an open mind, and an open discussion for this is a good thing.”

The PIAA earlier this winter asked each of its 12 district basketball committees to start discussing the topic. Lombardi said he’s heard arguments both for and against adding the clock.

“It seems there are two different camps,” he said. “There’s the camp of, ‘Yeah, let’s do it because everybody else is doing it.’ That’s a lot of what you hear from coaching staffs. And then you hear the administrator (concerned about) the cost (of equipment) and the cost of the worker. Who are you going to train to do it? Are you going to be able to have seating at the table?”

If approved, would the PIAA adopt the shot clock only for varsity basketball games? Or would junior varsity and junior high games also get a clock? Those are questions that also need answered, Lombardi said.

The PIAA basketball committee includes one representative from each of the state’s 12 districts. Hampton athletic director Bill Cardone, chairman of the WPIAL basketball committee, has a seat on the PIAA committee. So does City League athletic director Karen Arnold.

“I think it’s going to be a good discussion,” Lombardi said.

According to various reports, 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. Yet, the Kentucky High School Athletic Association in January decided to not adopt the shot clock next season after surveying its coaches.

Lombardi said he doesn’t yet have a feel for which way Pennsylvania might lean.

However, the PIAA basketball committee doesn’t have the final say. The committee can only make recommendations to the PIAA board of directors, which could vote one way or another later this spring.

Beyond affecting schools and coaches, adding a shot clock also would impact game officials, another factor to consider, Lombardi said.

“There’s going to be a whole new section in the rule book that going to have to be taught and learned and utilized,” he said. “The other thing is, we don’t have the wherewithal that colleges do with replay at every game. We don’t have the resources as a local (Class) A school to do that. So, there’s going to be a learning curve.”

The NFHS in the fall provided a list of shot clock guidelines for schools.

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

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