BLOOMINGTON — IHSA officials currently aren’t ready to commit to a universal shot clock for boys’ and girls’ basketball, but such technology may eventually be part of all Illinois high school basketball games.
Kurt Gibson, an IHSA executive director in charge of boys’ basketball, addressed media questions about the shot clock during a virtual press conference on Tuesday.
The IHSA is permitting use of a 35-second shot clock by approved tournament and shootout hosts during the 2022-23 season. This falls in line with the 2021 passage of a National Federation of State High School Associations rule that permits such a clock in all member schools’ basketball games.
Gibson said the IHSA will collect data from events that opt to use a shot clock this coming season. But will that information lead to the use of such technology in other future games?
“Anything is possible,” Gibson said. “Our director, Craig Anderson, has said all along that probably a phased-in approach is the best course of action, if there continues to be momentum for a shot clock.
“What that’s alluding to is, if things are well-received and costs are manageable, that the day would come when everybody’s using it. But it wouldn’t be for a few years down the road.”
Gibson said that, as of Tuesday, fewer than 10 tournaments/shootouts had applied for shot clock use. He added, however, that he expects this total to grow soon as more hosts gather information for IHSA review.
According to a rules packet provided by the IHSA, shot clocks will be required at both ends of the basketball court and “should be recessed and mounted on the backboard supports behind each backboard.”
Gibson said IHSA officials have spoken with shot clock manufacturers about the cost of this technology.
“Schools that have newer scoreboards, even if they don’t have shot clocks at this point, can find a solution through a manufacturer that can cost as little as $2,000,” Gibson said. “Schools with more outdated technology ... it could cost as much as $8,000 or $9,000. It really depends on how much a school wants to invest and what kind of technology the school has right now.”
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The IHSA also provided results of a shot clock survey given to on-court officials, basketball coaches and school administrators — a total of 1,850 individuals.
According to provided results for the question “should the IHSA Board of Directors permit experimental use of the shot clock in regular-season tournaments during the 2022-23 school year,” a “yes” answer was given by 59.7 percent of officials, 61.4 percent of coaches and 45.5 percent of administrators.
Gibson said the IHSA hopes to receive athlete feedback from events that use a shot clock this coming season.
“We plan to ask some of those coaches ... how players felt playing under those conditions,” Gibson said, “because we want to make sure we give the players a chance to weigh in as well.”
Gibson said the IHSA is hopeful on-court officials can comfortably learn and enforce shot clock rules, especially because there only is one listed situation in which a clock needs to be reset to a time other than 35 seconds — “reset the shot clock to 20 seconds when there is an intentionally kicked or fisted ball with less than 20 seconds on the shot clock.”
When it comes to off-court shot clock operators, Gibson said it will be at each school’s discretion how much they decide to pay those individuals.
“I don’t know that I have any particular concerns,” Gibson said. “I’ll be excited to see how this plays out over the course of the year.”
Gibson acknowledged that the IHSA has discovered “a little bit of a divide between the larger schools ... and the smaller schools” when it comes to thoughts on the shot clock.
“We hope we see a nice cross section of boys’ events and girls’ events (using it),” Gibson said. “I hope we see a broad use for it across gender, across class, across size and then we see how things go from there.”