Utah high school basketball games might soon include a shot clock after national federation decision

The National Federation of State High School Associations added a shot clock rule for states that choose to vote for a clock. There was no rule previously.

Lennie Mahler | The Salt Lake Tribune The college shot clock begins at 30, down from 35, in a basketball game between the Utah Utes and Southern Utah Thunderbirds at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City. On Wednesday, the National Federation of State High School Associations announced that member schools and associations can now bring shot clocks to prep basketball games in their states if they so choose.

Shot clocks in Utah high school basketball gyms could be on their way.

The National Federation of State High School Associations announced Wednesday a rule that allows states to implement a shot clock for basketball starting in the 2022-23 season if they chose to do so. It allows states like Utah, which does not have a shot clock, to add one if the Utah High School Activities Association votes to approve it.

“The UHSAA will use the next school year to gather feedback from member school administrators and coaches regarding potential UHSAA governing board action on implementing the shot clock for the 2022-23 academic year,” the UHSAA said in a statement to The Salt Lake Tribune.

Eight states currently play high school basketball with a shot clock. Those states are California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Washington. Arkansas just got done with a one-year experiment of having a shot clock, and will implement it fully in the 2022-23 season.

The process for implementing a shot clock in Utah takes time. The coaches association has to bring forth a proposal to the athletic directors executive committee. If the measure has enough support from the ADEC, it goes to the UHSAA executive committee. From there, the proposal would be brought forth to the UHSAA board of trustees for a final vote.

The schools that played with a shot clock before the NFHS rule change were actually violating basketball rules, said Theresia Wynns, NFHS director of sports and officials and liaison to the Basketball Rules Committee. Those states did not have a seat on the rules committee as a result.

The new shot clock rule calls for a 35-second clock with a horn that is different from the game clock horn. Also, an alternative timekeeping device — like a stopwatch — must be used in the event of a shot clock malfunction.

Some states that use a shot clock already have a 30-second clock. That would have to change if they want a seat on the committee.

“Any state who is using a 30-second shot clock would have to convert or still be afoul of the rules,” Wynn said.

The NFHS voted down a proposal calling for a national shot clock mandate.

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