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OSAA will be permited to approve 35-second possession clock starting in 2022-23 season

Beginning with the 2022-23 season, a 35-second shot clock will be permitted in high school basketball games by state association adoption. A proposal for a national rule mandating a shot clock was not approved.

A shot clock was among the topics discussed by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Basketball Rules Committee at its annual meeting April 20-22 held virtually this year. All recommendations were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

PHIL HAWKINS - While a majority of Oregon coaches polled in 2017 voted in favor of implementing a shot clock, there was less support among smaller school districts, where the cost and staff resources could prove prohibitive.Rule 2-14 states that each state association may adopt a shot clock beginning in the 2022-23 season — according to guidelines outlined in the Basketball Rules Book — to encourage standardization among states. Guidelines include displaying two timepieces that are connected to a horn that is distinctive from the game-clock horn, and using an alternative timing device, such as a stopwatch at the scorer's table, for a shot clock malfunction. The guidelines also allow for corrections to the shot clock only during the shot-clock period in which an error occurred and the officials have definite information relative to the mistake or malfunction.

"We provided the committee with a lot of information regarding the shot clock, including responses to a 46-question survey sent to states currently using a shot clock," said Theresia Wynns, NFHS director of sports and officials and liaison to the Basketball Rules Committee.

The ruling by the NFHS allows nine states that have implemented the shot clock — such as Washington and California — to become complient with NFHS rules. States that are out of compliance with the NFHS do not get a representative on the national rules committee.

Oregon has explored the use of a shot clock in high school basketball in recent years. A 2017 survey of 270 boys and girls coaches by the Oregon Basketball Coaches Association revealed that 76 percent were in favor of it, including 77 percent of boys coaches and 74 percent of girls coaches.

The highest support came from 6A and 5A, at 80 and 85 percent, respectively. Approval dropped off in 4A (61 percent), 3A (64), 2A (57) and 1A (57).

Partly at issue is the cost and staffing that a shot clock would put on schools, where smaller districts often do not have the same pool of resources and staff as larger districts. According to the OSAA, adding a shot clock would cost schools beteween $2,500 to $4,500 per gym and require two additional operators to be staffed.

And while coaches across the board were in favor of implementation, athletic directors voted 57-52 against the shot clock in the survey.

The shot clock was first introduced to the NCAA in 1985 to limit stalling tactics that programs had been used over the years, most notably that of North Carolina coach Dean Smith who used a delay offense to preserve victories during his tenure from 1961 to 1997.

Oregon has seen such tactics rarely, but a recent example came in the 2012 5A girls state championship between Willamette and Springfield. In an attempt to stop future WNBA player Mercedes Russell, Willamette coach Paul Brothers instructed his players to hold the ball indefinitely.

Russell and the Millers were held to a 4-0 lead after the first half and went on to win 16-7, but it was the closest contest that Sprinfield had played all season.

Religious head coverings

Rule 3-5-4e was added to allow players to wear head coverings for religious reasons without obtaining state association approval. The head covering shall not be made of abrasive or hard materials and must be attached so that it is highly unlikely to come off during play. Basketball is the sixth sport in which a rule related to the wearing of head coverings or other equipment for religious reasons has been adopted, following volleyball, field hockey, soccer, spirit and swimming.

Foul simplification

The official signals were also modified to use the same hand signal for a player control foul and a team control foul. Officials should use Signal 36, which is a hand placed at the back of the head, for both types of fouls. Previously, a team control foul was communicated with a punch of the hand.

"It is redundant to have different signals to communicate that a foul will be charged to a member of the team in control of the ball," Wynns said. "Officials don't understand the need to differentiate between a player control foul and a team control foul, and many game participants, table personnel and fans don't know the difference."

A complete listing of the basketball rules changes will be available on the NFHS website at Click on "Activities & Sports" at the top of the home page and select "Basketball."

According to the most recent NFHS High School Athletics Participation Survey, a total of 540,769 boys participated in basketball in 18,617 schools, and 399,067 girls participated in the sport in 18,210 schools across the country. It is the third-most popular sport for boys and girls.

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