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Shot clock coming to Utah high school basketball in 2022-23

By Patrick Carr - | Jan 20, 2022

Patrick Semansky, Associated Press

In this January 2018 photo, a shot-clock stand is seen atop a basket during a college basketball game between Maryland and Iowa in College Park, Md.

Utah will soon welcome shot clock violations and bid farewell to stalling in high school basketball.

Around eight months after the door was opened for state high school sports associations to add a shot clock, the UHSAA Board of Trustees during its Thursday meeting approved the addition of a 35-second shot clock, mounted above the backboards, for boys and girls varsity basketball in all Utah classifications beginning in the 2022-23 school year.

Individual regions will determine whether the shot clock is used for sub-varsity games, according to a press release issued by the UHSAA on Thursday afternoon.

Some signs pointed toward the UHSAA adding the shot clock in recent months, owing to how schools responded to a UHSAA shot clock survey sent out earlier this school year.

Ninety schools responded to said survey and 77% were in favor of adding the shot clock.

Then in a meeting last week, the UHSAA’s Executive Committee recommended that the BOT add the shot clock, a strong indicator that the addition was about to happen.

For years, adding the shot clock has been a topic with widespread support among northern Utah coaches and athletic directors.

“I am thrilled for girls and boys basketball in the state of Utah. As we continue to grow the game in our state this is one step further in that direction so to say that I’m excited is an understatement,” according to Roy High girls basketball coach Carolyn DeHoff.

The support mainly comes from giving defenses another reward to work toward in games (shot clock violations), removing the stalling tactic and changing the final minutes of close games where teams are more inclined to keep the ball instead of shoot.

It was unclear before Thursday whether the UHSAA Executive Committee and BOT, the entities with influence and power, respectively, to actually make the decision, would feel the same way. The answer to that question was ultimately, yes.

“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,” read part of the UHSAA’s press release announcing the addition of the shot clock.

Many in the basketball community had wanted the shot clock for years, but it wasn’t seriously discussed in Utah because of previous restrictions from the National Federation of State High School Association.

Previously, states that used a shot clock were in violation of NFHS rules, and therefore forfeited a spot on the NFHS basketball rules committee, among other things, by not being 100% compliant with the NFHS.

In May, the NFHS reversed that longstanding policy and announced that states could add the shot clock if they wanted to and not be in violation of the rules, so as to encourage standardization among states.

In a prior interview, UHSAA assistant director Jon Oglesby said that move by the NFHS opened the door for Utah to seriously discuss adding the shot clock.

Utah schools and school districts now have about 10 months to order shot clocks and get them installed. Some schools have already installed shot clock mounts on backboards in anticipation of the approval.

The three largest school districts in northern Utah — Ogden, Weber and Davis — have indicated they’ll pick up the cost for their schools’ shot clocks, which run anywhere from $3,500-$5,500 depending on if they’re ordered in bulk or not.

Numerous area high school basketball coaches want the shot clock and have wanted it for years. Numerous coaches also don’t want the shot clock.

Though there is and has been widespread support for adding the shot clock, it does add another item on athletic directors’ to-do lists: finding and paying someone to run the shot clock each home game.

Nine states currently use the shot clock, but a handful of additional states have voted recently to add the shot clock, which will also mean a big financial windfall for companies that manufacture shot clocks and associated equipment.

On Monday, Montana’s state high school governing body voted to add the shot clock starting in 2022-23. Georgia and Iowa are already adding the shot clock in 2022-23, Minnesota is adding it in 23-24, a report in the Idaho Statesman suggests the shot clock has widespread support in Idaho and more states appear ready to add the shot clock as well.

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