Prior to coming to Evansville in February, I worked in North Dakota for about two years. Early in my tenure there, the state adopted a shot clock for high school basketball.
Several other states use a shot clock as well (California, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Washington). The Indiana High School Athletic Association has no interest in implementing a shot clock, as I learned through email communication with IHSAA spokeman Jason Wille earlier this week.
The two major pros of the shot clock:
1) It ends “stall ball,” where teams attempt to hold the ball for minutes at a time without attempting a shot, usually at the end of quarters. This makes games more exciting for fans, and losing teams can likely wait longer before starting to foul at the end of games (because they know the other team has to attempt a shot within a set period of time).
2) It helps athletes prepare for the college level, where they have to be aware of the shot clock. It also fosters the ability for a player to create his own shot late in the clock, a skill college programs covet.
The cons that Wille mentioned:
1) Implementing the shot clock costs money for already budget-strapped schools, both to purchase the equipment and to add a shot-clock operator for each contest.
2) Indiana follows the rules of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). If Indiana adopted a shot clock and deviated from NFHS rules, Indiana would lose its seat at the table on the national rules committee for high school basketball.
This latter con is particularly important. Wille described a spot on the national rules committee as “an important privilege,” and it would certainly be odd if a basketball-mad state like Indiana didn’t have a say in future rule changes at the high school level.
The logical conclusion is that a shot clock would lead to more fan-friendly, high-scoring games. But a statistical analysis released by Maxpreps.com in January found that scoring averages were actually slightly higher for states without shot clocks.
Of course, other factors played into this as well, such as Minnesota (the highest-scoring state) playing two 18-minute halves, which adds four minutes of game time compared to the national standard of four 8-minute quarters.
For those against “stall ball,” two halves rather than four quarters could also be a positive rule change, as it would remove two opportunities for teams to milk the clock in search of the final shot in a period.
What do you think? Should the IHSAA pursue a shot clock and/or implement two halves rather than four quarters?