Wisconsin joins growing list of states bringing shot clock to high school basketball

STEVENS POINT, Wis. – The shot clock is coming to high school basketball in Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) Board of Control on Thursday approved by a 6-4 margin the use of a 35-second shot clock for varsity games beginning with the 2019-’20 season.

The change, once implemented, would be the second major change in the high school game in the state in recent years. In 2015 the WIAA approved the use of 18-minute halves rather than 8-minute quarters.

The design of that move was to improve the flow of play and eliminate the holding of the ball that sometimes occurred at the end of quarters. The addition of shot clock could also change the flow of play.

Other states that use a shot clock for high school basketball are Massachusetts, Maryland, Rhode Island, Washington, New York, California, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Milwaukee Public Schools administrator Eric Coleman, a former basketball coach, was one of the board members who supported the shot clock’s adoption.

“Flow of the game,” he said when asked what he liked about adding a shot clock. “I think along with how going to halves has changed the way coaches have coached, the shot clock will change the way people coach, the way the game is approached, the way the game is played.”

The recommendation to add a shot clock didn’t receive complete support as it worked its way through the WIAA legislative channels. The Coaches Committee supported it unanimously, but Sports Advisory and the Advisory Council did not support the idea. The WIAA executive staff was split.

WIAA associate director Deb Hauser told the board that in a Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association survey, 81% of respondents were in favor of a 35-second shot clock.

Key to it meeting the board’s approval was an amendment that pushed the start of the shot clock’s use to the 2019-’20 season in order to give schools more time to add clocks or update their scoreboards as well as train people to run the clock. The recommendation initially called for its implementation in 2018-’19.

Hauser told the board that the shot clocks would cost $2,000 to $2,400 and noted that the WBCA was “working already to find a corporate sponsor or a company that may give schools a deal state-wide.” The clocks would also require an additional worker at the scorer’s table.

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