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Participation and fan interest in high school basketball remain strong throughout the nation, and the National Federation of State High School Associations Basketball Rules Committee voted to retain one aspect of the sport that makes it unique from other levels of play.
At its recent meeting in Indianapolis, the committee considered a proposal to add a shot clock to the high school rules but agreed that the sport played by about one million boys and girls in about 18,000 high schools is functioning well without it.
Although a shot clock has been employed at the college level for many years, results of the questionnaire sent to coaches, officials and state association administrators across the country did not indicate a strong desire to use the clock at the high school level.
“In addition to the fact that there is some concern about the costs associated with the use of a shot clock, the committee also expressed a belief that the game is typically played with an up-tempo style even without a shot clock,” said Kent Summers, director of performing arts and sports at the NFHS. “In addition, the committee believes that coaches should have the option of a slower-paced game if they believe it makes their team more competitive in specific situations. This could be especially true for smaller schools with limited budgets, which comprise a significant number of the 18,000 basketball-playing schools. Since the NFHS writes rules for all sizes of schools and teams, it has to consider what is best for the masses.”
The committee approved one rule change and two major editorial changes, which subsequently were approved by the NFHS board of directors.
Rule 2-12 will now require the official scorer to wear a black-and-white vertically striped garment. Previously, this was a recommendation for schools.
“The players, coaches and officials need to be able to quickly and easily identify the official scorer, and making this a requirement should assist in that regard,” Summers said.
One of the editorial revisions approved by the committee concerns changes made last year in a team-control foul. The following language will be added to Rule 4-19-7: “ ... including a member of the throw-in team from the start of the throw-in until player control is obtained inbounds.”
The committee noted that the team-control rule change last season introduced an unnecessary level of complexity to a number of rules. This additional language will allow all rules affected by the team-control definition change last season to revert to previous verbiage.
The other editorial change is Rule 2-2-4, which expands the timeframe for state associations to intercede in the event of unusual incidents from after a game, to before and during a contest.
In addition, the Basketball Rules Committee approved four points of emphasis for the 2012-13 season: closely guarded situations, contact above the shoulders, intentional fouls and guidelines to enforce illegal contact. Points of emphasis are specific rules that need more attention by players, coaches and officials.
Basketball is the second-most popular sport for girls and third-most popular for boys at the high school level, according to the 2010-11 High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the NFHS, with 438,933 girls and 545,844 boys participating nationwide. The sport ranks first in school sponsorship of girls and boys teams with 17,767 schools sponsoring the sport for girls and 18,150 sponsoring the sport for boys.