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N.M. preps could add shot clocks in 2022-23

The National Federation of State High School Associations on Tuesday of this week announced that states can implement a 35-second shot clock in basketball starting in the 2022-23 season – if they so desire.

So what will New Mexico do?

The process of answering that question hasn’t really begun yet.

New Mexico Activities Association executive director Sally Marquez said the first thing her office must do is take the temperature of the approximately 155 basketball-playing schools around the state, and get feedback – from coaches, athletic directors and administrators – on what they’d like.

Already, eight states utilize a shot clock. But, as a result, those state associations gave up their seats on the NFHS basketball rules committee. Those states are California, South Dakota, Rhode Island, Maryland, New York, Washington, Massachusetts and North Dakota. Georgia has voted to add a shot clock starting next year.

There was a proposal for a national rule mandating a shot clock, but that was not approved. The NFHS announcement Tuesday creates an opening for state associations to decide on their own.

If the NMAA’s board of directors – who ultimately will have final say on this – were to vote in favor of shot clocks, it will have to be done before the end of 2021, Marquez said, to implement as soon as 2022.

The NMAA’s board would have to vote by December to give schools time to figure out how to pay for clocks, should they be added by November 2022.

And shot clocks are not going to be an inexpensive budget item. In December of 2018, when the University of New Mexico men’s basketball team played the University of the Southwest at Tasker Arena in Hobbs – the home of the Hobbs High – shot clocks were added.

The clocks themselves cost $3,900; Hobbs handled the installation itself.

The cost and installation of the clocks are going to be a major expense for many school districts, especially smaller districts. Cost is one of the issues the NMAA board is sure to debate this year.

Also, high school officials around the state will have to be re-trained to allow for the addition of the shot clocks.

And each school will have to train at least one and probably a minimum of two people to operate those shot clocks, separate from the person who runs the main game clock. And that means extra personnel costs at home games.

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