The poll, said Buster Mabrey, executive director of the New Mexico High School Coaches Association, was done in fun. But the results, unscientific though they may be, could indicate what is to come.
The NMHSCA recently conducted a straw poll of basketball coaches around New Mexico, inquiring of their feelings on the addition of a shot clock.
“It went out to everyone,” Mabrey said of his poll.
The compact version of the poll’s results, which is only a reflection of those who chose to participate, is this:
• Coaches in the state’s largest classification (5A) largely embrace the idea.
• Coaches in the smallest class (1A) prefer the status quo.
• And the boys coaches are far more amenable to adding shot clocks than girls coaches.
There were 18 boys coaches and 19 girls coaches in 5A who responded to the poll. There are 28 schools in 5A. The boys coaches were in favor of a shot clock by a 15-3 margin, the girls coaches by 15-4.
But at the opposite end of the spectrum, the 1A coaches, largely in rural communities, went nearly 180 degrees in the other direction.
The 1A boys coaches who responded voted 10-2 against, the girls coaches 11-4 against.
A total of 164 boys and girls coaches took part in the straw poll, or about 53 percent of all basketball coaches in New Mexico. There are just over 310 combined boys and girls programs, and the two largest classes (by number of schools) are 1A (42) and 2A (30).
Overall, boys coaches voted 48-34 in favor of a shot clock, girls coaches just 42-40 in favor.
In the middle three classes, opinion – with one notable exception – was evenly split for the most part.
The 4A girls coaches voted 9-8 for, the 3A girls coaches voted 7-5 against and the 2A girls coaches voted 10-9 against.
The 3A and 2A boys coaches both were 7-7. But the 4A boys coaches strongly advocate for a shot clock based on a 17-7 vote.
The National Federation of State High School Associations last week said states could implement a 35-second shot clock in basketball starting in the 2022-23 season. The New Mexico Activities Association says before anything can move forward along those lines, it must first go to its coaches and administrators and survey them. The NMAA board of directors has final say on implementing a shot clock, and a decision would have to be reached by the end of this calendar year, NMAA executive director Sally Marquez said.
Eight states already have a shot clock – those state associations gave up their seats on the national federation basketball rules committee as a tradeoff – and Georgia is set to become the ninth.