Did you ever wish that blowout basketball game would just end already? Now it will, thanks to a rule change adopted today by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Board of Control.
It was one of three significant moves made today by the board, which also set the dates for this fall’s state football finals and completed its alteration of the postseason soccer format. (Details on both moves are below.)
But the headliner is the new mercy rule in basketball. Beginning next season, high school games at all levels (varsity, junior varsity and freshman) will feature a running clock once the margin reaches 35 points in the second half.
Once the margin reaches 35 points and the rule kicks in, the clock will stop only for charged timeouts, stoppages due to injury or blood and free-throw attempts. Once the official signals for the timer to stop the clock, it will start on the last missed free throw or once the ball is touched inbounds.
“This change helps ensure that the proper level of sportsmanship is emphasized, without having an impact on winning and losing,” KHSAA commissioner Julian Tackett said in a news release. “There are countless stories detailed about ‘out-of-hand’ contests and the negative impact on school and working relationships.”
Kentucky already uses mercy rules in football, soccer, baseball and softball, and adding one for basketball is a good idea, too. I’m a little surprised that the score at which the rule takes effect is as low as it is, but on the other hand it’s virtually impossible for a team that’s down by 35 to come back in 16 minutes or less with no shot clock.
Football finals set
The KHSAA board approved the dates for this season’s six championship games, which will once again be played in Bowling Green at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium:
- Friday, Nov. 30: Classes 1A, 3A and 4A.
- Saturday, Dec. 1: Classes 2A, 5A and 6A.
Game times were not announced.
The regular season opens Aug. 17, with the playoffs starting Nov. 2.
Soccer postseason changes
The state soccer tournaments will expand to eight teams this season, with a one-game semi-state round replacing the sub-sectional and sectional rounds.
Winners of the 16 regions will advance to the semi-state round. The 12th Region winners of the 12th Region, which includes all Advocate-area teams under the new alignment taking effect this year) will play teams from the 9th, 10th or 11th Regions under a six-year rotation.
The semi-state winners will advance to the state tournament, where pairings will be determined by blind draw.
“This is something our soccer coaches and advisory committee had explored for several years – finding a way to make this happen,” KHSAA assistant commissioner Michael Barren said in the release. “We are pleased with the solution the Board has approved and we will give it a chance to allow soccer to grow.”