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OSSAA board shoots down basketball shot clock; looks at private-public changes

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Tournament of Champions: Memorial vs Dale (copy)

There won’t be a shot clock anytime soon in high school basketball after a proposal was voted down Wednesday by the OSSAA Board of Directors.

A shot clock won’t be coming anytime soon to state high school basketball games.

The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association Board of Directors during its monthly meeting rejected in an 8-7 vote a motion to adopt a 35-second shot clock in Classes 6A-3A starting in the 2024-25 season.

The OSSAA staff recommended the shot clock in the higher classes after a survey showed that a majority of those coaches were in support of the clock. There wasn’t that support in the lower classes.

Topics this week include OSSAA seeking a five-year state championship football host (should UCO in Edmond continue?) and moving Holland Hall basketball to Class 5A mid-season.

In another development Wednesday, the OSSAA will send out a survey to its members regarding potential changes to Rule 14.

Since 2011, OSSAA Rule 14 has addressed the perceived disparity between public and private schools by forcing the privates to play a classification higher than normal, based on prolonged success at a lower level. A Rule 14 committee has discussed recently whether modifications to the current criteria were needed to adjust issues of success in all activities.

“Everything is still preliminary,” said Bishop Kelley athletic director Lance Parks, who is a co-chair of the committee with Newcastle superintendent Melonie Hau. “It’s an emotion-laden issue not just select to Oklahoma. It always needs to be understood that a common thread for all of us is to use athletics as an educational platform. Through this process my hope is we have all learned more about each other.

“It’s been a collaborative process for us to find common ground to make athletics better for all kids.”

Among options for changes would be a playoff separation plan for football only where primarily 3A and 2A private and public schools would not compete against each other in the postseason; a separation plan involving all sports; tweaking the current success plan that results in private schools playing above their average daily membership numbers based on recent success in football only; tweaking the success plan for all sports; and no changes.

If a football playoff separation plan was adopted, it would occur after public and private schools played together in the same district during the regular season according to their ADM without bump-ups for past success. A potential change in the definition of success would be if a team reached the state’s top four in two of three seasons instead of the top eight during that length of time.

In 3A football, the last five state champions are private schools and three of the four teams in the 2022 semifinals were private schools. In 2A, Metro Christian won state titles in 2019 and ‘20 before moving to 3A. A majority of 11-man football schools are in 3A and 2A.

The success adjustment plan tweaking could result in the least successful public school teams moving down a class when a private school team moves up. Now, when the success plan bumps up a team, such as was the case last week in basketball when Holland Hall was shifted from 4A to 5A, the team that moved from 5A to 4A was Ardmore, due to its ADM numbers, not its lack of success.

In football, there is a cap on a successful team being moved only as high as 5A. That could be modified to 6AII. When Rule 14 was established in 2011, 6A had not been split — that did not occur until 2014. Also, the restriction of only moving up one class from a school’s ADM numbers could be removed.

Also under consideration in basketball, both the boys and girls teams from a school wouldn’t automatically be coupled anymore and both have to move up unless both teams’ success would warrant that to occur.

“It is a complicated situation and the Rule 14 committee is to be commended,” Cascia Hall athletic director Dave Reiter said. “Public and private schools are working together to find amicable solutions. The important thing is to keep the focus on the kids.”

Tulsa Public Schools athletic director Mick Wilson is on the Rule 14 committee.

“We came up with some options trying to address advantages and disadvantages and we feel like we landed in a good spot,” Wilson said.

Holland Hall athletic director Steve Heldebrand said, “We’re in uncharted waters. It will be interesting to see how it unfolds. There is so much up in the air.”

A bill was recently introduced in the Oklahoma Legislature by Rep. Randy Randleman, R-Eufaula, and Rep. Brad Boles, R-Marlow, that would require the OSSAA to establish a new category of competition for schools of restricted enrollment, effective with 2024-25 school year.

Also discussed at Wednesday’s meeting were requests for proposals sent in the process to select a host for the next five years for the OSSAA’s 11-man football championships that have been held the past four years at the University of Central Oklahoma’s Chad Richison Stadium. A decision on the site is expected by mid-March. And also discussed was OSSAA associate director Mike Whaley’s upcoming retirement, effective July 31.

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