AHSAA approves shot clock for non-area basketball play, director Alvin Briggs retires in busy AHSAA Central Board meeting

Published 2:29 pm Wednesday, April 10, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

MONTGOMERY – In a busy AHSAA Central Board meeting on Wednesday, April 10 that also saw AHSAA director Alvin Briggs announce his retirement, the association approved the use of a shot clock during non-area basketball games.

The decision headlined other changes to wrestling, bowling, swimming and flag football playoff formats, regular season adjustments to basketball, cross country, football and volleyball and the election of next year’s Central Board officers.

In basketball, schools can now use a shot clock in non-area games only if both schools agree to its use.

The decision is the culmination of multiple years of lobbying the state for a shot clock.

In 2021, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) gave states permission and guidelines to adopt a 35-second shot clock starting in the 2022-23 season.

The guidelines resemble the old NCAA shot clock, not requiring newer rules like a partial reset of the shot clock off of an offensive rebound.

Most partial resets are left to individual states to decide as the only national requirement is to reset the shot clock to 20 seconds “when there is an intentionally kicked or fisted ball with less than 19 seconds on the shot clock.”

27 states used a shot clock in some form or capacity in the 2023-24 season, most recently Connecticut, Idaho, Minnesota, North Carolina and Oregon.

To help prepare officials to operate the shot clock and gather data, the Central Board approved its use in the AHSAA’s summer classics and the North-South All-Star Games in July.

In other basketball news, Class 7A schools are now allowed to extend their regular season by a week since they do not compete in sub-regionals.

That was not the only schedule adjustment to come out of the meeting as six other sports saw changes to their regular season or postseason schedules.

In wrestling, the Central Board approved adjusting the section and state wrestling schedules to accommodate girls wrestling ahead of its inclusion as an officially sanctioned sport in 2024-25, but new dates were not available at the time of publication.

The board also approved a measure that ensures wrestling placement in sectionals would receive “higher consideration” in the final seeding for the state meet.

Also, if a wrestler is disqualified in sectionals, that place in the state meet would result in a forfeit.

The board also approved cross-bracketing in wrestling duals playoffs. Cross-bracketing prevents the possibility of the same two athletes wrestling each other twice before the consolation finals.

Bowling saw multiple changes, including making the championship round a double-elimination round, changing the current sectional and state playoff format to follow the regular season format and extending the allowed playing dates from 20 to 22.

Swimming has a big change to its playoffs as sectionals are now eliminated and regular season times will determine state qualifiers. This follows the current format used by indoor track and field.

The board also put the final touches on the flag football schedule ahead of its inaugural season as a sanctioned sport in fall 2024. Each school will be allowed 15 dates for varsity and JV teams and 10 for middle schools.

It announced that it will develop a regular season and playoff format that corresponds with tackle football, but for now, it approved teams to play multiple playoff games on the same day and at the same site to reduce travel, similar to how last season’s playoffs operated.

The lone tackle football change was moving the first day for middle school games to the first Monday after the first day of varsity games. That day now aligns with the first day of JV games, which will fall on Aug. 26 this year.

Cross-country runners will be allowed to use GPS watches after the board waived a ban on them, and the board also ensured the season will last 10 weeks.

Last but not least, the board allowed the use of one official in a JV, freshman or middle school game only when the officials association informs the school it can’t assign two, which is the current minimum. This coincides with the ongoing national officials’ shortage.

Briggs’ retirement will be effective on Sept. 2 and comes after he served three years as the board’s director. He began the meeting by reading a prepared retirement letter after it was not listed on the meeting agenda, and his retirement was approved unanimously.

The Central Board also elected its officers for the coming school year, and the county will be represented at the highest level by Pelham High School principal Kim Kiel after she was named the board’s vice president. UMS-Wright football coach Terry Curtis will serve as president.

In other news, the Central Board took the following actions:

  • Approved the 2023 Super 7 and Football State Playoff financial report.
  • Approved 2024 financial reports for Regional and State Bowling, Duals, Section and State Wrestling, Indoor Track, and 2024 Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Basketball.
  • Heard a report from Associate Executive Director Kim Vickers concerning the Classification Task Force and approved their recommendations.
  • Approved the 2024-25 Required Forms release date and any form changes.
  • Approved the Strategic Process and Budget for 2024-2009.
  • Approved Wilson’s official volleyball for 2025-26 season.
    Heard a report from AHSADCA Director Brandon Dean concerning the 2024 Summer Conference and All-Star Sports Week.
  • Approved expenses for the 2024 NFHS Summer Meeting to be held in Boston (MA).
  • Approved the 2024-25 Calendar of Events, the 2024-25 Sports Calendar and the AHSAA Five-Year Calendar (2024-2029).
  • Discussed the current proposals to be addressed by the Legislative Council.