Costly rule changes met with resistance
May 21. 2014 6:00AM
A shot clock in Class A high school basketball is going to cost South Dakota school districts thousands of dollars unless an amendment to the high school sports authority’s constitution is approved by its members.
With input from activities directors and superintendents across the state, the South Dakota High School Activities Association implemented a shot clock for A schools in April 2013. But some school officials want local education boards to have more say in creating rules with price tags associated with them.
In February, the Canton School Board petitioned SDHSAA for a formal vote by its member schools on a constitutional amendment to prohibit the body from implementing a shot clock in class A or class B basketball without a “60 percent majority vote in support of the rule change by member schools casting a ballot.”
“The reason it got to this (point) is that people felt that when things involve financial expenditures, school boards who are in control of the money should have a vote,” said Summer Schultz, Dell Rapids Superintendent, at a school boarding meeting Monday, May 12. “It’s more about the process than shot clocks.”
The district expects to spend more than $8,000 to meet the shot clock requirement – two shot clocks are required in both the high school and middle school gymnasiums – and another $568 annually for certified shot clock operators during games.
Citing cost concerns, the Dell Rapids School Board voted to reverse the shot clock mandate and amend the SDHSAA Constitution.
“If they’re going to send the school districts something that’s going to cost us (a lot), I want a vote on it,” said Troy Randall, Dell Rapids school board member. “I think it’s ridiculous that they tried to ram this through.”
Board member Matt Weiland agreed.
“I would hope that we get an option to vote on something like that,” he said. “The SDHSAA shouldn’t be a strong enough organization that they can mandate us to do whatever they want us to do.”
Officials in the Baltic School District – a B school - have a different opinion. The Baltic School Board voted no to amending the constitution last week, but not because members want class A schools to use a shot clock, said Bob Sittig, Baltic Superintendent.
“The rationale behind the vote had nothing to do with whether we support or oppose a shot clock, but rather that we do not believe constitutional amendments should be used to write or change rules of specific sports or activities,” he said. “The constitution is for major issues that affect the overall organization.”
The amendment needs a 60 percent majority vote of support from school districts for adoption.
April 2013 – Activities directors vote on a proposal that would add a shot clock to both Class A and B at SDHSAA annual convention. Class A schools - 26 in favor, 21 against. Class B schools - 13 in favor, 49 against.
April 2013 - Motion to separate the Class A shot clock requirement from Class B carries.
January 2014 – A motion to rescind the shot clock decision fails.
March 2014 – Canton School Board submits petition to introduce constitutional amendment.
Proposed Constitutional Amendment:
The SDHSAA may not enact any rule that requires Class A or Class B schools to implement a shot clock at any level of boys' or girls' basketball without first obtaining a 60% majority vote in support of the rule change by the member schools casting a ballot.