BLOOMINGTON - The IHSA Board of Directors officially adopted the use of a 35-second shot clock for boys and girls varsity basketball, beginning in the 2026-27 season, in the monthly meeting held Monday at the IHSA offices in Bloomington.

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The shot clock had been used on an experimental basis in shootouts and in-season tournaments, such as the Prairie Farms Collinsville Holiday Classic, the past two years, and the overwhelmingly positive feedback from coaches encouraged the Board to implement the shot clock for all varsity games.

"The IHSA has allowed the shot clock to be used in tournaments and shootouts the past two seasons," said Executive Director Craig Anderson in a press release on the IHSA website, "and the overwhelming feedback from coaches is that it is time to embrace the shot clock in all varsity contests. We believe the two-season lead time will provide our schools with ample opportunity to install the shot clocks and get comfortable with them from both a coaching and game administration perspective."

Since the shot clock was introduced in the National Basketball Association for the 1954-55 season by Syracuse Nationals (now the Philadelphia 76ers) owner Danny Biasone, it's had a legacy of speeding up the game and create more exciting basketball. Scoring went up immediately, and the shot clock in the NBA was here to stay. It was adopted for NCAA basketball for the 1985-86 season at 45 seconds, and today, the shot clock is 30 seconds. The shot clock is a part of the National Federation of State High School Association rules, but is used by state association adaptation.

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The shot clock will be mandatory in all varsity games, and will be used in lower level games (freshman, sophomore, junior varsity, etc.) by either conference adoption or mutual agreement in non-conference games

In another basketball development, the IHSA revised the schedule for the state semifinals and finals, which will continue to be a three-day event for all four classes.

In the scheduling changes, which take effect next season, the boys and girls semifinals in Classes 1A, 2A, and 3A will all take place on Thursday, with start times coming at 9:30 a.m., 2 p.m., and 6 p.m respectively. On Friday, the Class 1A through 3A third place games would take place, with the first game starting at 9:30 a.m., and the Class 4A semifinals would be Friday night, with the first game at 6 p.m. On Saturday, the final day, the Class 4A third place game would start at 9:30 a.m., and then would be Championship Saturday, with the Class 1A final at 1 p.m., the Class 2A title game at approximately 3 p.m., the Class 3A title game starting at 6 p.m., and the Class 4A final at about 8 p.m.

"It's been fairly unanimous in the Illinois high school basketball community that the single weekend format has been a success," Anderson said. "Our coaches believe that this new schedule will provide an even better experience for all the student-athletes, coaches, and fans. We look forward to seeing it play out when we celebrate America's Original March Madness next winter."

In other actions taken at the meeting, the Board awarded the Bass Fishing state finals to Lake Shelbyville in Shelbyville for the next five years, from 2025-2029, and also awarded the inaugural girls flag football championship games to Villa Park Willowbrook High School for three seasons. The first state finals will be held at Willowbrook Oct 18-19.

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