John’s Mailbag: Transfers And Shot Clocks12/12/2016
For this installment of John’s Mailbag, let’s delve into a couple of questions that are often brought up.
Question: How many people do you have working on making sure that athletic transfers are following the rules?
First, a clarification: There is no such thing as an “athletic” transfer. Under Minnesota law, students are free to open enroll at the school of their choice. The MSHSL is responsible for governing the rules and bylaws of athletics and activities in the state, and student eligibility is part of that.
Another point to remember: The MSHSL is not the NCAA. The college governing body has an enforcement division which investigates possible rule violations. The MSHSL has no similar staff. On the high school level in Minnesota, the main responsibility for making sure these rules are followed falls to the schools.
When a student transfers from one school to another, administrators at both schools have a part in the process and sign off on the transfer. Yes, there is paperwork. Those documents come to the MSHSL office for review and approval. The student must meet one of five provisions in the transfer bylaw to be fully eligible; additionally, there are six specific provisions that can be appealed. There is also a hearing request process.
If you care to dive into the fine print, click the “Handbook” link near the top of this page. The bylaws regarding eligibility can be viewed there.
Question: How close are shot clocks to being implemented for basketball in Minnesota?
Sorry, shot clock fans. There is currently no strong effort to make shot clocks a requirement for high school basketball in Minnesota. The cost of installing shot clocks is an issue (this can be thousands of dollars), as is the cost to pay people to operate shot clocks during games.
In 2007 the MSHSL board of directors approved the use of 35-second shot clocks in limited circumstances: non-conference games and regular-season tournament games, on the condition that both teams agree. Boys coaches had pushed the idea, while girls coaches were largely silent.
The result has been a little underwhelming. Some gyms are equipped with shot clocks but they are rarely used. Small schools in particular seem to be opposed to shot clocks, based partially on the expense.
Shot clocks are used to some extent for girls and/or boys basketball in eight states (California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Washington). Because those states don’t follow national high school rules in this area, their governing bodies are not allowed to be part of the National Federation of State High School Association Basketball Rules Committee.
When the MSHSL shot clock “experiment” was approved in 2007, some people believed the desire for shot clocks would grow quickly. In a story I wrote for the Minneapolis Star Tribune after the board approved shot clocks, one athletic director told me, “This is one of those things where if we start experimenting today, two or three years down the road we'll all be using shot clocks.”
That was almost a decade ago and the fervor for shot clocks hasn’t exactly been overwhelming.
Keep those questions coming.
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"A Display Of Overall Caring, Sportsmanship, And Respect"12/10/2016
Wonderful things happen in high school activities, and many times they have little to do with the results on the scoreboard. Here is one recent example, as described in a letter from a basketball official to the MSHSL...
I am writing to tell a story regarding a boys game I officiated on 12/6/16, Annandale at Maple Lake. After the National Anthem, the Maple Lake coach, Mr. Staloch, took the microphone and began speaking in regards to a very serious medical condition that the grandbaby of Mr. Dolan (Annandale coach) has been going through for the past seven months. He also stated they are all very lucky to be able to play the game, but how small and insignificant this particular game means as there are more serious issues we all deal with.
Mr. Staloch stated that the “halftime shootout” proceeds will go directly to the family of Mr. Dolan, and a bucket will be placed at half court for donations.
At halftime, I found myself standing on the court, in awe, as the Maple Lake players lined up, and each made an individual donation into the bucket. Shortly after halftime, an announcement was made that more than $1,000 was raised for the family.
With approximately two minutes left in the game, Mr. Dolan asked me to stop the game for a minute. He grabbed the microphone, thanked everyone for attending the game and for the generosity that was extended to his family. There was not a dry eye in the place. Mr. Dolan walked over to me, shook my hand, thanked me for officiating the game, and allowing the events to take place.
While wiping away my tears, I explained it was my pleasure to be a part of this, and I wished him and his family all the best.
I am very proud and honored to have witnessed such a display of overall caring, sportsmanship, and respect that the Maple Lake staff, fans, coaches and players had for the visiting team's coach, Mr. Dolan, and his family.
It was a game I will honestly never forget, for reasons that had absolutely nothing to do with the game of basketball.
Thank you for your time, Dean Kerfeld Runestone Officials Association