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SD schools vote down shot clock amendment

South Dakota Class A high school basketball will have the shot clock for the 2014-15 school year after a proposed amendment failed to receive the necessary support to halt the change.

It was announced Monday that the school boards from South Dakota voted 89 yes to 76 no on the amendment for a 53.94 percent majority vote. For an amendment to be written into the South Dakota High School Activities Association constitution, there needs to be a 60 percent majority vote in favor of the change.

All school boards in South Dakota were included in the voting process. School boards were the deciding parties for each school, while the original vote for the shot clock to be added to Class A for the upcoming school year was conducted by polling the state’s athletic directors from Class A and B.

The amendment was not put forward to stop the implementation of the shot clocks in Class A, but to instead keep the SDHSAA from making a ruling that may have financial consequences on the the school districts in South Dakota. The cost of adding shot clocks to a facility is between $4,000 and $5,000 for non-portable models, plus schools will need to find and pay operators for the clocks at games.

The Canton School District spearheaded getting the process started on the amendment vote and the school’s Athletic Director Eric Smart said he was happy that there was a formal vote.

“I think the biggest positive that will come out of this will be a process enacted that can take care of situations like this,” Smart said. “A number of schools felt that they did not necessarily want the shot clock; however, that amendment did not belong in the constitution.”

Smart added that he did not want to see the SDHSAA constitution become filled with sport-specific amendments.

“It wasn’t about the shot clock, although that is what started it,” Smart said. “It’s more about the financial matters and the board wanting a formal vote on those things.”

Area Class A schools that could be contacted Monday by The Daily Republic voted in the following way: Bon Homme and Parkston voted yes. Wagner, Plankinton, Mount Vernon and McCook Central voted no. Chamberlain table its school board vote until May 27 and its decision was unknown Monday. The Winner school board elected to leave the decision in the hands of Athletic Director Dan Aaker, who did not return calls seeking his comment.

SDHSAA Executive Director Wayne Carney said Class A will have shot clocks next year, but when asked if there was any recourse for schools still opposed to the change, he said, “You never say never.”

“As of right now, the amendment failed and we are moving on with shot clocks for next year,” Carney said.

Carney said that he does not see a problem with the shot clock implementation for 2014-15.

With this being a vote on a constitutional amendment, each school, regardless of class, participated in the vote. Carney said a breakdown of how individual classes voted on the amendment was not available.

Bon Homme Athletic Director Mike Duffek said the installation of the shot clock in the Bon Homme gym will cost just under $5,000. This includes a shot clock above the backboards on each end of the court and lights behind the backboards. Bon Homme elected not to put the shot clocks in the school’s auxiliary gym. Bon Homme has already sent a purchase order for the shots clocks.

“We had a mixed philosophy when it came to the amendment,” Duffek said. “We had board members that thought the shot clock was going to come. We weren’t voting just for the shot clock. Telling schools what they need to spend money on is what the bigger issue was, but I’m not sure.”

Duffek said the school plans to use money left from past fundraisers to help offset the cost of the shot clocks.

Class A joins Class AA in the use of shot clocks for boys and girls high school basketball in South Dakota. Class B will continue to play without the shot clock. If a Class B school plays an opponent on the road from a higher class, the shot clock will be used. If a school from the Class AA or A plays at a Class B school, the clocks will not be used.

The SDHSAA is also in the process of voting for new board members, but the results had not been tallied as of Monday.