HASTINGS, Neb. – With high school sports finished for this school year, many schools all across Nebraska are looking ahead to the basketball season that will look very different due to a new rule. 

The 2024-2025 basketball season may still be months away, but high schools all across the state are preparing for a 35-second shot clock coming to boys and girls basketball in Classes C and D.

The rule implementation has some ecstatic, and others still voicing their concerns.

"At first when it (the rule) came out, I wasn't real happy with it," said Harvard Public Schools Athletic Director Brent Williamson. "As I've talked to kids, other people, and some of the Class B schools that have it, I'm kind of going full circle on it, and I support it." 

Class A implemented a 35-second shot clock in 2022, and Class B followed suit with a shot clock last season in 2023.

Now, classes C and D will become the final two classes in Nebraska to adopt the rule beginning this season.

Directors with the Nebraska School Activities Association (NSAA) said they received loads of positive feedback from Classes A and B from the new rule in those two seasons and knew a full implementation was imminent.

"We contacted the schools and let them know that this was probably going to take place, we let them know that in January," said NSAA Assistant Director Jon Dolliver. "The official vote didn't happen until April, but we knew at that time in January after those district meetings that it had enough traction that it was going to pass in April."

Starting this basketball season, schools classified as Classes C and D must have two shot clocks connected to each basket that will give teams 35 seconds to shoot the ball.

The shot clock will reset after the ball hits any part of the rim or a change in possession. Unlike pro and college basketball which use partial resets after offensive rebounds, shot clocks at the high school level will always use a full 35-second reset. 

The shot clock will also be turned off during a game in the event where a team leads by more than 40 points. 

Adams Central is a Class C team that will be part of this new rule this year. Head Boys Basketball Coach Zac Foster is part of the Coaches Association Advisory Committee in District 4, and was a big proponent of the passing of this rule for many reasons.

"What we've really felt is it's best for the game, it's best for player development." said Foster. 

Without the clock, it’s no secret that many teams in Classes C and D would strategize to hold the ball to wind down the clock in certain situations, or other teams would be in no rush to get a shot off for the entire game.

"I've never blamed any coaches, who have taken advantage of holding the basketball and stretching the game out that way, because we've done it as well. I just think it's probably not the best in terms of flow of the game." said Foster. 

Another issue some schools had brought up in previous district meetings is the cost of the new shot clocks, which the NSAA says will set schools back anywhere between $6,000-$12,000 for the shot clocks and installation costs.

In January meetings, NSAA District members voted 134 ‘for’, 84 ‘against’, and 61 schools ‘abstaining’ before the rule was passed in April.

One of those 84 dissenters was Harvard in central Nebraska. The town, like many other towns with under 1,000 residents say they struggle with finding official scorebook keepers and scoreboard operators already.

Shot clocks are complex enough where each school needs another person to strictly operate it.

"We're not alone in this, everybody I talk to they have trouble just getting an official scorekeeper and somebody to run the clock," said Williamson. "We've got to find a third person that's going to want to run the shot clock, and it's going to be a pretty limited pool to pull from."

All parties have no doubt in their minds that there will be hiccups and errors with the brand new technology this year, and some teams having to adjust their play styles, but they expect everything to work out eventually.

"35 seconds is a long time, it just really limits people who are going to try and really shrink the game," said Foster. "You see that in big games at the end of the year. In 95% of the situations, it's never going to be a factor."