Small High School Concern Over Shot Clock Cost, Staffing

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Montana will become the ninth state to adopt a shot clock in high school basketball next season, but not every school is eagerly counting down the time toward implementation.

Officials representing small schools competing in Montana's Class C have already expressed concerns associated with cost and staffing.

As reported by CBS affiliate KTVQ in Billings, the Montana High School Association estimates the cost to each school of purchasing a shot clock to be between $5,000 and $10,000. But even that range has come into question.

Broadview High School, for example, already has a scoreboard with shot clock compatibility. Adding the feature will cost less than $5,000, according to athletic director Kim Sorkness-DeCock.

"The basic one we have to have will cost $4,000," Sorkness-DeCock said. "But other schools that don’t have updated clocks will cost $20,000."

That money will come from most schools’ state-supplied general fund. "Things like books, supplies, things that we need in the classroom, desks, chairs, those kinds of things," Sorkness-DeCock told KTVQ. "So, yes, it’ll take away from that."

MHSA has made no indication that it will offset costs.

“It will be somewhat expensive," said Mark Wahl, who oversees the largest district in the state. "We will have one in each main gym, as well as the auxiliary gym at [Billings] Senior. We will also look into sponsorships to see if that would be an option."

Schools will also likely have to hire an additional staff member on game days to operate the shot clock. "Now we add another job? I’m never going to find them. I don’t know what I’m going to do," Sorkness-DeCock said.

"It’s a challenge to find people to keep the book, keep the clock, take tickets," Broadview-Lavina boys' varsity head coach Scott Severance told KTVQ. "It’s harder operationally to run a shot clock than a game clock, so how many stoppages of play will there be to reset the shot clock?

"What I’ve always questioned, is this a good use of resources, or is there a better way to use them to enhance the experience for the kids and players? The intent behind it is to improve play, but initially at least, until people get used to it, I think the quality of play is going to actually go down."

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