Shot clock coming to high school basketball in Illinois

Jun. 11—Change is on its way for high school basketball in Illinois.

In multiple ways.

The most all-encompassing move the Illinois High School Association announced Tuesday morning is a 35-second shot clock will be implemented for use starting with the 2026-27 season in both boys' basketball and girls' basketball.

"The IHSA has allowed the shot clock to be used in tournaments and shootouts the past two seasons, and the overwhelming feedback we have received from coaches is that it is time to embrace the shot clock in all varsity contests," IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said. "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."

The change will be mandated at the varsity level, with the use of the shot clock for lower-level games (like freshman, sophomore and junior varsity games) determined by conferences and via mutual agreement by teams in nonconference games.

The IHSA also announced changes to its state tournament schedule starting with the 2025 state tournaments. The IHSA boys' basketball state tournament has been held at State Farm Center in Champaign the past three years, with all four classes playing 16 games in a three-day format.

The three-day format will remain, along with the 16 games in that time span, but instead of six games apiece on Thursday and Friday before the four state championship games on Saturday, the new format will involve six games on Thursday, five games on Friday and five games on Saturday.

The biggest change is to allow teams a two-day experience at the state tournament. In the past three years, if a team loses a state semifinal game, they turn around and play a third-place game later that same night.

The six games on Thursday will feature two state semifinal games in Class 1A, two state semifinal games in Class 2A and two state semifinal games in Class 3A. The 1A state semifinal games will start at 9:30 a.m., the 2A state semifinal games will start at 2 p.m. and the 3A state semifinal games will start at 6 p.m.

On Friday, third-place games in 1A, 2A and 3A will take place during the day, starting at 9:30 a.m. Then, the two Class 4A state semifinal games will take place on Friday night, starting at 6 p.m.

On Saturday, the day will start at 9:30 a.m. with the 4A third-place game before the four state title games take place in the afternoon and evening. The 1A state title game will tip off at 1 p.m., followed by the 2A state title game. The 3A state championship game will start at 6 p.m., followed by the 4A state championship game.

The same format will mostly be used in the IHSA girls' basketball state tournament, held at CEFCU Arena in Normal on the Illinois State University campus. The only changes will happen on Friday, with the two Class 4A state semifinal games taking place late Friday morning and into Friday afternoon. The IHSA said this change is made to allow schools who are competing in both the girls' basketball state tournament and boys' sectional championship games that night to be able to attend both.

"It's been fairly unanimous in the Illinois high school basketball community that moving the state tournament to a single-weekend format has been a success," Anderson said. "Our coaches believe 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."