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VHSL Considers Basketball Mercy Rule

With final approval pending, the Virginia High School League Executive Committee last week voted to adopt a score-differential rule for basketball games in which the clock would run continuously in the fourth quarter when one team is up by 30 or more points.

The proposal passed by a 21-5 initial vote, but it will not be enacted unless the executive committee votes to pass it in December. The rule would take effect beginning with the 2010 school year.

In other preliminary votes Thursday, also pending final approval in December, the softball mercy rule would be reduced to 10 runs from 15, the same as baseball. If the visiting team is down 10 runs after batting in the top of the fifth inning, or if the home team is up by 10 runs after five full innings, then the game would end. That proposal passed 24-2.

For field hockey, if one team is ahead by six goals after the midpoint of the second half, the game would end. That passed 24-2.

The Executive Committee also voted 26-0 to make the eight-goal soccer score-differential rule -- that, too, would end the game after the midpoint of the second half -- the default rule for the state. The way the current rule is stated, districts have to vote to adopt it.

Individual districts would be able to opt out of any of the mercy rules in the various sports if they so chose.

George Mason Athletic Director Tom Horn, a member of the executive committee, said the basketball rule, if passed, could prove challenging for clock operators, because the score differential could fluctuate between 30 or more points and less than 30 several times in a matter of seconds.

“It’s not that controversial, it’s just the logistics of managing it,” Horn said.

By Preston Williams  |  September 28, 2009; 9:57 AM ET
Categories:  VHSL  
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Why is field hockey, a girls' sport, being subjected to a tighter mercy rule than boys and girls soccer?

It's a Title IX issue.

Rescind the rule now.

Posted by: bs2004 | September 28, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

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