Board of Directors hands mercy rule decision to basketball committee

Regis Jesuit ThunderRidge boys basketball generic

(Jack Eberhard/

MORRISON — Colorado high school basketball is not going to add a mercy rule this season. But it may still be on the horizon.

On Tuesday, CHSAA's Board of Directors didn't vote on a proposal to create a mercy rule in boys and girls basketball for the 2016-17 season, wanting it instead to go through the basketball committee. The proposal would have created a running clock if a team was up by 40 points in the fourth quarter.

The mercy rule has long been considered by this Board, and CHSAA assistant commissioner Bert Borgmann, who oversees the sport, has been gathering feedback on it for a number of years.

Borgmann told the Board the the mercy rule was already on the basketball committee's agenda for its next meeting in February.

"Bert assured us that it would be be one of the first agenda items addressed by the basketball committee to come up with consideration of a mercy rule," said Board president Eddie Hartnett, the athletic director at Boulder.

The Board went around the table and each member provided feedback from their regions and leagues they represent. They reported both positive and negative feelings from leagues about the rule.

Ultimately, after a long discussion, the Board opted to not hold a vote and instead pass the topic onto the basketball committee. That committee meets on Feb. 2, 2017.

One major reason it was shot down: Schools and leagues wanted to have direct input on the proposal, either through the Legislative Council or the basketball committee. In fact the East Metro Athletic Conference penned a letter to the Board about that exact topic.

And, "Jeffco felt the same way," said Board member Jim Thyfault, the district athletic director of Jefferson County Schools, "and they really thought this was something that should go through the Legislative Council."

The Board agreed with that line of thinking.

"Ultimately, it probably isn't our decision 100 percent to make," said Board member Kathleen Leiding, a retired administrator in St. Vrain Valley School District.

At this point, the Board is going to let the basketball committee handle the mercy rule. From there, it would be voted on at Legislative Council through approval of the basketball report.

"We need to put it out there," Hartnett said.