HUNTERSVILLE – The N.C. High School Athletic Association at its spring meeting last week approved a “mercy rule” for football and basketball.

In football, if the point differential reaches 42 or more by halftime or afterward, a running clock will then be used (excluding timeouts). Or, the game can be terminated by mutual agreement of the coaches.

In basketball, if the margin is 40 more at halftime or after, a running clock will go into effect. It’ll run during free throws and other dead ball situations, not including timeouts called by a coach.

Area coaches generally were in favor with the ruling and agreed it wouldn’t change how they coached. Here’s a sampling of reactions:


Brad Baker, North Mecklenburg football:  “This has been an unwritten rule since I have been coaching … It allows for a non-competitive contest to end quicker, which results in less probability of injury, and it keeps a situation that could get out of hand (with competitive personalities) to remain as calm as possible.”

“I see the need for the rule, but coaches try to instill a never-quit attitude not just in football but life. Things are going to be hard on the field sometimes and it will be hard when you get a job sometimes, but you have to keep plugging. I have been on both sides of the running clock and it is fine to use, however, having a rule that brings attention to it could demoralize an opponent even more.”


Damon Bost, Hopewell boys’ basketball: “The benefit is that there would be a governor on how bad a team could lose by because there are some coaches who can’t or refuse to manage the winning margin of a game. The only disadvantage is that I could see where it could be more embarrassing to deliberately try not to score. … By approaching competition the right way, the coach can ensure that his team wins with class by controlling the margin of victory.”


• T.J. Albert, Community School of Davidson football: “I love the rule for two reasons. One, especially at small schools, (roster) numbers are limited. At a 1A school like ours, you have about 35-40 players. You realize when you’re down by 42, chances are you won’t come back. The second is for safety reasons. Losing 82-6 like we did a couple years ago doesn’t help anybody. I’m glad they’re using this rule.”


Bobby Williams, Lake Norman Charter girls’ basketball: “The use of a mercy rule is obviously designed to speed up the games. But the way I look at games like that, whether you're up or down by 40, it is a good opportunity to work on some things that maybe you can’t get in with a tighter game. However, not all teams use that opportunity to work on things and continue to run up the score. … There is also a safety concern in a game like that. Usually the players losing that type game are frustrated and may feel they have nothing to lose. And if the winning team keeps attacking and trying to run up the score, it can become a testy situation where you may encounter a "hard foul" in frustration. And nobody wants to see any kid hurt, especially if you’re up by 40.”


Tyrelle Anderson, Hopewell girls’ basketball coach: “It’s fine, because that’s a tough score to come back from. It will make the games go quicker. Sometimes the kids get upset and think we could’ve scored a lot more. It’s hard when your style of play is to go fast. Sometimes you see kids (losing) get upset. But I have no problem with the rule.”


Aaron Reeves, Lake Norman Charter boys’ basketball: “Yes I have been on both sides. When you are getting beat, it is tough all around. But winning by 40 is not easy either. Yes, you get your subs in but you still need to work on specifics whether it is offensive sets/techniques. You are also fighting complacency by your players, but you also don't want to create enemies or resentment from the other team. It is hard because players can begin to develop bad habits.”


Lopsided Games (2013-14 school season)



Independence 42, North Meck 0

Mallard Creek 55, North Meck 7

Hopewell 55, Garinger 0

Hopewell 69, Olympic 20

Mallard Creek 69, Hopewell 0

Hough 73, Robinson 0

Hough 61, West Charlotte 6

LN Charter 51, Pine Lake Prep 6

LN Charter 43, Village Christian 0

Forestview 63, LN Charter 7

Huss 55, LN Charter 10

South Point 55, LN Charter 0

Ashbrook 42, LN Charter 0


Boys’ Basketball

Hough 78, LN Charter 37

North Meck 84, Hopewell 40

North Meck 89, West Meck 49

North Meck 88, Mooresville 41


Girls’ basketball

North Meck 83, Independence 33

North Meck 89, Garinger 32

North Meck 74, Vance 26

Hough 67, Providence 19

Hough 57, York 15

Hough 73, Independence 28

Hough 69, Vance 8

Hopewell 64, East Lincoln 7

Hopewell 52, Vance 12

LN Charter 60, Cramer 9

LN Charter 82, Huss 18

LN Charter 67, Cramer 17

LN Charter 93, Huss 45