What is a Technical Foul in Basketball?

what is a technical foul in basketball

Last updated on November 3rd, 2023 at 08:32 am

Technical fouls are unsportsmanlike conduct during a basketball game. A player and or coach can receive this violation for their behavior during a match.


Below are some common infraction examples of when a technical foul will occur during a game.


What are Examples of a Technical Foul in Basketball?


  • Calling a timeout when you don’t have any left in the game (excessive timeouts)
  • Coaches box violations, which mean a head coach interfering with a player or the ball
  • Damaging the rim on a dunk
  • Dunking during a dead ball moment
  • Entering the game without being announced by the referee
  • Excessive profanity to the opposing team
  • Fighting another player
  • Grabbing the basketball from the ref after a free throw
  • Interfering with the ball after a field goal or free throw
  • Physically touching a referee, which is illegal contact
  • Placing your hand over the face of your opponent
  • Shattering the backboard on a dunk
  • Taking a seat in the crowd after foul or during regular play
  • Taunting the opposing team, an opposing player, and or referee
  • Throwing the ball, your mouthpiece, water bottle, or something else at the referee


How Many Shots are in a Technical Foul?

how many shots are in a technical foul

One free throw shot occurs during a technical foul and a loss of ball possession for the team that commits the foul. Neither the offense or defense lines up to guard against a rebound from a technical foul.


What Happens After a Technical Foul Occurs?

When a technical foul occurs during a basketball game, the referee will blow on their whistle and signal a letter, T. The signal of the letter T tells the official scorekeeper what took place to record in the scorebook. The referee will sometimes point and or call out the name and number of the player too.


After the call, one opposing player, who was already on the court, goes to the free-throw line to take a shot with nobody on offense or defense. Taking a free throw without anyone on offense or defense is different from a traditional free throw. Also, the official shot clock stays at 14 seconds or moves to 14 seconds for the offense team after a technical foul call.


What Happens if a Player or Coach Receives Two Technical Fouls in the Same Game?

what happens if a player or coach receives two technical fouls in the same game

If a player or coach receives two technical fouls in a game, they receive an ejection via disqualification. Depending on the severity of the situation, they can expect a fine and or suspension from the league.


What is the WNBA Technical Foul Rules?

what are the wnba technical foul rules

Women’s basketball technical foul rules are similar to the NBA. The technical foul results in a free throw and a penalty loss of possession against the team. Fines against players or coaches can occur if the penalty is egregious.


What is the NCAA Technical Foul Rules?

There are three main categories when it comes to NCAA technical fouls. Each of these fouls below doesn’t count against a team fouls count.


  • Class A: Unsportsmanlike conduct, which results in two free throws and a loss of ball possession


  • Class B: Generally minor calls like holding on to the rim too long, slapping the backboard, and stepping out of the coaching box too often. Class B results in one free throw for the other team and a loss of ball possession.


  • Administrative Technical Foul: Too many players on the court, excessive timeouts, and defective equipment. An administrative, technical foul results in one free throw attempt and loss of ball possession


Do Refs Need to Give a Warning Before a Technical Foul?

do refs need to give a warning before a technical foul

There is no warning necessary before a referee calls a technical foul. It is up to the referee’s discretion to determine if they should or should not call a technical foul. However, sometimes you might see the ref warn the player to knock it off as a courtesy gesture to keep the game moving.


For example, there is always a bit of showboat after one player does something against a defensive player, so the ref won’t immediately call a technical foul. However, if the taunting goes to a new level which could look like a threat, the referee can call that penalty during the basketball game. Calling that penalty might stop a fight from occurring, which is why the foul is part of the game and up to the referee to enforce.


Conclusion: What is a Technical Foul in Basketball?

In summary, a technical foul is an unsportsmanlike conduct during a basketball game from either a coach or a player. The rule keeps the game’s flow moving without creating an unsafe environment via the playing area. For example, a quick taunt might not result in a technical foul, but excessive taunting might lead to a fight. Before that occurs, you will see an NBA ref step in to call the violation before things become ugly between the two teams.


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