National panel approves elimination of one-and-one free throws in high school basketball

Under the rules, common fouls in high school basketball will result in two free throws when a team is in the bonus. Additionally, teams reach the bonus with the opponent's fifth foul of each quarter.

Mitchell's Colton Smith (20) shoots a free throw during a Class AA boys basketball game against Sioux Falls Roosevelt on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, at the Corn Palace.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic

INDIANAPOLIS — National standards for foul administration and free throws procedures within high school basketball have been heavily altered ahead of the 2023-24 season.

Beginning next season, teams will reach the free-throw bonus when the opponent commits its fifth foul of each quarter and team fouls will reset at the end of each quarter. Additionally, all common fouls will result in two free throws when a team is in the bonus.

The pair of intertwined rule changes were approved by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Basketball Rules Committee at its annual meeting on April 24-26 and subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors. The South Dakota High School Activities Association adheres to NFHS rules in nearly all instances.

According to a May 15 release from the NFHS, part of the rationale behind the rule change was to reduce the frequency of rebounding situations that result in injury and to improve the overall flow of the game. The rules will replicate what is currently being used in women's college basketball, which plays in four quarters and resets the bonus each quarter.

“The rules committee studied data that showed higher injury rates on rebounding situations and saw this as an opportunity to reduce opportunities for rough play during rebounds,” said Lindsey Atkinson, NFHS Director of Sports and liaison to the NFHS Basketball Rules Committee, in the release. “Additionally, resetting the fouls each quarter will improve game flow and allow teams to adjust their play by not carrying foul totals to quarters two and four.”


Previously, teams were awarded the one-and-one bonus once their opponents committed seven fouls in a half and two foul shots when 10 fouls were committed. The rule change eliminates the one-and-one scenario and sets new foul limits each quarter for awarding the bonus free throw.

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