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Basketball Fouls

What is a foul in basketball? What the types of fouls that can be called by referees? Here's a summary and list of all basketball fouls.


A foul is called on any player who breaks the rules of basketball defined by in the rulebook for a league. Fouls result in free throws for the other team. A free throw is worth one point if it's made.

Basketball Foul

IMPORTANT: The foul types and rules of fouls differ at all levels of play in high school basketball, the NBA, college basketball, and FIBA.

Free Throws

If a team is in a penalty situation or if a player fouls another while they are shooting, the other team gets free throws. A free throw is worth one point. The number of free throws a player gets is based on the foul and if a team is in a penalty situation.

You can learn more about free throws in Basketball Free Throws.

Inbound Pass

When a player is called for a foul before a team is in a penalty situation, the other team gets possession of the ball at the nearest sideline spot. They must put the ball back into play with an inbound pass.

You can learn more about inbound passes in Basketball Throw Ins.


The referees in basketball are responsible for calling fouls and violations on players throughout the game. The crew chief is the head official and makes the final decision on the court.

Basketball Referee

Types Of Fouls In Basketball

There are lots of fouls in basketball.

Penalty Situations

If a team is in a penalty situation, they get additional free throws on every foul.

Foul Out

Players can foul out of the game if they go over the limit on the number of fouls they commit. In college basketball the limit is five fouls and in the NBA the limit is six fouls.

Glossary Terms

Basketball Fouling Tutorials

You can learn more about fouls by reading the following tutorials.

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