What’s a flagrant foul and what isn’t?

Posted: March 16, 2010 by Jared Field in High School

I read this after Saginaw Arthur Hill’s nine-point win over Flint Carman-Ainsworth.

From Mlive’s Hotbed Hoops:

What’s a flagrant and what isn’t?: In the first half, Demondre Chapman got the ball on a breakaway, looking to dunk. Arthur Hill’s Tyler Dwyer caught him from behind, giving a hard foul that sent Chapman sprawling into the wall, causing many in the crowd and on the court to look for a flagrant call. After conferring, the officials deemed it only a personal foul.

In the fourth quarter, Jones got by a defender and was going up for a layup when Chapman made contact trying to stop him. There appeared to be less contact than on the earlier foul on Dwyer, but the foul on Jones was deemed intentional, to the dismay of the Carman-Ainsworth crowd.

Both plays are judgment calls, but the intentional foul continues to be one of the more confusing calls to spectators.

Spectators, and I’m not exempt from this group, are often confused by what calls actually signify. Anyone want to clear this up?

  1. jmill says:

    This is what is upsets parents and spectators. Although I do not agree with the behavior you reported the other day about people being ejected from a game or parents yelling at the bench, I understand their anger. I makes it appear that the calls are determined by who you are or who you play for. Officiating has been a hot topic this year. I watch a lot of high school basketball and have a great understanding of the game, but I too often look at plays confused when they will call a simple touch foul, and not a hard one when someone is knocked to the floor. I know the job is not easy, but if you are going to do it, you should leave your bias in the parking lot of the schools you enter.

    • Y jones says:

      I am agreeig with you 100%. Everyone is so quick to speak on sportsmanship when the referees are intentionally making horrible calls. I believe they need to come up with a system such as seeking refs from out of state for games such as these. The refs do not know what they do to the players when they make bad judments or decisions.

  2. 1hshoopfan says:

    **An intentional foul is a personal or technical foul which neutralizes an opponent’s obvious advantageous position. Contact away from the ball or when not making a legitimate attempt to play the ball or a player, specifically designed to stop or keep the clock from starting, shall be intentional. Intentional fouls may or may not be premeditated and are not based solely on the severity of the act. A foul also shall be ruled intentional if while playing the ball a player causes excessive contact with an opponent (4-19-3)

    Contact after the ball has become dead that cannot be ignored is considered an intentional technical foul. (4-19-5c)

    If an opponent of the thrower reaches though the throw-in boundary-line plane and fouls the thrower, an intentional personal foul shall be charged to the offender. No warning for delay is required (9-2-11 penalty 4)
    Penalty…. 2 free throw shots and the ball,

    ** A flagrant foul may be a personal or technical foul of a violent or savage nature, or a technical noncontact foul which displays unacceptable conduct. It may or may not be intentional. If personal, it involves, but is not limited to violent contact such as: striking, kicking, kneeing. If technical it involves dead ball contact or noncontact at any time which is extreme or persistent, vulgar or abusive conduct. Fighting is a flagarant act (4-19-4).
    Penalty…. 2 free throw shots and the ball. Player who commits a flagarant foul is disqualified.

    2009-10 NFHS Rules Book.

  3. gregjohnson says:

    There is a lot of judgement involved with the officials and it seems to vary widely.
    Let’s go back and review the play the Jared posted pictures and had such a hot discussion about in the Creek v. Holly game at Holly. According to what is posted by 1hshoopfan out of the rule book. That situation at Holly should/could have been called “excessive contact”. Even though the defender is playing the ball the rule make the exception for force and contact with which the defender makes the play.
    For me, let the refs stay out of the way and get the big stuff that everybody in the gym sees and wants and let the rest go.
    I wasn’t at last nights game so it is hard to say, but; what was described should have been at least “excessive contact” when Chapman was fouled.

    • Ty Williams says:

      Jones getting the Jordan treatment?

      • jmill says:

        I was at the game last night and I don’t believe that either foul should have been considered flagrant. The players that were involved in those particular situations were clearly trying to block the shot, and made body contact in the process. Champman lost his footing and Jones is tiny and any contact with him looks worse than it really is. I think the question is more about fairness. You can’t call the same thing something different. Which is what happens in a lot of games. What’s a foul on one end of the floor, is a no call on the other in the same game. It’s just difficult to watch.

      • Jared Field says:

        I was wondering the same thing.

      • M. Anderson says:

        Maybe on drives but the dude gets mugged on almost every inbounds by about 2-3 players, that and when he is moving without the ball. They could call a foul every time on that but don’t. The thing about Pook is that he doesn’t shy away from contact and goes straight to the defenders which draws the foul

  4. Hoopsguru says:

    Flagrant or non-flagrant – High School officials for the most part err on the side of “benefitting” the “smaller” player. Bigs in High School are allowed to get pushed and shoved all game long by much smaller opponents and often get called for an offensive foul when they are just trying to post up a much smaller opponent. Also – quite often if a Big blocks a smaller kid’s shot and the shot is missed – a foul is called.

    In the situation you described – Dwyer on Chapman – you git a big on a big so no flagrant foul. In the other case you got Chapman fouling Jones – so it is called flagrant. I tend to believe (without seeing it) that the flagrant call was probably based more just due to the size difference of the players involved as opposed to Jones getting preferential treatment due to being a Mr. Basketball Finalist.

    Conclusion – Big get an unfair deal in high school from the refs.

  5. Pulley says:

    “An intentional foul is a personal or technical foul which neutralizes an opponent’s obvious advantageous position. ”

    Dwyer to Chapman sounds like this.

  6. 1hshoopfan says:

    Let’s call it what it is, you can’t use the word “flagrant”. That terminology means you have to eject the player. It is intentional or not seems to be the question. Flagrant is a malacious act.
    I disagree with your conclusion.
    Sometimes the problem is the officials assigned to these games don’t see this level of play throughout the season. The MHSAA assigns officials for all tournament play.

  7. I agree, but I believe it extends well beyond just high school the advantage that being small plays in this type of judgment situation. Even if you look at the abuse that mammoth Shaquille O’Neal takes nightly, but one bump from him with the body as he goes for a block is a flagrant all day (especially so in the beginning of his career). This I believe is in large part to the action after the foul or how hard a player falls. That is why the little guy will get the benefit. He falls as if he just got hit by a tank (which getting hit by Shaq might be akin to), while the big fells shrugs it off. I thought about when Big Bab recently took Shaq’s thumb out with a wild swing. Shaq shook his hand a bit, but had very little reaction. Can anyone imagine if Kobe had taken that same hit?

    • Hoopsguru says:

      It is more obvious though in high school because there are not that many bigs. Many games there are none and some games there is only one big. In the one big games, the big often gets in foul trouble.

  8. And excessive contact can be called on any foul, intentional or not. That appears to be the call that should have been made.

  9. tyler says:

    time out i wasnt trying to foul dee i was going for the ball you guys are blowing this way out of the way

    • jmill says:

      @Tyler, read the comments again. No one is saying that you weren’t going for the block. I saw the game and I don’t think either foul should have been considered flagrant, at least from my angle in the gym. Our discussion was more about the way games are called.

  10. Sloc says:

    I was standing right under the hoop on both calls. I thought Tyler could have easily been called for flagrant, intentional, whatever… He wasn’t, so no big deal. But if you arent going to make that call then there’s no possible way you can say Jones was intentionally hit… It was no worse than any other time he was fouled during the game. That was honestly one of the worst calls I’ve ever seen in a HS game… Everyone of us in the media (who could care less who wins) were shocked. You can’t change the rules in the middle of the game.

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