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Love it or Hate it, the One-and-One Foul is No More

A rule change made by the PIAA might have a big impact on the 2023-24 high school basketball season

The one-and-one free throw in Pennsylvania high school basketball has officially fouled out.

This summer the PIAA basketball rules committee approved two significant changes in how fouls are counted and the number of foul shots a player receives.

I think that the new free throw rule will change the game in a profound way. I think that it will make the game more physical and harder to come back in the fourth quarter when down.

— Tyrone girls head coach Mike Whitling

Starting this season, players who used to receive a one-and-one bonus will now take two foul shots. Team fouls will be reset every quarter, rather than by half, and only five fouls will be needed to reach the bonus instead of seven.

These rule changes started at the national level and have trickled down to the states. NFHS administrator Lindsey Atkinson released a statement in May explaining the reason for the national rule change, which Pennsylvania has adopted:

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“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. 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.”

The full impact of these changes remains to be seen, but both Tyrone basketball head coaches agree that they will result in significantly different game planning by coaches.

“I think that the new free throw rule will change the game in a profound way,” Tyrone girls head coach Mike Whitling said. “I think that it will make the game more physical and harder to come back in the fourth quarter when down. There will also be a lot more scrutiny on each foul call as it is a huge advantage to get to the bonus quickly in each quarter.”

Tyrone boys head coach Luke Rhoades thinks that the new rules will change the way teams play defense.

“Teams are going to have to learn to play defense without fouling. More aggressive teams will definitely be at a disadvantage if there are a lot of fouls called. Also, teams with leads going into the fourth quarter will be more inclined to hold the ball,” said head coach Luke Rhoades.

Teams will have to be more cautious about who they foul when falling behind in the fourth quarter.

The players also think the changes will have an impact.

“I think it is a game changer, just because everyone was used to [the old way],” said Tyrone sophomore Laney Woomer.

I believe it is going to cause more dangerous fouls at the end of the game

— PIAA Referee Derrick Soellner

Senior Dravyn Crowell thinks that the new rules will benefit teams that already have the lead.

“I think the new rules are an advantage [for us] because if we can get to the line early in each quarter, it’s an automatic two foul shots every time, if we can make our foul shots we can gain a good amount of points just from free throws,” Crowell said.

Officials will also have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders in implementing the new rules.

TAHS business teacher and veteran PIAA referee Derrick Soellner said he isn’t sure yet how it will affect games in the long run, but at least initially he has seen more negatives than positives.

“Although I have only had one game so far to see how this is going to affect the game, I believe this is going to lengthen the games, especially in the fourth quarter,” Soellner said.

Soellner said that he understands the rationale behind the changes, but he thinks it is going to be more difficult for teams to come back at the end of games, and instead of making the game safer, it may have the opposite effect.

“I believe it is going to cause more dangerous fouls at the end of the game,” said Soellner.

While it remains to be seen who is correct, there is no doubt that these rule changes will affect the way coaches coach and the way players play this coming high school basketball season.

This story was originally published on Tyrone Eagle Eye News on December 5, 2023.