Crossing Your T's

Technical Advisor: Crossing Your T’s

By Billy Martin


Some techniques to keep you out of hot water and handle NFHS technical foul situations.


The events in a high school basketball game that precede an official calling a technical foul on a player, coach or bench personnel can be a simmering pot of verbal abuse that has finally boiled over; or an ‘explosion’ of conduct that seemingly came out of nowhere, but however you arrived at this moment, you and your crew need to be certain that you don’t add to the stress level by incorrectly administering the procedures for a Technical Foul.


Let’s take a moment to review a few key points related to properly administering a “T” in a NFHS contest; and close with a few suggestions that may help you avoid having to ‘drop the hammer’:


Each single technical foul carries the penalty of two free throws (FT’s) and the offended team taking possession of the ball at the division line.


Shoot FT’s In Order

If A-1 is fouled in the act of shooting, and B-1 receives a technical foul for protesting the call, A-1 shoots the FT’s FIRST (with no players lined up), THEN Team A shoots the FT’s for the technical foul.


Shoot The FT’s At The Right Basket — An obvious statement, but not always automatic when your heart is racing a bit and you’re moving from both benches and the scorer’s table explaining the call.Double Technical Fouls (i.e. A-1 and B-1 start jawing at each other) result in NO FT’s being awarded to either team, and play is resumed at the Point Of Interruption (POI).

ALL Technical Fouls (Except Indirect Technicals) are tallied towards the Team Foul Count as it relates to the Bonus situation.

Players and bench personnel can receive a maximum of TWO technical fouls before being disqualified from the game.


Coaches are disqualified after TWO direct technical fouls, or a combination of THREE direct/indirect technical fouls.


Head coaches are tagged with an indirect technical foul when another player or bench personnel are issued a technical for one of the following scenarios:


A player dunking or grasping the rim during warm-ups.


An unsportsmanlike act by an assistant coach, bench personnel, or a player after they have been disqualified.


A player removes their jersey/pants in the playing area.


A player leaves the bench during a fight/confrontation.


And any SINGLE flagrant foul (personal or technical) results in the automatic ejection of the player, coach or bench personnel, and the offended team will shoot TWO FT’s and receive the ball at the division line.


Now the time-tested adage of only responding to direct questions, and not statements made by coaches or players, is solid advice, but a measured remark by an official delivered in a calm manner to a coach (in lesser cases to a player) who seems to be squealing about everything (“over the back!”; “three seconds!”; that’s a walk!” etc., etc…) may help to dial down the temperature of the coach by offering a short, empathetic comment:


“Coach, I hear you; I’ll take a look at it.

”“Coach, give us a chance to ref and manage the game.

”Coach, that’s not what I saw.”“Coach, if it happened that way, then I missed it.”


If that doesn’t take some of the steam out of the coach, then you may want to consider offering a sterner comment that is accompanied with a clearly visible stop sign:

“Coach, that’s enough. No more tonight.”

And then step away and take your concentration and officiating talents up a notch, and be ready to handle your business, if the coach leaves you no other option.


It is true that, most times, coaches and players “T” themselves; the officials are just the messenger.


So if you have to call a technical foul; then call it, and be sure to administer it correctly, and you’ll likely find the game will flow much smoother from here. 

 NFHS Rule Reference: 10-1-4

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