How Many Fouls To Foul Out In NCAA? Quick Guide


The rules of college basketball are a lot different compared to the National Basketball Association (NBA). When it comes to fouls they are also different in how many are allowed.

How many fouls to foul out in NCAA? The rules state in a NCAA Men’s and Women’s basketball game a player is allowed up to 5 personal fouls before fouling out. This includes technical and unsportsmanlike fouls, Once a player reaches 5 fouls he is no longer permitted back into the game.

This will be a quick guide that will give you how the foul system works in (NCAA) college basketball including the bonus system that many people get confused and have a hard time understanding.

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NCAA Foul Rules

Quick Tip: N.C.A.A. ~ National Collegiate Athletic Association

Unlike the NBA in which you are allowed up to 6 fouls, college basketball allows you to foul 5 times before fouling out. If you are wondering why the NBA allows more than college, it’s simple.

The NBA plays 48 mins – 4 x 12 minute quarters.

The NCAA plays 40 mins – 2 x 20-minute halves.

NBA – 48/8 = 6  in other words 48 minutes divided by 8 equals 6 fouls.

NCAA 40/8 = 5 in other words 40 minutes divided by 8 equals 5 fouls.

Both leagues give you one foul for every 8 minutes of game time.

If the games goes into overtime no team receives more fouls because of the extra time.

5 personal fouls do not just include contact fouls, They also include technicals, flagrant and unsportsmanlike fouls. All these types of fouls count towards team fouls.

Bonus And Double Bonus

Personal fouls add up to team fouls when a team reaches 7 fouls they are in bonus which means that if they are fouled in any way that is not a shooting foul they will go to the line and shoot what is called a one and one. Now, this one and one means that if a player makes their free throw they will shoot another free throw. So you are awarded another free throw on a make.

If they miss their first free throw then the ball is live and in play for either team to rebound. This one and one takes place during team fouls 7, 8, 9.

When a team reaches 10 fouls it is called a double bonus and the player will shoot 2 fouls shots guaranteed no matter what the outcome is for any of the shots. Offensive fouls do not count for the bonus, it is just a change of possession no matter how many team fouls the opposing team has.

Foul Strategy

Coach’s will try to exploit fouls that players have to get them in more foul trouble for them to sit or get them fouled out. Even players that are in foul trouble need to be careful the opposing team knows and will try to draw offensive fouls.

When a player has 4 fouls and is in foul trouble he becomes passive on defense and players will exploit this by going at the player with 4 fouls to try and draw a foul or score as the defense is less aggressive.


When To Sub out an In A Player based on fouls

Half Fouls Subbed Out Subbed In
1st Half   2 Within 10 minutes into the first half Less than 5 minutes in the first half
1st Half 3 As soon as the player picks up the 3rd  5 -10 minutes into the second half.
2nd Half 3 Within 5 mins of the 2nd half 5 – 10 minutes into the 2nd half.
2nd Half 4 Anytime in the 2nd half Less than 5 mins left in the game.


The chart above shows the half, fouls and when to sub in or out during a game when a player has picked up fouls early or has one too many fouls. This strategy is to counter coaches exploiting players that are in foul trouble.

Strategy In The Bonus

If at the end of a game a team is down a couple of baskets, it can be beneficial to the team to foul a player that has a ball on the opposing team that shoots poorly at free throws. This would need to be done in the one and one bonus situation where the team only shoots one free throw and hope the player misses.

This is a good strategy as you are stopping the clock and you may get the ball as a poor shooter is on the line. Even if he makes one out of two, it still very good. Of course, every situation is different if there’s only a minute left and you’re in double bonus you are going to need to foul if your down. Regardless your stopping time and hoping they miss to give you an opportunity to tie the game.


Types Of Fouls

Personal Foul

The most common type of foul usually some sort of contact is involved, pushing, holding, and illegal use of hands etc. Basically you are making illegal contact, these fouls count as a team foul also.


There are two types of flagrant fouls, flagrant 1 and flagrant 2. Flagrant one is a hard foul that is unintentionally trying to hurt someone. Flagrant 2 is a hard foul looking like your going to hurt someone if not kill them. This can also be unsportsmanlike if the player makes no attempt on the ball.

Usually, these fouls are reviewed by the referee at the video review screen at the scorer’s table. They then determine if it is a flagrant 1 or 2.


This can also be a flagrant foul, unsportsmanlike fouls are hard fouls that a player makes with no play on the ball. The player gets hit and there was no attempt on the basketball.

Technical Foul

Usually a technical is during a dead ball meaning the play has stopped. If a player or coach gets two technicals they are out of the game and must leave the bench area. The most common type of technical foul is when a player disagrees with a call the referee makes.

If the bench or personal staff that works under the coach gets a technical foul, that foul will count as coach’s technical but does not go against team fouls. So he can not get another one on his own.

All fouls beside personal fouls unless in double bonus receive two shots.


Warning At 3 Fouls

Once you reach 3 fouls you are in danger of picking up another foul. This is where it’s late in the game and nothing is going right for you. You decide to let the referee know about it. Guess what? The ref gave you a foul for the last call and now you picked up a technical foul for arguing the call in the heat of the moment. Now your out of the game because you picked up 2 fouls when you already had 3.


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