(Reuters) - The NBA is cracking down on ‘piggyback’ intentional fouls, instructing referees to potentially consider them for flagrant violations. In a memo sent by Vice President of Basketball Operations Kiki Vandeweghe and Executive Vice President of Referee Operations Mike Bantom on Tuesday, referees were urged to take a closer look at the fouls.
“This is a potentially dangerous play against a player in a vulnerable position,” the memo on the NBA’s official website said.
“Please be advised that the referees have been instructed to evaluate such plays under all applicable playing rules, including the rules relating to Flagrant Fouls. “Players remain free to commit deliberate fouls during free throw attempts, but such fouls will be assessed as Flagrant if they meet the applicable criteria.” Intentional fouling has become a major debate in the NBA as more teams have employed it against poor free throw shooters and it has dragged out games for fans. Commissioner Adam Silver said last month that he is increasingly leaning towards the league looking to make a rule change that would outlaw the fouls.
Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Rutherford