What Does the Bonus Mean in Basketball?

In another article, I discussed some sorts of fouls in which I explained that a team is not allowed to commit more than four fouls in a quarter of play. Right away, any of the teammates made the fifth foul, the opponent team would be rewarded with the ‘Bonus.’ Now, what does a bonus mean in basketball?

Our today’s topic is all about the bonus, which is called the Penalty situation. As bonus word itself represents an additional thing as a reward. But does this mean the same in basketball too?

Definitely! In basketball, a bonus means that if one team has committed its maximum fouls either in a quarter or half-game, the opposing team will get a chance to make a free throw when the team member makes a foul.

However, there are different names of bonuses in basketball leagues. It is also called ‘in the bonus’ or ‘foul to give,’ and it is counted when a team has already committed five fouls. Besides, the bonus rules vary in different leagues according to the level of the game. 

Reason of Bonus in Basketball

Bonus is important in basketball because without this rule, the team would continue making fouls, and the other team won’t get any benefit in return.

Moreover, it would enable the team to continue making foul after foul, resulting in out of time, and the other team won’t get it to turn. However, the bonus would prevent the team from committing fouls repeatedly and keep them play legally.

Although this rule works the same in basketball overall, there is a slight distinction in different leagues such as the NBA, NFHS, NCAA, and FIBA. Let’s discuss this rule in every league.

Bonus in NBA

When a team has committed a maximum number of fouls per quarter game in the National Basketball Association, the opponent team will get the free throws in the same way as I discussed earlier. When any team player would make this foul, it would be counted as a team foul.

This rule comprises both loose-ball foul and defensive foul. However, some specific rules exist in the NBA to prevent the team from committing numerous fouls frequently without punishment. 

Besides, the NBA league contains a conspicuous bonus rule implemented in the last two minutes before the game overs. However, if the team makes only two fouls during this period, the rival team would be awarded a free throw.

Nevertheless, if the game gets an additional session to play and in this session, any of the teammates commit a foul, the entire team would be given zero points, and their score would reset.

Although according to the NBA bonus rule, if the team has made a non-shooting defensive foul, the opposite team would be given two free-throws.

Bonus in NFHS

In the National Federation of State High School Association, the bonus rule is known as one and one, which is implemented on the seventh foul.

The NFHS rule works the same as in the NCAA league but with a slight difference, which I would discuss later.  The NFHS rule of bonus is applied in all high school basketball sports, which is applied when a team makes the seventh foul.

However, in this league, the opponent team would get a double bonus, and the score of the fouled team would be reset when they commit a foul at the end of the first half-game.

This rule is known as one and one because if the free thrower makes his first shot, he will get one more free throw, and the team would get a double bonus.

Bonus in NCAA

The National Collegiate Athletic Association’s bonus rule is quite different from other leagues because it is usually divided into two halves instead of four quarters.

That’s why, when you come to the NCAA, you would discover this rule is somewhat stricter in which the team is permitted to make only six fouls in each session. Like NFHS, the NCAA bonus rule is also known as one because it gets a double bonus.

If a team makes a non-shooting foul, the rival team would be awarded a double bonus, allowing them to shoot free throws two times consecutively. Similarly, the team would be given a bonus when the opposite team would commit the seventh foul in the first half of the play.

But if the team has made the tenth foul, the other team would be rewarded with the double free throws. Yet, the overtime would be considered as an extra time of the second-half session of NCAA.

Bonus in FIBA

The International Basketball Federation has similar bonus rules as in the NBA, but there are some slight but key differences. The FIBA league is also divided into four quarters in which the team is allowed to make four fouls in one session.

However, when the team commits the fifth foul, the competing team would get a bonus. Yet the difference is that only defensive fouls would be awarded the free throws.

And like NCAA, the overtime would be considered an extra time of the last or fourth session in FIBA. Additionally, if a team has made non-shooting fouls, the other team would get double free throws.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can both teams get bonus concurrently?

Yes! Both teams can get a bonus at a time if both teams reach their maximum fouls. It could sometimes be both useful and useless for a team. 

Like a double bonus, can a team get a triple bonus?

No! a team is only allowed to shoot free throws a maximum of two times sequentially. But it also happens in some particular conditions.


Every basketball league follows all standard rules equally, no matter if there is a slight difference in an absolute rule. Therefore, a Bonus is one of the crucial rules in basketball, which prevents the team from performing too many fouls.

I have discussed the bonus rule in detail with different leagues. I believe, now you’ve got to know what a bonus is, and various basketball associations follow this rule. To clear more confusion, proceed to our FAQs.