Strategic fouls (SF) are intentional violations of the rules ‘in which the violator expects to be detected and penalized but expects some benefit to his or her competitive effectiveness’ (Fraleigh 2003, 169). Sometimes SF are widely viewed within a playing practice as acceptable—possibly as legitimate prices) e.g. stopping the clock in Basketball). In other instances, they are considered illegitimate (e.g., handling the ball to prevent a goal in dying minutes of a football match). And of course sometimes the issue is contested (e.g., fouling to stop a counterattack in football). My aim is to defend Converionalsim: Conventionalism: SF of a certain type in a particular sport is justifiable if there is a legitimate agreement or a convention according to which it is legitimate. Simply put, Conventionalism means that stopping the clock in Basketball is justified because there is a convention that it is legitimate. After briefly setting out the initial case in favor of conventionalism, I will utilize some prominent discussions of SF to challenge Conventionalism, and will offer a response to these challenges.
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