“The referees have to officiate the play for its own merits. And that makes a really difficult situation. The rule is … contact that is not an attempt to play the ball or player, specifically designed to stop or keep the clock from running. And when a player puts two hands in the back and doesn’t make any attempt to play the ball or the player in front of him, it’s an F1 foul.” - J.D. Collins
Before we dig too deep here, I want to say that I completely understand how disingenuous it is of me to start picking apart the intricacies of the college basketball rulebook just a day and a half after I truly acknowledged that it's college basketball season. That's not at all lost on me.
Fortunately, I don't think I really need to be all that well read/watched to suggest that the difference between an intentional foul and a flagrant foul should probably be something slightly more significant than a player's effort level and acting ability. If a judgment call can cost a team an important possession late in a close game then maybe the assessment criteria shouldn't solely be how well a player can fake it to satisfy some silly, unnecessary amendment to a rule.
Conservatively speaking, I would say the intent of 100% of intentional fouls is to blatantly (and specifically) stop the clock, so why should it matter if the point of impact is the arm or the ass? My 2nd grade vocabulary tests were a lonnnng time ago, but - the way I remember it - the word "flagrant" had a very clear definition that couldn't be called upon in innocently making contact with someone during a physical sport.
Why not just condemn the phrase "intentional foul" in college basketball? If you are genuinely making an honest play on the ball or the man then the ensuing penalty can't possibly be on purpose. Extending the game is a strategy that's older than Adolph Rupp's racism, but you're not allowed to legally call upon it unless you hide it really, really well? I guess the referees technically made the "right" decision considering the ever-so-careful wording above, but that doesn't mean that you'd need anything more than common sense and the ability to read a situation to know that it was inherently wrong. If you're going to go "by the book" then don't decide to blow the dust off and get started on Chapter 1 during the waning seconds of a nail biter that's inevitably going to end someone's season.