New York Daily News: Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban funds flopping study

NY Daily News Cuban flopping 400x300

New York Daily News journalist Amara Grautski covered the research of SMU biomechanics expert Peter G. Weyand, who is teaming with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban to investigate the forces involved in basketball collisions and the possibility of estimating “flopping” forces from video data.

The coverage, “Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban funds flopping study,” was posted June 7.

Flopping is a player’s deliberate act of falling, or recoiling unnecessarily from a nearby opponent, to deceive game officials. Athletes engage in dramatic flopping to create the illusion of illegal contact, hoping to bait officials into calling undeserved fouls on opponents.

The phenomenon is considered a widespread problem in professional basketball and soccer. To discourage the practice, the National Basketball Association in 2012 began a system of escalating fines against NBA players suspected of flopping, including during the playoffs, “NBA announces anti-flopping rules for playoffs.”

The Cuban-owned company Radical Hoops Ltd. awarded a grant of more than $100,000 to fund the 18-month research study at SMU.

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EXCERPT:
By Amara Grautski
New York Daily News

Instead of just wondering whether players like LeBron James or Lance Stephenson are intentionally hitting the hardwood, Mark Cuban is taking action by funding research that will delve into the fine art of flopping.

The Cuban-owned company Radical Hoops Ltd. awarded a grant of more than $100,000 to biomechanics experts at Southern Methodist University, so they can carry out an 18-month research study on the subject.

On Friday, the Mavericks owner said on Twitter, “Is it a flop ? Let the scientists figure it out . im paying for the research to find out.”

The NBA began fining players this year for trying to fool referees into calling fouls, and the league introduced an even stronger anti-flopping policy just before the 2013 playoffs. The postseason policy removes a warning for first-time offenders and now assesses fines immediately.

James, Stephenson and the Pacers’ David West were all fined $5,000 by the NBA on May 30 for violating the league’s anti-flopping policy during the Eastern Conference finals. Grizzlies guard Tony Allen was also hit with a $5,000 fine during the Western Conference finals against the Spurs. But before Game 1 of the NBA Finals, commissioner David Stern said the penalties still aren’t enough.

How could the research Cuban is funding help clear things up? In a statement, SMU biomechanics expert Peter G. Weyand said the “findings could conceivably contribute to video reviews of flopping and the subsequent assignment of fines.

“It may be possible to enhance video reviews by adding a scientific element, but we won’t know this until we have the data from this study in hand.”

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