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ESPN 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, “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.
While NBA commissioner David Stern says the league needs to expand its anti-flopping rules, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is funding a study on the practice.
David Stern’s NBA has been aggressively progressive, moving early on everything from globalization, a number of race issues, women in sports, drug testing and many kinds of technology. And now it’s ready to lead the way again, writes Henry Abbott.
One of Cuban’s companies has provided $100,000 to Southern Methodist University for an 18-month investigation of the forces involved in basketball collisions. The goal is to figure out whether video or other motion-capture techniques can distinguish between legitimate collisions and instances of flopping.
“The research findings could conceivably contribute to video reviews of flopping and the subsequent assignment of fines,” SMU biomechanics expert Peter G. Weyand, who leads the research team, said in a statement.
Cuban tweeted: “Is it a flop? Let the scientists figure it out . im paying for the research to find out.”
Stern said Thursday that stronger flopping penalties will be on the agenda when the NBA’s competition committee meets next week in San Antonio.
This season, the league instituted a video-review system that retroactively fined players for flopping. But only five players were fined $5,000 apiece in the regular season, and seven more have been fined that amount in the playoffs.
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Stern hinted at increasing the penalty for those found guilty of flopping.
“It isn’t enough, it isn’t enough,” Stern said in his annual pre-NBA Finals news conference. “You’re not going to cause somebody to stop it for $5,000 when the average player’s salary is $5.5 million. And anyone who thought that was going to happen was allowing hope to prevail over reason.”
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By Margaret Allen
Senior research writer, SMU Public AffairsView Archive →