As in the NBA, the art of embellishing contact has become widespread in college basketball
As the 2015 NCAA tournament gets into gear, Wall Street Journal sports reporter Brian Costa quoted SMU locomotor expert Peter Weyand for an article on flopping among college basketball athletes.
The article, “March’s True Madness: Flopping,” quotes Weyand and other experts on the prevalence of flopping in college basketball and the ability of referees to detect it.
The article published March 17, 2015.
By Brian Costa
Wall Street Journal
At some point during every NCAA tournament game, a player with the ball will bump into a defender. The defender will fall to the floor, seemingly blown backward by the overwhelming force of his opponent. And referees will be faced with a question that is becoming increasingly difficult to answer: Was it a foul or a flop?
Mimicking the NBA, where the practice has become widespread, college players are becoming ever more proficient in the art of flopping—embellishing or outright faking blows to their bodies to convince referees to call a foul.
The most flagrant histrionics have attracted widespread attention. In February, a video clip of St. John’s swingman Sir’Dominic Pointer flailing his arms in an apocalyptic tumble became a viral hit. But the savviest actors aren’t nearly as obvious about it.
“I’ve had countless games this year where you say, ‘That’s a flop,’ ” ESPN analyst Jay Bilas said. “There’s no way that amount of force caused that amount of physical reaction from the defender. You’d have to be shot in the chest with a bazooka to fall like that.”
Although the frequency of such plays is unclear—the NCAA doesn’t track offensive fouls—the powers that be in college basketball believe there is a problem. Belmont coach Rick Byrd, who chairs the NCAA men’s basketball rules committee, said flopping is becoming prevalent enough that he wants to address it at the committee’s next meeting in May. And it isn’t only happening with players trying to draw a charge. [….]
[….]Part of the issue for any league is the uncertainty surrounding an essential question: what amount of physical reaction should be expected on a given play?
“How much force does it really take in a typical basketball encounter to knock someone off balance?” said Peter Weyand, a physiologist and biomechanist at Southern Methodist University. “That information is not out there.”
With funding from Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, Weyand is leading a study to find out. Using people of various heights and weights, the study simulated typical basketball collisions and measured both the forces involved and the subjects’ natural reactions.
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