Flopping has become a hot topic in the NBA, and outspoken Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has decided to commission a scientific study at Southern Methodist University to help estimate when players over-exaggerate contact on the court, according to a press release from SMU. The 18-month study will tap biomechanics experts for insights on how much force is needed to cause high-level athletes to legitimately lose their balance during the course of play.
The high-definition video replays on television broadcasts of NBA games have intensified the issue of flopping for referees and league officials in recent years. The angles and viewpoints afforded to referees during fast-paced action sometimes cause dramatic flops to go unnoticed or improperly called, and players continue to respond to competitive incentives to gain unfair advantages on the floor. Although the NBA's anti-flopping policy has led to fines after the fact for flops discovered in video reviews, fans aren't convinced that enough is being done to eliminate the problem.
Cuban has never been afraid to criticize the league or its referees. He was fined $50,000 dollars in January for complaining that his efforts to "fix the officiating" in the NBA have failed miserably, and he asked for ideas on what to do next at that time. It's good to see that he's managed to find a productive way to contribute to solving the problem of flopping. An aim of the study is to perhaps provide guidelines or new information to help the league in video reviews of flopping incidents.
Flopping is not a new problem in the NBA, but the new attention brought to the issue may finally force players to change their ways. How's that for a dramatic move?