DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — Mark Cuban has long been a harsh critic of officiating in the NBA. But now, with the help of biomechanics experts at Southern Methodist University, Cuban is out to help NBA officials.
The issue at hand is flopping, or as school officials describe it, “a player’s deliberate act of falling, or recoiling unnecessarily from a nearby opponent, to deceive game officials.”
The Cuban-owned company Radical Hoops Ltd. has awarded a grant of more than $100,000 to fund an 18-month research study at SMU. The objective of the research is to “investigate the forces involved in typical basketball collisions”
“The issues of collisional forces, balance and control in these types of athletic settings are largely uninvestigated,” said SMU biomechanics expert Peter G. Weyand, who leads the research team. “There has been a lot of research into balance and falls in the elderly, but relatively little on active adults and athletes.”
Flopping has recently become a widespread issue in the NBA, prompting the NBA to adopt a set of anti-flopping rules.
“Flops have no place in our game – they either fool referees into calling undeserved fouls or fool fans into thinking the referees missed a foul call,” executive vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson said last October when the league adopted the policy.
Under the policy, any player guilty of flopping is subject to a warning, followed by a $5,000 fine for a second violation. The fine will increase $5,000 for a third and fourth violation, while a fifth flop will result in a player’s wallet being $30,000 lighter.
The research group will also explore the use of video in estimating the forces involved in a particular collision. With such a technology, the NBA could conceivably use science to assess fines upon video review.
“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,” added Weyand.
LeBron James and two Indiana Pacers were fined $5,000 in the Eastern Conference Finals for violating the policy.
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