If you thought the constant debate over NBA players and their growing propensity for flopping was taxing on the mind, consider the poor academics tasked with studying those specific antics thanks to money donated by Mark Cuban.
ESPN reports the Dallas Mavericks owner is funding a flopping study to determine what constitutes an actual flop:
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.
Just when you thought the debate and scrutiny over NBA players wildly throwing themselves to the ground wasn't outrageous enough, Cuban steps up to push the bar just a little bit higher.
As the report reminds, the NBA has tried to curb the amount of flopping in the league by instituting fines for each melodramatic instance of acting.
Unfortunately, flopping remains as much a part of the game as overpriced seats. Players given a flopping violation are hit with a $5,000 fine on their first offense, which is a drop in a very big bucket for most players.
Per the report, "A total of 19 players were given warnings during the season, and no player was assessed more than a $5,000 fine."
It's best not to worry your head on the problem of stopping flops from taking place around the league, because it's a losing battle. This example of gamesmanship has arrived in force in the Association, and it's not going anywhere.
That hasn't stopped Cuban and Southern Methodist academics from attempting to solve another problem that is just as daunting a task, as Cuban notes with this tweet:
Is it a flop ? Let the scientists figure it out . im paying for the research to find out. http://t.co/nGVHuPo6xF— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) June 7, 2013
Peter G. Weyand, an SMU biomechanics expert, expounds in an SMU post on the study:
The issues of collisional forces, balance and control in these types of athletic settings are largely uninvestigated. There has been a lot of research into balance and falls in the elderly, but relatively little on active adults and athletes.
Cuban and SMU experts are undertaking a grand study to show the world what constitutes a flop. For 10 dollars I could help them out just by using my own eyes.
Here are just a few examples of the most extreme versions the NBA could provide.
I don't need a study to tell me that in each case the acting was far more severe than the physical contact.
I enjoy the enthusiasm, but defining a flop will do little to rid the game of the growing scourge of athletic theatrics. We know exactly what makes a traveling violation, but we continue to see those take place every single game.
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