Mavericks owner Mark Cuban thinks there is an easy way to tell whether or not an NBA player is flopping. All you need to do is look at the way that he falls when he draws an offensive foul.
"The biomechanics of force and resistance don't cause you to fall flat on your butt on contact, unless the defender intends to fall on his butt upon contact," he said last October when the NBA started policing flopping more closely.
But Cuban isn't content with simply spitting out his own theories on flopping. Instead, he just had one of his companies Radical Hoops Ltd. issue a $100,000 grant to Southern Methodist University so that their biomechanics experts can do an 18-month research study on flopping. It's unchartered territory for the SMU scientists. But Cuban is banking on the fact that they'll be able to find new ways to tell whether or not pro athletes are flopping when they fall on the court or field.
"The issues of collisional forces, balance and control in these types of athletic settings are largely uninvestigated," SMU biomechanics expert Peter G. Weyand said recently. "There has been a lot of research into balance and falls in the elderly but relatively little on active adults and athletes."
So SMU is going to conduct that research. Will it lead to any groundbreaking developments? Will it prove once and for all what is a flop and what is not a flop? Will it help eliminate flopping from sports? We won't hold our breath. But we have to give Cuban some credit here. The guy is going to great lengths to try and stop NBA players from flopping. And if this SMU research turns up any new evidence about flopping that eventually helps eradicate it from the league, he could go down in sports history.