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Mark Cuban ponies up $100,000 for NBA flopping study with SMU

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Mark Cuban on Shark Tank
Mark Cuban is paying $100,000 to fund SMU research on flopping in sports.  Chewthedirt.com
LeBron James of the Miami Heat
LeBron James is one of seven players fined in the 2013 NBA playoffs for flopping.  Therichest.org
Southern Methodist University
Biomechanic experts at SMU will study the collisional forces necessary to knock an athlete off balance. SMU/Facebook
Mark Cuban on Shark Tank
LeBron James of the Miami Heat
Southern Methodist University

After missing the playoffs for the first time in 12 seasons, the Dallas Mavericks aren't making many headlines these days. But owner Mark Cuban sure is. Cuban, who splits his time between the Mavs and an ABC reality show for entrepreneurs called Shark Tank, is teaming up with SMU for a scientific study of flopping

Widely considered the scourge of professional basketball and soccer, flopping is when a player takes a dive to create an illusion of conflict and draw a foul. The problem has plagued the NBA so much that the league announced an escalating fine scale for playoff flopping in 2012.

Miami Heat star LeBron James is one of seven players fined $5,000 for 2013 playoff flopping. If James violates the anti-flopping rule again, he faces a $10,000 fine. 

Right now, the decision to call a flop or a foul is far from scientific. Officials study instant replays but have no access to data on collisional forces, balance or control. That's where biomechanic experts such as SMU professor Peter Weyand hope to come in. 

"There has been a lot of research into balance and falls in the elderly, but relatively little on active adults and athletes," Weyand said in a statement. 

Weyand and a team of SMU researchers will study how much force is required to lose balance and what techniques officials could use when evaluating video. 

"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," Weyand said. 

Cuban awarded $100,000 to the 18-month SMU study through his company, Radical Hoops Ltd. Cuban announced his involvement in the study via Twitter.  

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