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You’re Nuts: Should the NCAA adopt an anti-flopping rule in college basketball?

Your (almost) daily dose of good-natured, Ohio State banter.

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Everybody knows that one of the best parts of being a sports fan is debating and dissecting the most (and least) important questions in the sporting world with your friends. So, we’re bringing that to the pages of LGHL with our favorite head-to-head column: You’re Nuts.

In You’re Nuts, two LGHL staff members will take differing sides of one question and argue their opinions passionately. Then, in the end, it’s up to you to determine who’s right and who’s nuts.

Today’s Question: Should the NCAA adopt an anti-flopping rule in college basketball?

For context:


Jami’s Take:

A few days ago, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Committee recommended that flopping — or faking being fouled — should result in a technical, and the part of me that frequently yells, “GET UP, YOU GIANT BABY” at the TV is absolutely ecstatic about this development.

The rule change still needs to be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Committee, which is set to discuss the changes on June 3. But lucky for you all, my friend Matt and I couldn’t wait until then to debate this proposed change, so we’re here today to present our cases.

Under the current rules, players are given a warning the first time officials determine they embellished on being contacted. But if the changes are approved, they would be given a Class B technical and the opposing team would be given one free-throw. The player who flops would not be given a personal foul.

I am sure Matt will have some valid (albeit still WRONG) counterpoints here. But I’m so tired of seeing grown men fall to the ground and moan for show, and it’s time for increased regulation on this front. This isn’t Premier League soccer. Put on your big boy pants, stand up and play the game, you whiners.

One (Matt, for example) could argue that flopping is not the biggest problem facing NCAA men’s basketball today, and therefore it’s not where the committee should be investing its energy.

But not only is flopping unsportsmanlike, it slows down the game. To be frank, it’s cheap, and it’s not how basketball is meant to be played. Turning it on a bit in front of the refs can be innocent enough, but it reaches a point where it completely interrupts the flow. And it has the potential to shift a game’s outcome. Let’s say, for example, a player flops toward the end of a close game. Drawing a foul could lead to game-altering free throws. It could potentially put a key player in unwarranted foul trouble.

This is not the spirit of basketball. Yes, the game is about winning. But does your win count as much if you had to fake your way to victory? Not in my book. But it’s unreasonable to expect players to stop flopping if we don’t give them consequences for doing so. And referees are human beings — they’re not always capable of making the right call as to whether something is a flop or not. But if a player is risking a technical rather than a warning, they might be less likely to test the waters.

While it’s likely impossible to eliminate flopping altogether, a stronger stance from the NCAA could go a long way in discouraging it. It’s time to be tougher on this front.


Matt’s Take:

Jami, I understand that watching somebody flail around the court can be frustrating, especially when it costs your team possession, points, or a game. But, you’re right, I do have a lot of valid points arguing against this rule.

The first — and most selfish — amongst them is that watching these ridiculous flops is hilarious. Why would we want to rob fans of the glorious moments of incredibly strong and sturdy athletes throwing themselves around the court like proverbial rag dolls?

Exhibit A:

There’s a reason why I made a picture of Lebron James the header for this article. The King has turned flopping into an artform, and why would anyone with Ohio connections want to take that aspect away from the game of one of our state’s favorite sons?

Exhibit B:

As a former devotee of professional wrestling, I can’t help but watch Chris Bosh here (clearly inspired by his then-teammate, Lebron) and admire his commitment to the bit. It’s like he’s selling a bump that never actually materialized. He knows that in the match script he’s supposed to go down here, but when Carlos Boozer doesn’t make contact, what he’s supposed to do?

It’s like the Rock missing the Big Show’s head. Show knows what’s coming, so he can’t ignore it. So, he just goes with.

Why would you want to take away this potential hilarity from the college game?

Exhibit C:

I actually don’t have another point to say here, I just love this gif where literally the tiniest contact results in the biggest of flops. It also gives me an excuse to include another wrestling gif from an old 1-2-3 Kid vs. Jeff Jarrett (I think) match.

And, ok, I admit it, that was all a bit tongue-in-cheek, but I do live for these guys thrashing around the floor with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. It reminds me that even though they are all superhumans who play a game for a living, there are other things that they kind of suck at.

But, the real reason why this rule is a bad idea is because... have you seen college basketball refs lately? They are atrocious at calling real, actual fouls, and now you want to give them jurisdiction over determining whether or not something is a fake foul?

You want to talk about slowing down and/or interrupting the flow of the game? Can you imagine how many times refs are going to have to stop the game to go to the monitors to “confirm” that something was in fact a flop? What a nightmare. The ends of games already are laboriously drawn out as it is, but we’re going to give them another reason to put a stop to the action? No thanks.

Refereeing basketball, perhaps more so than any other sport, is all about judging degrees. You can make contact with a player, but not too much contact. You can hit a player in the act of shooting, but only if your body goes up straight enough. You can run over a player, but only if they aren’t completely set.

The act of officiating basketball is being able to differentiate between fair and foul given the most minute of distinctions. That’s literally the job. If there is a foul, call it. If there isn’t, then the flopper has just put themself and their team at a disadvantage by falling to the floor.

If you add an additional penalty into the mix, what you’re doing is taking an already often tedious game and injecting it with an extra level of painfully long reviews (that’s what the NCAA needs to regulate out of the game, if you ask me) and potentially impacting the outcome of a game — as you said you want to avoid — by putting this type of decision in the hands of officials who have proven over the years to already be incapable of enforcing the rules currently on the books.

My feelings on all sports is that when considering rule changes like this, the first responsibility is to protect the safety and well-being of the players, but beyond that, leagues and governing bodies should make rules solely for the benefit of fans and viewers.

To me, given the Big Ten #RefShow that we’ve been subjected to over the years, this would result in the opposite occurring. If it’s a foul, call the foul. If it’s not, play on. If you want to talk about a dead-ball penalty where the refs don’t interrupt the game, but make a motion to the scorers table and they deal with it at the next break, I’d be happy to entertain that idea.

But, watching college basketball games, especially down the stretch, can be mind-numbingly slow and frustrating these days. I see no reason to put another tool in the referee’s belt of incompetence.