NBA will reportedly begin reviewing flopping after games, handing out fines

The NBA may have finally decided it is going to do something about flopping, but how effective it will be remains to be seen. According to an Associated Press report from Thursday, league spokesman Tim Frank said procedures to deal with flopping are being finalized. In all likelihood, flopping will result in a fine this upcoming season.

It is unknown how heavy the fines for acting jobs could be. The proposed plan for dealing with flops would be similar to the way the league reviews flagrant fouls after the game to determine if they need to be upgraded or downgraded. If there is a play in question where it looks like a player intentionally deceived an official, the league will review the play after the game to determine if the player should be fined.

As we mentioned before when David Stern ripped players for flopping during the playoffs, a fine might not be that effective. If the foul is called at a crucial point in the game and a player successfully deceives the ref, the damage is already done. If you think any type of fine the league might levy would stop someone like LeBron James from flopping to get a call to help his team win in the playoffs, think again. Some of these guys make well over $20 million a year when you factor in endorsements. Whatever fine Stern decides to hand out probably won’t be enough, but at least it’s a start.

Women’s Tennis is experimenting with a device that will measure excessive grunting so players can be penalized

If I read the headline above, I would think it was a joke. It’s not. The Women’s Tennis Association is determined to put a stop to excessive grunting during matches. In order to determine what would be deemed “excessive” versus “allowed” grunting, the WTA and the International Tennis Federation are looking into developing a device that could measure on-court grunting levels. Again, this is not a joke.

According to the USA Today, representatives have begun discussing a new rule that would set “acceptable and non-acceptable noise levels based on acoustical data gathering and analysis.” When the rule is eventually put into place, players at tennis academies and junior levels of competition would be educated on the details.

“It’s time for us to drive excessive grunting out of the game for future generations,” WTA chairman and chief executive Stacey Allaster said. “The bottom line is that we want to bring forward across all levels of competition an objective rule through use of technology to make it much easier for athletes and chair umpires.”

The current generation of players would not be affected, as it has been determined by sports scientists that asking today’s players to alter their breathing techniques could hinder performance. Prominent players such as Caroline Wozniacki and Jelena Jankovic say they are in favor of cracking down on excessive “grunters” like Maria Sharapova and Monica Seles. The ITF is scheduled to make a presentation to some players during Wimbledon.

“We are going to let them know that at a point in time there will be a new rule in place where we are going to bring the noise level down,” Allaster said. “The sooner we can get them to alter the breathing technique the more success we can have.”

So yeah, this is happening. If listening to players grunt like this makes you angry instead of making you laugh, it appears you’re in luck.

H/T Deadspin
Photo credit: Susan Mullane-US PRESSWIRE

NFL players willing to pay fines rather than wear knee and leg pads

With any rule change there is bound to be opposition. Professional athletes are creatures of habit, and they don’t like having to change the way they have been doing things their entire lives. With the NFL recently passing a rule that will require players to wear thigh and knee pads in 2012, you could have guessed there would be uproar among many of the players. There is.

“Personally, I won’t be wearing them,” Raiders cornerback Ron Bartell told the Contra Costa Times. “So I’d better put some fine money away. It takes away from the speed of the game,” Bartell said. “Hip pads, knee pads, thigh pads. They’re not going to stop you from tearing an ACL. It may stop a couple of soft-tissue injuries, but a knee pad isn’t going to stop a guy from blowing out a knee.”

Depending on how strictly the NFL enforces it, there could be ways around the rules. As Bartell’s teammate, safety Michael Huff, explained, he and some other players doctored them while at Texas so they were tiny just to appease the authorities. Bartell and Huff are not alone in not wanting to wear the extra equipment next season.

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NCAA Decides to Close Loophole That Kept Cam Newton Eligible at Auburn

Cam Newton has officially changed the game of college football. With the way Newton played this season at the NFL level it may be easy to forget what happened with him at Auburn. Newton won the Heisman trophy and led the Tigers to a National Championship, but to say his college career was filled with controversy would be an enormous understatement.

A little over a year ago, Newton was reinstated at Auburn and declared eligible for the remainder of what would become a championship season. While it was determined that his father, Cecil Newton, tried to auction Cam off to the highest bidder, the NCAA could not prove that Cam knew about the illegal activity. As a result, Newton was allowed to play.

On Wednesday, a rule change assured that we will not see a repeat of the Newton situation. Here is an explanation from the USA Today:

The association’s Division I legislative council endorsed a measure Wednesday expanding its definition of an agent to encompass third-party influences – including family members – who directly or indirectly market an athlete for profit as Newton’s father tried to do as the quarterback was being recruited out of junior college.

Among the specific targets: anyone who “seeks to obtain any type of financial gain or benefit from securing a prospective student-athlete’s enrollment at an educational institution or a from a student-athlete’s potential earnings as a professional athlete.”

In other words, Newton would have been ineligible under the new rule whether he was aware of his father’s pay for play scheme of not.  Anyone who actually believes that Cam was not aware of what his father was doing is either extremely naive, the biggest Newton fan on the planet, or both.  Had the NCAA been able to prove it, Auburn would not have won a championship.  Fortunately, there will be no need to prove it should the situation arise again.

Former Titan Donnie Nickey Says NFL is ‘Destroying True Game of Football’

With all the outrage we are hearing about the new kickoff rule in the NFL, it is tough to imagine how the decision received enough votes to pass.  Thus far, it seems as though everyone hates the fact that kickoffs have been moved forward five yards.  The Bears showed their displeasure with the rule by ignoring it altogether in a preseason game.  Bill Belichick even told us that the NFL plans to eliminate kickoffs altogether, which would be a devastating blow and change the game completely.

Former Titans safety Donnie Nickey decided to weigh in on the subject on Monday.  Nickey sent an email blasting the NFL for changing the rule, saying they are eliminating jobs and “destroying the true game of football.”  The Tennessean shared the email with us and the entire thing is worth a read, so here it is:

Just a thought from an unemployed ex-Titan … In today’s economy industries need to be creating jobs. In the NFL, the new kickoff rule is eliminating jobs. The kickoff may as well be eliminated all together. For eight years I made my living covering kickoffs and I took pride in it. The kickoff may be the most violent play in all of sports but is one of the most exciting and game changing plays as well.

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Bill Belichick: The NFL Wants to Eliminate Kickoffs Altogether

After only one week of preseason games, a ton is already being made about the new NFL kickoff rule.  It is no secret that the rule change was put into effect to protect players and increase the amount of touchbacks.  An increased number of touchbacks means a decrease in high speed collisions.  There is one way the NFL could eliminate kick returns altogether, and that would be to eliminate kickoffs.  According to Bill Belichick, that is the direction the league hopes to head in.

According to Tom E. Curran of CSNNE.com, Belichick hinted on Monday that the NFL intends to eliminate kickoffs altogether.  When pressed further, the Patriots coach basically said it was a fact and not his opinion.

“That’s what they told us,” he said hastily. “I’m not speaking for anyone else. That’s what they told us, that they want to eliminate the play.”

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Bears Refuse to Follow New Kickoff Rule, NFL Cracks Down During Game

Any time there is a rule change there is bound to be opposition.  When the NFL decided to move kickoffs back to the 35 yard line, six teams were unhappy with the decision.  One of the six, the Chicago Bears, decided to do something about it during their first preseason game on Saturday.  Rather than adhering to the new rule, Chicago lined up and kicked the ball from the 30 yard line as if nothing had changed.

As Mike Pereira shared with us on Twitter, via Shutdown Corner, the Bears got away with kicking off from the 30 twice without officials noticing.  After the second time, the NFL’s vice president of officiating, Carl Johnson, called Soldier Field and made the officials aware of what was going on.  The Bears were then forced to kick from the 35.  Lovie Smith told the Chicago Sun-Times that his team’s decision to kick from the 30 was not a mistake.

“[Bears kicker]Robbie Gould … we can put it on the 35 and he can kick it out each time,” he said. ”We’re not really getting a good evaluation of what we can do coverage-wise on some of our players. That’s what we were trying to do with it.”

A lot of the players who are on the NFL bubble gain recognition on special teams during the preseason, so Smith has a point in that sense.  If there’s a touchback on every kickoff, guys are not getting a chance to showcase their abilities and state their case.  That being said, the rule was passed for player safety, which the league takes very seriously.  Lovie made his point but should not be surprised if the league makes theirs by penalizing the team.