Another View, Mine: November 2017

John Nieman

So the deal with intercollegiate sports, as I understand it, is that the athletes receive an opportunity to receive a college education in return for their participation in sports that, in some cases, provide the college or university with millions of dollars; and this arrangement is overseen by the NCAA. As I’ve opined in this space many times, that’s a pretty sweet deal for the schools and the NCAA.

Particularly, as is evidenced by the recent ruling from the NCAA regarding UNC athletics, when the NCAA cedes to the schools the issue of the quality of the education. I’m a former athlete and a lawyer, so I may not be exactly qualified to understand (and I admit my bias), but it appears that what the NCAA is declaring—in a nutshell—is that they don’t concern themselves with whether the student-athletes are getting a quality education—or even a marginal education—as part of the bargain, so long as they are not getting any special treatment. Because why in the world would the National Collegiate Athletic Association advocate in favor of athletes?

Many fans and observers have decried this decision because of apparent favoritism for the Tar Heels. As a former Heel, I will recuse myself from that discussion. However, what is to me apparent and undeniable is the bald-faced admission in this decision that the NCAA is taking the position that the part of the deal involving the educational opportunity afforded to the athlete is not within their purview.

Fully one-half of the equation for the bargain upon which the whole house of cards relies is not something in which they have interest. The NCAA is only involved—and very involved —in enforcing the schools’ side of the ledger. Ensuring that the student-athletes receive a meaningful opportunity for an education is just not their job.

If nothing else, this decision should be the opening for monetary compensation for these players to become a reality. It is about time.

Staying with players’ rights:

Papa John’s Pizza is blaming decrease in sales on NFL players taking a knee in protest of police use of force. Of course, that can be the only possible explanation.

But let’s see.

Papa John’s CEO—same guy who complained Obamacare would cost him too much money to provide health care for employees, same guy who settled lawsuit brought by employees for unfair compensation—is a fervent Trump supporter and Trump’s approval is way down. Possible reason?

People today are glued to their smartphones and related de­vices and other pizza companies are aggressively improving their online delivery systems and Papa John’s has not. Per Maybe?

Their pizza sucks?

The need of many to lay blame on those one feels are on the other side of the cultural divide is inviting and can often lead to that baseless blame to become a narrative. And so the simple act of kneeling during the anthem can be the cause of many problems which would seem to have no causative relationship.

If I can follow Papa’s reasoning, consumers of his pizza who otherwise enjoy his pizza are boycotting his pizza because they disagree with the protest of football players and believe because Papa John’s is the official pizza of the NFL, whose owners have not supported this protest, they should forgo the pizza they love, even though the CEO has been very vocal in his condemnation of the protest.

I tried, I can’t follow the reasoning. It appears to me that Papa John’s doesn’t have a lot of confidence in their customers being able to look at their smartphones and decipher facts. Perhaps that’s why they don’t beef up their online presence.

Was at Martinsville for the Hamlin-Elliot dustup. Denny was in the wrong. Just like Kenseth was wrong two years ago when he wrecked Logano. Martinsville is great for this type of thing. I write this piece prior to Texas and am therefore waiting until next month to comment.

Which I should have done last month with regard to the US men’s soccer team. I was ready to follow them to Russia. I ordered my American Outlaws scarf the day before Trinidad and Tobago.

More next month, but it is obviously time to say thanks and goodbye to most of the current team. It will be a couple of years before the team is participating in any meaningful competitions, so now is the time to scrap and rebuild. Our recruiting needs to expand throughout the country and not just in the hotbeds. Soccer’s new exploding popularity should translate into resources to accomplish that. Particularly if the federation actually uses the money they have and will receive. We have more registered players than any other country. We need leadership from the top down to erase this humiliation of failing to qualify for the World Cup.

I did not get to this point accidentally. I know pizza. Papa John’s is not very good. Fat Boy Index: 278.