Friday, September 20, 2019

What Is a Sport?

SEPTEMBER 20, 2019 | written by Steve Ulrich
your must-read briefing on what's driving the day in NCAA Division III
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1. What Is A Sport?

Kendall Baker of Axios Sports dives into one of today's great questions ...

"The emergence of esports, breakdancing's Olympics debut (coming in 2024!) and the daily musings in "The Ocho" got me thinking…

What is a "sport?" Is any competition considered a sport? Does someone need to be keeping score? Is physical exertion required?
Sport, defined:
  • Oxford: "An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or a team competes against another or others for entertainment."
  • "An athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature."
  • Merriam-Webster: "A source of diversion," or "physical activity engaged in for pleasure or exercise."
Some thoughts:
  • By the first two definitions, non-competitive fishing wouldn't qualify as a sport, but Merriam-Webster accepts it with open arms — and many weekend fishermen likely consider themselves "sportsmen."
  • If I, as an amateur, decide to go skiing, that's not a sport. But if I challenge my friend to a race down the mountain, are we now engaged in a sport? If not, what would make it one? A set of rules? A trophy? Stephen A. Smith's expert analysis?
  • Board games like Monopoly are clearly not sports, but many consider chess to be one. In fact, former SI writer Tim Crothers said "chess is as pure a sport as there is."
  • In 2015, former ESPN president John Skipper famously said of esports: "It's not a sport — it's a competition." Ya know, just to introduce another word into the mix: competitions, sports, activities, games, the list goes on.
  • "Competition is the basis of all hip-hop culture," says longtime breakdancer Michael Holman, per NYT. "The DJ's compete … The MC's and rappers battle … the breakers battle." Absolutely true, but isn't that art?
The bottom line: There will always be activities that exist on the fringe of sports. In that case, perhaps the best definition comes from the Australian Sports Commission: A sport is a sport if it is ... "generally accepted as being a sport."

- D3Playbook is an avid reader of Axios Sports and highly recommends.
2. #CFB150

It's the 150th anniversary for college football, so we're keeping our eyes peeled for those Division III contributions that you might not know about.

Gallaudet University is Home of the Huddle. The first football huddle began in 1894. Gallaudet quarterback Paul Hubbard is credited with creating the football huddle during that season when Gallaudet went up against two different deaf schools. GU went 5-2-1 in 1894 and defeated the Pennsylvania Deaf School, 24-0, and the New York Deaf School, 20-6. Hubbard was worried that the other teams were stealing Gallaudet's plays because his signing was out in the open. He decided to circle up his teammates and the huddle was born.
After college, Hubbard moved to Kansas and became an instructor at the Kansas School for the Deaf in Olathe, Kan., where in 1899 he again used the huddle. Soon the system spread to football teams throughout the midwest. University of Illinois Robert Zuppke admits he took the idea from "a deaf team he saw somewhere."
Gallaudet is proud to have contributed to the great history of college football with this contribution to the game of football.

3. Weekend Preview

Field Hockey - NFHCA
  1. Middlebury (vs. Hamilton)
  2. Rowan (idle)
  3. Tufts (vs. #20 Colby)
  4. Salisbury (at #5 TCNJ)
  5. College of New Jersey (vs. #4 Salisbury)
  6. Vassar (vs. Ramapo)
  7. Bowdoin (vs. Wesleyan)
  8. Johns Hopkins (vs. Bryn Mawr)
  9. Franklin & Marshall (vs. Muhlenberg)
  10. Montclair State (vs. Gwynedd Mercy)

Football -
  1. Mary Hardin-Baylor vs. Belhaven)
  2. Mount Union (vs. Baldwin Wallace)
  3. UW-Whitewater (at St. Xavier)
  4. Saint John's (vs. Gustavus Adolphus)
  5. North Central (at #24 Washington-St. Louis)
  6. St. Thomas (at Hamline)
  7. Hardin-Simmons (at Howard Payne)
  8. Muhlenberg (vs. #25 Susquehanna)
  9. Bethel (idle)
  10. Whitworth (at Chapman)

Soccer (M) - United Soccer Coaches
  1. Tufts (vs. Colby)
  2. SUNY Oneonta (at RIT)
  3. Johns Hopkins (vs. Haverford)
  4. Amherst (vs. #15 Connecticut College)
  5. John Carroll (Sunday at Carnegie Mellon)
  6. Chicago (tie) (Friday at #9 Loras)
  7. Washington and Lee (tie) (Friday at Bridgewater; Saturday at Christopher Newport)
  8. Hardin-Simmons (idle)
  9. Loras (Friday vs. #6 Chicago)
  10. SUNY Cortland (at #21 Ithaca)

Soccer (W) - United Soccer Coaches
  1. William Smith (at Rochester)
  2. Messiah (vs. Denison)
  3. Middlebury (vs. Hamilton)
  4. Christopher Newport (Friday at Mary Hardin-Baylor; Sunday at #23 Trinity, Texas)
  5. Wheaton, Ill. (at Loras)
  6. Johns Hopkins (vs. Bryn Mawr)
  7. Amherst (vs. Connecticut College; Sunday at New England College)
  8. St. Thomas (at Illinois Wesleyan; Sunday vs. Carthage)
  9. Washington-St. Louis (Friday vs. Fontbonne)
  10. College of New Jersey (vs. Rutgers-Newark)

Volleyball - AVCA
  1. Calvin (vs. Bluffton; at Trine)
  2. Emory (at Brandeis; vs. Rochester; Sunday vs. #12 Carnegie Mellon)
  3. Claremont-M-S (Friday at Redlands)
  4. Johnson & Wales, R.I. (idle)
  5. Berry (Friday vs. Birmingham-Southern; vs. Millsaps; vs. Covenant)
  6. Chicago (vs. NYU; vs. Case Western; Sunday vs. Washington-St. Louis)
  7. Juniata (Friday at Eastern)
  8. Saint Benedict (idle)
  9. Trinity, Texas (Friday vs. Austin; Friday vs. St. Thomas, Texas; vs. Texas Lutheran; at JWU-Denver)
  10. Carthage (Friday vs. Concordia, Wis.; vs. Finlandia; vs. Rose-Hulman)

4.  Comings ... 

and Goings ... 
  • Ken Schumann announced his retirement as director of athletics at Pacific University at the end of the academic year.
  • Kyle Mars resigned as men's volleyball coach at Hiram.

5.  1 Family Thing

Is it me or is it dusty in here today?

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Thursday, September 19, 2019

When Chicago Dropped Football

SEPTEMBER 19, 2019 | written by Steve Ulrich
your must-read briefing on what's driving the day in NCAA Division III
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1. When Chicago Dropped Football

"The college president appeared before a faculty board with an unconventional recommendation. His university, a onetime football powerhouse in the mold of Notre Dame, should eliminate the sport altogether.
Too much money was flowing in, too much emphasis given to a venture far removed from academics. College football, he had previously argued in an essay, was nothing more than “crass professionalism.”
“But nobody has done anything about it,” he wrote. “Why? I think it is because nobody wants to.”
That president, Robert Maynard Hutchins, wanted to — and he did. Eighty years ago this year, the University of Chicago approved Hutchins’s recommendation to drop football, and though the university brought back the sport 30 years later, it was at a lower division: no athletics scholarships, no overemphasis, no huge scandals."

>> Opinion I: The U. of Arkansas president, J. William Fulbright - later a prominent U.S. Senator - commended the "courageous defense of the university and its true function."

>> Opinion II: George L. Cross, president of Oklahoma, went to the state legislature to defend a request for more funding. Years earlier, the Board of Regents suggested Cross sharpen his focus on football and build a program of which the state could be proud. By the time he approached the lawmakers, Cross’s Sooners had won a national championship. After he spent an hour outlining his plan, a state senator said: “Yes, that’s all well and good. But what kind of football team are we going to have this year?”

>> Quote of All Time: Cross’s reply would circulate in newspapers around the nation: “We want to build a university our football team can be proud of.”

>> Flutie Effect?Research shows that universities with sustained athletics success, especially private institutions, reap financial benefits. One researcher at the Harvard Business School found that when an institution’s football team “goes from being mediocre to being great,” applications increase by about 18 percent. But that surge rarely lasts. Within a couple of years, applications drop to baseline levels.

>> The Key Stat: The average FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision, aka Division I) in 2016 spent more than $16 million on football.

>> #Fire Staban: In 2016, Chuck A. Staban, former U. of Idaho president, dropped his school's program from FBS to FCS (Football Championship Subdivision, aka Division I-AA). The outcry was swift and damning. A @FireChuckStaben account emerged on Twitter, and among die-hard Vandals fans #FireStaben became a rallying cry. Staben says his car was vandalized, as was his wife’s. His home address was published on a fan website. Fanatics sent death threats, which he didn’t take too seriously until he and his wife were out of town while his daughter stayed home alone. In May, 2018, the board announced his contract would not be renewed.

>> Worth Noting: This billion-dollar industry, complete with millionaire coaches and facilities arms races, is the university’s front door, a moneymaker and reputation-builder. Staben said it’s difficult, as a president, to speak candidly about concerns over the game, which faces a litany of problems, including the looming concern of players’ brain injuries and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which have spawned hundreds of lawsuits against the NCAA and its member institutions.

- courtesy of the Chronicle of Higher Education
2. John Carroll Fuels Patriots Dynasty

"Like many college buddies, Josh McDaniels, Nick Caserio, Dave Ziegler, and Jerry Schuplinski wanted to go into business together after graduation.
Their business just happened to be professional football. And two decades later, business is good. The quartet now owns 18 Super Bowl rings.
“We thought that we would have a chance to do something cool,” McDaniels said. “I don’t know if anyone envisioned this.”

They are some of the most important contributors to the Patriots dynasty not named Tom Brady or Bill Belichick: McDaniels the whiz-kid offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for 12 years; Caserio the No. 2 man in the front office since 2008; Ziegler the director of pro personnel since 2016; and Schuplinski, now with the Dolphins, the assistant quarterbacks coach from 2013-18.

But before they were winning Lombardi Trophies with the Patriots, they were Blue Streaks — teammates in the late ’90s at John Carroll University, a 3,100-student, Division 3 Catholic school on the outskirts of Cleveland."
>> Between The Lines: Caserio, who wore No. 18, was the starting quarterback and team captain who graduated with more than a dozen school passing records. McDaniels, No. 12, turned himself into a crafty possession receiver after losing the QB battle to Caserio. Ziegler, No. 8, was a fearless, three-time All-American kick and punt returner. And Schuplinski, No. 44, was a hard-nosed fullback.
Together they helped lead the Blue Streaks to a 27-5 record between 1996-98, including the school’s first win in the NCAA playoffs, reaching the Round of 16 in 1997."

>> They Said It: “If you had told me that these guys would all be really successful, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised. The fact that they happen to do it in the game they love, I do have to pinch myself sometimes.” - John Priestap, receiver

>> DYK: NFL Hall of Fame coach Don Shula played at John Carroll in the 1940s. Three current NFL general managers graduated from JCU and linebacker London Fletcher put the school on the map as a player for 16 seasons.

>> Worth Noting: They don’t get back to John Carroll much, since they’re usually busy with the Patriots in the fall. But they send autographed Brady jerseys and other Patriots swag to John Carroll fund-raisers, and contributed video messages in 2017 when the Blue Streaks had a 20-year reunion of the 1997 playoff team.

>> Read More from Ben Volin at the Boston Globe
3. Hooray for Our Side
"We began our football season Sept. 7 with a loss in double overtime to Kenyon College, the alma mater of President Rutherford B. Hayes. It was a beautiful day for football. It would have been perfect, but for the score. It left me down in the dumps for about six hours afterward.

But here is something interesting: I found, on reflection, that I was disappointed mainly for our players and coach. They had a rough season last year and have been rebuilding. The opening game was a muffed opportunity to turn the page. They will have to find a way to revive their spirits before the next game against Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The Catholic University of America is a NCAA Division III school. That means we don't give athletic scholarships. I used to work at Division I schools -- Kentucky, Michigan, Notre Dame, Boston College. Their athletic programs are famous for basketball, football and hockey. They give scholarships and concierge treatment to the young athletes they recruit.

But to come back to the interesting thing: When I taught at those Division I schools, a loss might have put me into a funk, but in a very different way. It had nothing to do with the players -- on the contrary, I held them responsible for ruining my day. Winning at basketball (or whatever) was tied up with my sense of self-worth, and with the school's. I felt I was somehow more important as a professor for being associated with the national champion.

This is stupid."

>> Why It Matters: The graduation rate for the 2014-2017 cohort of Division I men's basketball players was 47%. For football, it was 58% to 62%, depending on the subdivision. At Catholic U., the athletes tend to be the best students.

>> Reality Check: This year, NADIIIAA gave CUA athletes their Community Service Award for work around the city on MLK Day. More than 500 athletes and coaches took part. The next month, the Cardinal football team won a prize for their support of the Special Olympics. The coach had to take the Polar Plunge.

Read More from John Garvey, president of Catholic University, courtesy of
4. Polls

Cross Country (M) - USTFCCCA
  1. North Central
  2. Williams
  3. Washington-St. Louis
  4. Wartburg
  5. UW-La Crosse
  6. Claremont-M-S
  7. Carnegie Mellon
  8. Calvin
  9. Johns Hopkins
  10. Pomona-Pitzer
11. MIT, 12. Carleton, 13. SUNY Geneseo, 14. Chicago. 15. Rensselaer, 16. Bates, 17. Otterbein, 18. Haverford, 19. Amherst, 20. Emory.

21. UW-Stevens Point, 22. Middlebury, 23. UC Santa Cruz, 24. John Carroll, 25. UW-Stout, 26. Elizabethtown, 27. Rochester, 28. Berea, 29. Case Western Reserve, 30. Dickinson, 31. St. Olaf, 32. Connecticut College, T33. Brockport, T33. UW-Eau Claire, 35. St. Thomas.

>> Moving Up: Claremont-M-S (+12), Emory (+9), Bates (+4), UC Santa Cruz (+4)

>> Moving Down: Case Western (-10), Pomona-Pitzer (-5), Berea (-5)

>> Hello: John Carroll, Rochester, Connecticut College.

>> Bye-Bye: DePauw, UW-Oshkosh, WPI.

Cross Country (W) - USTFCCCA

  1. Washington-St. Louis
  2. Johns Hopkins
  3. Williams
  4. Chicago
  5. MIT
  6. SUNY Geneseo
  7. Carleton
  8. Tufts
  9. Claremont-M-S
  10. Rensselaer
11. UW-Eau Claire, 12. Pomona-Pitzer, 13. Dickinson, 14. Rochester, 15. Oberlin, 16. Wartburg, 17. Middlebury, 18. Baldwin Wallace, 19. UW-La Crosse, 20. Wesleyan, Conn.

21. St. Thomas, 22. Carnegie Mellon, 23. Hope, 24. Bates, 25. Emory, 26. UC Santa Cruz, 27. Case Western Reserve, 28. College of New Jersey, 29. Washington and Lee, 30. John Carroll, 31. St.Olaf, 32. St. Norbert, 33. RIT, 34. Messiah, 35. Coast Guard.

>> Moving Up: Chicago (+6), UC Santa Cruz (+6), Claremont-M-S (+5),

>> Moving Down: UW-Eau Claire (-8), Wartburg (-5), St. Olaf (-5)

>> Hello: Bates, Case Western, John Carroll, St. Norbert, Messiah

>> Bye-Bye: St. Lawrence, Centre, Wheaton, Ill., Haverford, Otterbein, UW-Stevens Point, Brandeis.

5.  Comings ... 

and Goings ... 
  • Edward Burger steps down as president of Southwestern University effective January 2020.

6.  1 Beer Thing

During a recent broadcast of ESPN’s College GameDay, one fan had a clever idea. Before the kickoff of this year’s edition of one of college football’s oldest rivalries, Iowa vs. Iowa State, Carson King hoisted a sign. He held up his creation right in the path of the television cameras. It read, “Busch Light Supply Needs Replenished,” and included his username on Venmo, an online payment service.
Viewers saw the sign, and very soon King received more than a couple of bucks to replenish his tailgating supply. After the amount hit $600, King decided to put the money to better use, and donated it to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, The Des Moines Register reports. In the end, he raised about $11,000.
The best news? Busch Beer said it would match his donation. Cheers to that.

courtesy of Chronicle of Higher Education

>> Update: After matching donations by both Busch Light and Venmo, the hospital will receive more than $100,000. (Des Moines Register)
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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Meeting of the Minds

SEPTEMBER 18, 2019 | written by Steve Ulrich
your must-read briefing on what's driving the day in NCAA Division III
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1. Meeting of the Minds

The Division III Commissioners Association fall meeting begins today in Las Vegas. The group's September meeting has become the focus of the commissioners' professional development.
Items on the agenda include an update on the officiating initiative taken on by the DIIICA, a review of regional realignment, scheduling requirements for AQ conferences, committee updates and a possible strategic plan for the organization.

>> Situational Awareness: The DIIICA meets three times per year - January at the NCAA Convention, June usually in conjunction with a Regional Rules Seminar, and in September.

>> DYK: There are more than 40 conferences in Division III.

>> Be Smart
The focal point of the Division III Commissioners Association is for the membership to learn together and share with each other. Division III commissioners are unique in what they do and need each other in order to grow. In order to achieve this goal, the Association works closely with affiliated organizations such as the NCAA, NACDA, NADIIIAA, NACWAA, and the Division III Independents as well. The blending of those groups creates a national synergy that allows all memberships to work in concert to improve communications and ultimately, service student-athletes.
2. Conference Shuffle Continues
Division III conferences continue to make moves to bolster their membership and add automatic qualification opportunities for their sports.
On Monday, the Atlantic East Conference offered associate membership to St. Mary's (Md.) in field hockey, bringing the Conference's membership in the sport to seven. Also that day, the Great Northeast Athletic Conference added Lesley University to the fold as a men's tennis affiliate, bringing the GNAC's total to eight schools for the 2019-20 season.

In May, the New Jersey Athletic Conference added SUNY Oneonta, Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Wisconsin-La Crosse and Wisconsin-Whitewater as affiliate members in men's tennis..

>> What They're Saying: "We are excited to welcome St. Mary's to the Atlantic East Conference as the first-ever affiliate member. The partnership will help to strengthen field hockey in our conference and enhance the student-athlete experience." - Jessica Huntley, commissioner

>> What They're Saying II"St. Mary's College of Maryland looks forward to partnering with our colleagues in the Atlantic East Conference. "We believe this is a great fit and a tremendous opportunity for our field hockey program." - Scott Devine, director of athletics

>> What They're Saying III: “We are excited to welcome our new affiliate member programs and to provide them with the opportunity to be a part of our conference. This is a unique situation in which we are taking a group of like programs, some of which have not had the opportunity to compete in a conference for many years, and giving them a league home." - Terry Small, commissioner, New Jersey Athletic Conference

>> Between the Lines: Look for more possible movement by the remaining members of the Capital Athletic Conference - St. Mary's, Christopher Newport, Mary Washington, Salisbury, and Southern Virginia.

>> Be Smart: One of the major topics on the agenda is what constitutes "bona fide" conference play and how conference champions receive AQs..

3. Cuts at Edgewood
Edgewood College in Wisconsin will remove some faculty positions in order to reach a 13-to-one student-to-faculty ratio, according to Channel 3000.
The college's deficit doubled over the summer when its incoming class ended up being smaller than expected.
Interim president Mary Ellen Gevelinger told Channel 3000 that within one to two years, the college plans on bringing their student-to-faculty ratio to 15 to one. Gevelinger is unsure at this time how many faculty positions will need to be cut.
The current student to faculty ratio at Edgewood is 10 to one.
A plan for the cuts will be presented to the Board of Trustees during their Nov. 15 meeting, and faculty will be notified after that.
Additionally, the college is considering dropping or merging some of its less popular majors.
Over the past five years, enrollment has shrunk by 30 percent. Edgewood has just under 450 faculty and staff and enrolled around 1,600 students for the 2016-17 year.

courtesy of Inside Higher Education

4. Polls
Soccer (M) - United Soccer Coaches
  1. Tufts
  2. SUNY Oneonta
  3. Johns Hopkins
  4. Amherst
  5. John Carroll
  6. Chicago (tie)
  7. Washington and Lee (tie)
  8. Hardin-Simmons
  9. Loras
  10. SUNY Cortland
11. Calvin, 12. Capital, 13. Franklin & Marshall, 14. Mary Washington, 15. Connecticut College, 16. Stevens, 17. Rowan, 18. North Park, 19. Luther, 20. Puget Sound, 21. Ithaca, 22. Penn State-Behrend, 23. Augsburg, 24. Texas-Dallas, 25. Brandeis.

>> Moving Up: Washington and Lee (+8), Loras (+7), Mary Washington (+6).

>> Moving Down: Augsburg (-14), North Park (-8).

>> Hello: Hardin-Simmons, Rowan, Texas-Dallas.

>> Bye-Bye: Oglethorpe, Mary Hardin-Baylor, Claremont-M-S.

Soccer (W) - United Soccer Coaches
  1. William Smith
  2. Messiah
  3. Middlebury
  4. Christopher Newport
  5. Wheaton, Ill.
  6. Johns Hopkins
  7. Amherst
  8. St. Thomas
  9. Washington-St. Louis
  10. College of New Jersey
T11. Pomona-Pitzer, T11. Williams, 13. Case Western Reserve, 14. Centre, 15. New York U., 16. Swarthmore, 17. MIT, 18. Lynchburg, 19. Arcadia, 20. Chicago, 21. Claremont-M-S, 22. Wartburg, 23. Trinity, Texas, 24. Otterbein, 25. Springfield.

>> Moving Up: Case Western (+9), Swarthmore (+8), Centre (+6)

>> Moving Down: Trinity, TX (-12), Williams (-10), Otteberin (-9)

>> Hello: Arcadia, Claremont-M-S, Springfield

>> Bye-Bye: Misericordia, Loras, Trinity, Conn.

Field Hockey - NFHCA
  1. Middlebury
  2. Rowan
  3. Tufts
  4. Salisbury
  5. College of New Jersey
  6. Vassar
  7. Bowdoin
  8. Johns Hopkins
  9. Franklin & Marshall
  10. Montclair State
11. Ursinus, 12. Messiah, 13. Christopher Newport, 14. Williams, 15. Bates, 16. Rochester, 17. Trinity, 18. Centre, 19. Babson, 20. Colby.

>> Moving Up: Bowdoin, F&M, Ursinus, Williams (+2)

>> Moving Down: Messiah (-5)

>> Hello: Bates, Centre, Colby

>> Bye-Bye: Amherst, Hamilton, Endicott.

Volleyball - AVCA
  1. Calvin
  2. Emory
  3. Claremont-M-S
  4. Johnson & Wales, R.I.
  5. Berry
  6. Chicago
  7. Juniata
  8. Saint Benedict
  9. Trinity, Texas
  10. Carthage
11. Colorado College, 12. Carnegie Mellon, 13. UW-Eau Claire, 14. UW-Whitewater, 15. Wesleyan, Conn., T-16. Augsburg, T-16. Ohio Northern, 18. St. Thomas, 19. Wittenberg, 20. Hope, 21. Babson, 22. Transylvania, 23. Clarkson, 24. Ithaca, 25. Heidelberg.

>> Moving Up: Carthage (+9), Saint Benedict (+4)

>> Moving Down: Hope (-7), Wittenberg (-5), Colorado College (-4), UW-Eau Claire (-4)

>> Hello: Transylvania, Heidelberg

>> Bye-Bye: Pacific Lutheran, Mary Hardin-Baylor


5.  Comings ... 


6.  1 Coffee Thing

No more instant: Picky employees are increasingly driving companies to offer high-end coffee, with demand causing firms to go "a bit more niche and independent," the Financial Times reports.
  • The big picture: "Dedicated coffee-makers ... are one example of the caffeinated offerings that some companies deploy to keep their employees productive, happy — and in the building."
"Employees .. will make their voices heard if they’re not happy with this coffee," Glassdoor's Jo Cresswell told FT.
  • Each floor of Goldman Sachs’ City of London headquarters has a coffee bar, including one that serves single-origin coffee.
  • Landlords like WeWork brag up their "micro-roasted coffee bar," a major departure from the days of the instant variety.
The bottom line: For happy employees, dump the instant and get the good stuff.

courtesy of Axios
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