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Going Deep: Sports in the 21st Century

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Going Deep: Sports in the 21st Century is a BPR podcast and radio program that looks at some of the most pressing issues in sports and society.  The hosts are the husband and wife team of John Shoop and Marcia Mount Shoop.  John coached football for more than two decades in both the NFL and NCAA Division 1, while Marcia is a theologian, minister, and author of books such as “Touchdowns for Jesus and Other Signs of Apocalypse.”  Marcia says she’s the only “feminist theologian” she knows of that’s married to a football coach.  Their backgrounds allow the Shoops to engage the toughest topics with intellect, humor, and years of first-hand experience in big-time sports. No issue is out of bounds on Going Deep.  The hosts explore how sports are used to promote certain kinds of religion, the lack of rights for college athletes, and the unlikely alliance that includes a former NFL quarterback in pushing for the legalization of medicinal cannabis.  For the Shoops, a W.I.N. is when listeners Wonder, Investigate, and Notice the dynamics of sports in a new way.

If you would like to reach out to us or give us your thoughts on the show, email us at GoingDeep@bpr.org

John and Marcia Headshot
John and Marcia Mount Shoop

John and Marcia Mount Shoop have a lifetime of experience in sports as former athletes, coaches, parents of athletes, and as a football family for over two decades. 

John coached in the NFL and Division I College Football for twenty-six years. Coach Shoop has served as offensive coordinator and/or quarterbacks coach for some of the most storied franchises in the League: Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Oakland Raiders. He was also the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of North Carolina and Purdue University.  Currently, John is teaching U.S. and World History at A.C. Reynolds High School in Asheville, North Carolina. 

Marcia has a PhD from Emory University and a Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt University. She is ordained to the ministry in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Dr. Shoop is the author of Touchdowns for Jesus and Other Signs of Apocalypse: Lifting the Veil on Big-Time Sports and A Body Broken, A Body Betrayed: Race, Memory, and Eucharist in White Dominant Churches and Let the Bones Dance: Embodiment and the Body of Christ.  Marcia is the pastor at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church in Asheville, North Carolina.

Show List:

Super Bowl 56 - It's our annual Super Bowl episode - but this one comes in stages.  The day after John and our show's producer recorded it, former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores filed a lawsuit against the NFLalleging racial discrimination, sham interviews for coaching positions, and more.  We recorded a second time to include that in the show, plus we also feature part ofan earlier Going Deep episode where John and Marcia explained why coaching in the pros is far more difficult than in college.

Concussions In Contact Sports: A Solvable Problem - In this episode of Going Deep, our hosts go back to an issue they've spent much of their recent years discussing - concussions in contact sports.  They catch up with two engineers - Eric Nauman and Tom Talavadge - whom they first met while John was coaching at Purdue University.  They've talked with Eric and Tom before about their work on microconcussions, and they get the latest on what the pair have discovered in their research, and how it can be applied to sports like football.

From The Archives: Origin Stories & The Coaching Rollercoaster - This episode of Going Deep goes deep into our archives for two conversations that are just as topical now as they were when they were recorded in 2018 - Origin Stories Part 1 & Part 2, and The Coaching Rollercoaster.

The Jon Gruden Experience - This episode is not really about Jon Gruden, whom John Shoop worked for with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2004.  It isn't really about Bruce Allen either, who was the general manager of that team.  It isn't about the email exchanges between Gruden and Allen that were recently revealed that led to Gruden's resignation as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders on October 11th, 2021.  They're all just actors in the play.  This episode of Going Deep is really about the characteristics of white supremacy culture, as defined by Tema Okun.

More On Mental Health - In their last episode, John and Marcia only scratched the surface about mental health in sports.  They go deeper in this show, and they bring in an expert to help - sports social worker Natalie Graves of Chicago.

Unforgiving Contexts - In this episode of Going Deep, our hosts take some time to slow down and dive into two topics in the sports world which are getting varying degrees of news coverage - athlete mental health (a lot) and race-norming in the NFL (very little).

Youth Sports - Our hosts tackle a topic they've long wanted to in this episode - youth sports - and in particular, the trend toward having teens specialize in one sport at younger and younger ages.  Their guests include Jon Solomon of the Aspen Institute, which will release a 'children's bill of rights in sports' on August 12th.  Three members of the city of Asheville's parks and recreation department also join the program to discuss what's happening locally.

The 2020(21) Summer Olympics Special - On July 23rd, the 2020 Summer Olympics get underway a year late in Tokyo.  Because of COVID-19, these games are already unlike any other in the history of the Olympics.  To get ready for the games, our hosts showcase plenty of stories and facts from Olympic history - some well-known, and many not.  Their guest is David Wallechinsky, who wrote the definitive history of the Olympics The Complete Book of the Olympics, and served as president of the International Society of Olympic Historians from 2012 to 2020.

NIL, NCAA Inertia, And The Continuing Movement For College Player's Rights - On July 1st, six states will see 'name, image, and likeness' bills go onto the books - allowing collegiate players for the first time to make money during their college careers.  Will others follow suit, or will the NCAA be able to hold off the changes as it has since the verdict in the Ed O'Bannon case?  John and Marcia speak with Micahel McCann.  He's a professor at the University of New Hampshire, and a writer for Sportico.

MiLB Is Back (But It's Much Different Than Pre-Pandemic) - In this episode of Going Deep, we mark the beginning of the minor league baseball season this week with an episode that looks at the growing differences between the minors and college baseball. Our guests include the manager of the Asheville Tourists Nate Shaver, and the head baseball coach at UNC Asheville Scott Friedholm.  And for the first time, we take questions from our listeners! 

Not So Fast: Former Ivy League Challenges Universities On Racial JusticeRusell Dinkins ran track at Princeton.  He knows firsthand how the sport can help Black athletes get into college.  That's why he's made it his mission to stop universities around the country from cutting track & field and cross country programs - like at Brown, William & Mary, and Minnesota.  Dinkins joins our hosts to talk about his latest fight - to save track & field at Clemson #SaveClemsonXCTF

New Job At An Unprecedented Time: Alex Gary's First Year As An Athletic Director - In February of 2020, Alex Gary was announced as the new athletic director at Western Carolina University.  By the time the former Catamount baseball player started the job a few months later, the whole world had changed.  Gary recounts his first year as AD in this episode with John and Marcia, and what it was like to address all the challenges that arose.  He's the first Black athletic director at both Western Carolina and the Southern Conference.

Super Bowl 55 - Super Bowl 55 takes place Sunday in Tampa, Florida.  It closes a season like no other in the NFL - something just about everyone can say for themselves too.  Our hosts in their annual Super Bowl episode talk how the league responded to the pandemic, plus how the results of the NFL's call for more diverse head coaches remain lackluster - a discussion that pivots to the language white people use when talking about race.

Hello 2021 - Now What? - For Going Deep's first episode of 2021, John and Marcia delve deeper into the focus of their show - how sports in the U.S. mirrors American society.  Just a few hours after we taped their discussion - which mostly focused on college sports - the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol only underscored our hosts' message further.

The Intercollegiate - In this episode of Going Deep, John and Marcia talk with Daniel Libit and Luke Cyphers the founders of The Intercollegiate.  It's an online media outlet that focuses on investigative college sports journalism and analysis.

How Much Power Do Athletes Really Have? - The stature of athletes has always been apparent.  But how much power do they actually have in achieving social change?  Bomani Jones examined this in an August 2020 article in Vanity Fair.  The ESPN host and podcaster joins John & Marcia to talk about the power of athletes in this episode.

Chris Borland - As a rookie linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers in 2014, Chris Borland registered 107 tackles, even though he didn't start until Week 7.  He was even NFL Rookie of the Week that year.  With a seemingly long and successful career in the league in front of him, Borland retired after his rookie season over concerns about long-term brain trauma.  He joins John & Marcia discuss why he stepped away from football, plus his-post NFL life of preaching the benefits of meditation and his internship with former president Jimmy Carter's foundation.

Should There Be A College Football Season This Fall? (And Is That The Right Question To Ask?) - Two of the 'Power 5' NCAA conferences - the Big 10 and Pac 12 - have already postponed their football seasons due to the pandemic.  The three others - the ACC, Big 12, and SEC - are forging ahead...for now.  Should there be a season?  Dr. Victoria Jackson says asking that glosses over so much of what ails college athletics and the athletes themselves.  She's a professor of sports history and religious studies at Arizona State University, and former college athlete herself at UNC Chapel Hill.  She and the Shoops discuss her column published earlier this summer in the Boston Globe.

The Twin Pandemics And How They Intersect With Sports - We at Going Deep had to take some time off due to the pandemic, but we're back with a new show in a newly-expanded time slot.  The twin pandemics affecting the U.S. - racial injustice and the coronavirus - intersect with sports in so many ways.  The Shoops examined that in an op-ed for the News & Observer this summer.  In this episode, John and Marcia discuss those intersections with Dr. Deb Stroman, a professor at UNC Chapel Hill and former college basketball player at the University of Virginia.  She wrote a piece for Medium called "The Ultimate Guide to Selecting an Historically White College and University for the Elite Black Athlete." 

Start At Fair & Go From There Part 1 - Baseball - A fundamental question - not just in sports but life - is 'what is fair?'  Our hosts are going to start looking for answers.  John begins by looking at 'what is fair' in baseball, a sport that has to be asking that question now given the Houston Astros cheating scandal, which seems to produce new revelations each day.  His guest is former MLB manager Clint Hurdle.

Super Bowl 54 - This is our third annual Super Bowl episode of Going Deep.  One topic in these shows has been constant - race.  Ahead of Super Bowl 54, we look at the NFL's Rooney Rule, and how the number of minority head coaches in the NFL has decreased over the last decade.  We also examine gender roles in football.

Inside The World Of Women's Elite Running Part 2 - This episode of Going Deep picks up where thelast one left off, with Olympic hopeful and NCAA Division III steeplechase record holder Annie Rodenfels commenting on the Alberto Salazar scandal.  She and our hosts discuss the unfortunate significance of body types in women's running, and the rigors of training at an elite level.

Inside The World Of Women's Elite Running Part 1 - The world is learning more about women's elite running.  Unfortunately, that's due in part to the Alberto Salazar scandal, but there is far more to the sport than that.  And in this episode, our hosts delve into the world of women's elite running with NCAA Champion, NCAA Division III steeplechase record holder and Olympic hopeful Annie Rodenfels.  She shares how she got into running, and how training, coaching, and inner will pushed her to records during her time at Center College.  While at the school, she broke running records that were once held by our co-host Marcia Mount Shoop.

Does This Really Change Anything Part 2 - We continue the conversation fromour last episode on the October 29th, 2019 decision by the NCAA's top governing board to allow college athletes the opportunity to 'benefit' from the name, image, and likeness while in school.  After John and Marcia finish scrutinizing the bullet points the NCAA put out after its decision, they focus on two factors that play into the collegiate sports model - race and geography.

Does This Really Change Anything Part 1 - On October 29, 2019, the NCAA's top governing board voted unanimously to allow college athletes 'the opportunity to benefit' from their name, image, and likeness while they're in school.  That sentence - plus the bullet points that follow it in the NCAA release - have John and Marcia skeptical...very skeptical.  They express that skepticism and why they have it in the first of two episodes on the topic.

Name, Image, & Likeness - California's Senate Bill 206 - which allows college athletes to profit from their name, image, and likeness while in school - could be the legislation that breaks the NCAA prohibition on player compensation.  It passed both chambers of the California State Legislature unanimously in September, before being signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom.  Given their history in fighting for player's rights, both of our hosts are quite excited by this.  In this episode, John and Marcia talk with Ramogi Huma, a former UCLA football player who is the executive director of the National College Players Association (NCPA).  He helped push the California bill into law.

Our 50th Show - This episode is Going Deep's 50th show!  Well...at least this version of the show.  John and Marcia started Going Deep when they were in West Lafayette, Indiana.  In this episode, we trace how they made their way to Asheville, and look back at the guests and issues that have really stuck with them since Going Deep started coming out of Blue Ridge Public Radio's studios.

The Retirement Of Andrew Luck - The 2019 NFL season starts without one of the league's star players.  Two weeks before the season was set to begin, Andrew Luck announced his retirement from the game after just seven seasons.  The 29-year-old Indianapolis Colts quarterback's decision stunned the sport and fans.  This episode sifts through the reaction - including booing from fans - to look at the physical and mental toll the sport takes on NFL players, before concluding with a beatifully thought-provoking response from Marcia to the question 'What is a fan owed?'

Dr. Joseph Cooper Part 2 - In this episode, our hosts continue their conversation with Dr. Joseph Cooper, author of the book From Exploitation Back To Empowerment: Black Male Holistic (Under)Development Through Sport And (Mis)Education.  They focus on 'special admissions' that universities use to admit athletes - and how that really hurts and not helps the people who get them.

Dr. Joseph Cooper Part 1 - The Shoops welcome Dr. Joseph Cooper to the show in this episode, which focuses on his book From Exploitation Back To Empowerment: Black Male Holistic (Under)Development Through Sport And (Mis)Education.  Their conversation is so in-depth and engrossing that we've split it into two episodes.  In the first, Dr. Cooper talks about his upbringing and how it led him to write a book about how major revenue college sports exploit African-American males in particular.

USWNT - On July 7th, 2019, the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team won its second consecutive World Cup title.  Their dominant run in the tournament sparked some controversy, but even that only underscored what a cultural force the team has become, not just in the U.S. but globally.  In this episode we examine how that came be, and how a very well-known law helped women's soccer in the U.S.

Coaching In The Pros VS. Coaching In College - John Beilein is the latest big name college coach to jump from the NCAA to the NBA, moving from the University of Michigan to the Cleveland Cavaliers.  The college to pros pipeline has always seen a lot of action for the NFL and NBA.  But which level is more challenging to coach at - college or the pros?  One of our hosts has done both, and he shares his answer.

The Fairest Draft Of All? - With the month of June over, that means all four major North American sports leagues have conducted their annual player drafts.  With that fresh in our minds, John & Marcia sat down with BPR's Matt Bush to figure which of the four drafts is most fair to players, and which one they would want to enter if they had the choice.  

The Racism Of The NFL Draft - The 2019 NFL Draft takes place from April 25th to the 27th.  This episode doesn't focus on who's going to get picked and where.  Instead, it examines the language used to evaluate players - and John's chilling realization about one aspect of the draft combine process that resembles the darkest chapters of American history.

2019 Final Four - Where does all the revenue go?  Marcia asked that at the end of our previous episode, and we start our second annual Final Four show by answering that question.  Later on we get Machiavellian, and ask whether the end justified the means about the head coaches of two schools appearing in the 2019 men's Final Four.

Coaching 'Em Up Or Bullying And Other Stories Of March Madness 2019 - The 2019 NCAA Men’s basketball tournament will undoubtedly be remembered for many things.  One of them happened early on the first full day of the tournament.  As Michigan State struggled to put away underdog Bradley, Spartans head coach Tom Izzo started yelling at freshman star Aaron Henry as he approached the bench during a timeout.  Izzo became so heated as he yelled that Spartan players had to restrain him.  The controversy it sparked may have been predictable, bouncing between those who felt it was just old-fashioned hard coaching, and others who saw it as bullying.  Our hosts at the start of this episode seek to put the incident in a greater context and perspective – not just in coaching and college athletics, but our society as a whole.

The Kaepernick Settlement - In February 2019, Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the NFL over their grievances following the 'Take A Knee' protests that garnered so much attention and controversy.  What message does the settlement send?  John and Marcia decided to bring that up with the man they first talked to about the 'Take A Knee' protests on the show, Washington Post columnist and ESPN contributor Kevin Blackistone.  

The Cost Of Being A College Football Superstar Part 2 - In the second part of their conversation with Maurice Clarett, John and Marcia examine what happened to the star running back after he was kicked out of Ohio State University.  Clarett was selected in the NFL Draft but cut a short time later after not making an impact on the field.  He wound up in prison in 2006, but jail was far from the final chapter in his life.  This episode finishes with Maurice offering a piece of advice to all young athletes - advice that caught our hosts off-guard in the best way possible.

The Cost Of Being A College Football Superstar Part 1- When attending the premiere of the HBO documentary 'Student Athlete' last year, John & Marcia met someone who's a familiar name to even the most casual college football fan - Maurice Clarett.  While many know who he is, few know his real story.  Maurice certainly does, and he shares it with our hosts.  This episode examines his his recruitment to Ohio State University and leading the Buckeyes to the 2002 national championship in his freshman year.  Clarett was kicked out the school a year later because of NCAA violations, which he also details on the show.

Super Bowl 53 - In our second annual Super Bowl episode, the Shoops examine how the NFL handled race and the effects of the 'Take A Knee' protests in the year after they dominated headlines - and John and Marcia found they were not encouraged by what has transpired.

Weren't We Just Talking About This? - In our last episode "Losing", John & Marcia agreed that the toughest kind of loss is one where the key play or key moment of a game is decided by a missed or blown call by an official.  It only took a month for their point to be proved.  This year's NFL Conference Championship games both went to overtime for the first time in league history.  That didn't make headlines though - the officials did, mostly for a missed pass interference call in the NFC championship game.  Our hosts talk about why these types of losses hurt and anger so much.

Losing - What is it about losing that makes people, and sports fans in particular, act so irrationally?  The Shoops delve into that personal - and at times painful - topic in this episode in the search for an answer.

Why The Coaching Carousel Is Really A Rollercoaster - December is an exceptionally stressful time of year for football coaches.  It isn’t just a time for preparing for bowl games or recruiting.  If you’ve had a bad season, you may be getting fired.  A good one, and you may be getting a job at a bigger school.  At the very least, you’re likely a part of coaching rumor mill that goes into overdrive.  It’s commonly called the coaching carousel, but our hosts start this episode by telling us it’s a different amusement park ride that the experience is most like.

The University of Maryland Football Fiasco Part 2 - This episode picks up where the prior one left off - with a continued look at the culmination of events starting from the death of University of Maryland football player Jordan McNair to the firing of the Terrapins head football coach on Halloween night.  In this episode, we focus on power - the power of money, the power of trauma, and the power of collegiate athletes.

The University of Maryland Football Fiasco Part 1 - On Halloween night, our hosts were ready to record an episode looking at some current events in sports with BPR's Matt Bush.  Five minutes before recording was set to start, the headline flashed - the University of Maryland had fired head football coach D.J. Durkin a day after he had been re-instated by the school's board of regents over the objection of the university president.  Durkin had originally been put on administrative leave after the death of Terrapin player Jordan McNair following an off-season workout.  Given their very vocal advocacy in support of players rights, John and Marcia had a lot to say about what was happening in College Park - so much so that it became two episodes.  In this first show, a lot of focus is on the role of the strength coach on a football team - and whether players need to workout as much as they are forced to.

The Greatest Quarterback You Never Heard Of Part 2 - This episode picks up where the last one left off - with Patton Robinette running off the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill before the first day of classes starts.  He leads on our hosts through his journey on what happened next, including a history making redshirt freshman year at Vanderbilt to his decision to end his career to focus on medical school.

The Greatest Quarterback You Never Heard Of Part 1 - In an ultimate 'what could have been' story, our hosts talk with Patton Robinette.  John recruited him during his last season at the University of North Carolina, to the point that Patton had committed to going to Chapel Hill.  When John and the rest of the staff were fired over the growing academic scandal at the school, it started a long journey for Patton, who wound up at Vanderbilt University and is now done with football and in medical school.  In this episode, our hosts introduce us to Patton and talk about his recruitment to UNC - and how he never played a down there.

Sedentary Sports - Poker - In this episode, John and Marcia begin their examination of the rise of sedentary sports in America.  While e-sports and Fortnite have surged in popularity in recent years, they still don't come close to poker - both online and in-person.  Their guest in this episode is Darren Elias, one of the top World Poker Tour players.

Student Athlete - In this episode, John and Marcia discuss their appearance in the HBO documentary Student Athlete, which premiered October 2nd, 2018.  Produced by Lebron James' production company and directed by Academy-award winner Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, the documentary examines the collegiate amateur athletic model in the U.S., and the uncompensated athletes that fuel it.  Many of the topics in the film are issues that our hosts have discussed on previous episodes of Going Deep.

Origin Stories Part 2 - In this episode, our hosts conclude their look at the origins of the three major sports in the U.S.  This show in particular looks at basketball, and how one rule change prevented it from essentially becoming indoor football.  Dr. Randall Balmer of Dartmouth College also explains how baseball most closely mirrors the immigrant experience in the United States.

Origin Stories Part 1 - Our hosts look at the origin stories of the three major professional sports in the U.S. - football, baseball, and basketball.  Their guest is Dr. Randall Balmer, author and professor at Dartmouth College.  They examine the social movements and cultural moments in U.S. history that gave birth to the three sports that capture fans imaginations.

The Parallels of Religion & Sport Part 2 - In this episode, our conversation picks up from our last show.  John & Marcia continue to examine the many ways sports and religion parallel one another - with a focus in this show on faith, outcomes, and those who wander away but return.  

The Parallels Of Religion & Sport Part 1 - Our hosts really follow the title of their show in this episode.  They 'go deep' with BPR's Matt Bush to examine the parallels of sports and religion.  You can hear the 'a-ha' moments throughout the show as John and Marcia find new connections between the worlds of sports and religion that they have inhabited throughout their lives.

June 2018 Roundup - Our hosts take a look at some of the big topics in sports as June 2018 begins with BPR's Matt Bush - including the NFL's new national anthem policy making players stand or stay in the locker room during its performance, the recent Supreme Court ruling that will pave the way for legalized sports gambling across the U.S., and the Stanley Cup Finals which pit the long-suffering Washington Capitals against the upstart Vegas Golden Knights, an expansion team on the cusp of winning a championship in its first season.  This was orginally recorded as a Facebook Live chat on May 30th, 2018.

The Historical Basketball League Part 2 - John and Marcia continue their conversation with sports economist Andy Schwarz about the Historical Basketball League - a proposed sports league that would be the first to pay college basketball players as they receive their education.  In this episode, our hosts and guest focus on how the NCAA might react to the league.

The Historical Basketball League Part 1 - The Historical Basketball League (HBL) is a proposed sports league that would be the first to pay college players as they receive their education.  Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU's) would participate in the league, which is hoping to launch in either 2019 or 2020.  According to its website, the HBL "gives schools and athletes an option outside of the traditional NCAA model – providing a choice of whether to go "pro" while in college or to be amateur about it."  John and Marcia speak with sports economist Andy Schwarz, who is helping launch the league.

Micro Concussions & Sports Part 2 - John and Marcia continue their conversation with Purdue University professors Eric Nauman and Tom Talavadge about their research into micro concussion in sports.  In this episode, they focus on how that research can be acted upon in football.

Micro Concussions & Sports Part 1 - John's final football coaching job was at the Purdue University, where he and Marcia met professors Eric Nauman and Tom Talavadge.  The duo had just finished a groundbreaking study on micro concussions by working with a high school football team in Indiana, and our hosts were blown away with what the research showed - so much so that it in many ways led to John losing his job.  In the first of two parts, the Shoops discuss with Nauman and Talavadge what their research discovered.

The UNC Football Scandal Revisited Part 2 - John and Marcia continue their talk with retired North Carolina Supreme Court justice Bob Orr, who's has been part of several lawsuits and other legal actions taken against the NCAA.  Our hosts discuss those with him, plus take a look at where NCAA rules and enforcement may be heading.

The UNC Football Scandal Revisited Part 1 - John was the offensive coordinator for the University of North Carolina football team from 2007 to 2011.  During that time, the program and university were rocked by an academic scandal that lead to players suspensions, NCAA bans, and the whole coaching staff being fired.  Our hosts begin a two-part look back at that time with their guest Bob Orr, a retired North Carolina Supreme Court justice whom they first met during the scandal when he represented one of John's players in a fight against the NCAA.

2018 Final Four - The men's and women's basketball Final Fours take place Easter Weekend in San Antonio and Columbus. They culminate what has been an eventful college basketball season - one that started with an FBI investigation into payments to players and finishes with a memorable March Madness.  The Shoops look to put all of this in perspective with their typical sharp insight and wit.  This episode was originally recorded as a Facebook Live video on the Blue Ridge Public Radio page.

Super Bowl 52 - Super Bowl 52 on February 4th, 2018 between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles will conclude a tumultuous 2017 NFL season.   From the Take A Knee protests to increasing questions of how seriously players concussions are being treated to Jerry Richardson announcing he'll sell the Carolina Panthers following numerous allegations of misconduct in the workplace, it was a season with major headlines that weren't focused on plays.  The Shoops discuss the future of the NFL in this episode, which was recorded originally as a Facebook Live chat on the BPR News Facebook page.

College Basketball's Newest 'Scandal' - In September, the U.S. attorney for southern New York announced indictments against several assistant basketball coaches at some of the most prestigious programs in the country, as well as against representatives for Adidas.  The announcement rocked the sport, but the Shoops say what's alleged has been going on in college sports for decades, and should not come as a surprise.  Their guest is current Bloomberg View and former New York Times writer Joe Nocera.

The History Of Black Athlete Protests - The 'Take A Knee' protests have continued throughout the 2017 NFL season, becoming so widespread that President Donald Trump even weighed in on them.  The Shoops examine the history of protests by black athletes in the U.S. and find 'Take A Knee' is the latest in a long line of such demonstrations throughout the country's history.  Their guest - columnist and ESPN & NPR contributor Kevin Blackistone - says this is because sports are one of the few arenas where African-Americans are taken seriously in the U.S.

The Shoops Talk Part 4- The Shoops talk with BPR's Matt Bush about success and disillusionment, and Marcia's belief that sports fans are seeking redemption in their fandom, as outlined in her book Touchdowns For Jesus & Other Signs Of Apolcalypse

The Shoops Talk Part 3 - The Shoops talk with BPR's Matt Bush about the role of religion in the locker room - and sports in general.

The Recruiting Arms Race - Colleges and universities are spending more and more money to recruit athletes to their campuses.  The Shoops look at what is fueling the 'recruiting arms race' and how it affects the very athletes it's supposed to impress.  In particular looking at the lavish lockers the University of Texas just built for its football team.  Each locker costs more than $10-thousand dollars.  

The Shoops Talk Part 2 - The Shoops talk with BPR’s Matt Bush about their experiences at the University of North Carolina, which culminated with the firing of the school’s football coaching staff including John in 2011 because of an ongoing academic scandal. 

The Shoops Talk Part 1 - The Shoops talk with BPR’s Matt Bush about their love of public radio and podcasting, and conversation which eventually pivots the issue that drove them out of professional and collegiate football – concussions.  

The Culture of Rugby - The Shoops would not let their son play football until a certain age because of the risk of brain injuries.  When given the choice to pick a different sport to play, he choose rugby, much to the initial horror of his parents.  John and Marcia however quickly grew to love rugby and its culture of safety and inclusiveness.  They compare rugby culture with that of football with the help of guests like Taylor Gentry, who currently plays rugby professionally after his football career at North Carolina State University ended.  

The Fab 5 (or 5X) Part 2 - The Shoops continue their examination of the legacy of the University of Michigan’s Fab 5 men’s basketball team 25 years after they first hit the court, and the role of race in how the players were punished by the NCAA.  Guests include Yago Colas, a former professor at Michigan who taught courses on sports studies. 

The Fab 5 (or 5X) Part 1- The Shoops look at the lasting legacy of the University of Michigan’s fabled Fab 5 men’s basketball team, not just in sports culture but also in how the NCAA doles out punishments to players and schools.  Guests include Ray Jackson and Jimmy King, members of that Michigan team. 

The Unlikely Alliance to Legalize Medicinal Cannabis Part 2 - The Shoops continue to dive into the push to legalize medicinal cannabis and how it’s united former football players and mothers of children who suffer from seizures and other conditions that can be treated by medicinal cannabis.  Guests include Heather Jackson, the founder and CEO of the Realm of Caring Foundation.  

 The Unlikely Alliance to Legalize Medicinal Cannabis Part 1 - The Shoops examine the push to legalize medicinal cannabis, as some football players say it can provide a healthier alternative to treat concussions and other debilitating injuries they suffer on the field.  Guests include former NFL quarterback Jake Plummer, who was an NCAA All-American during his playing days at Arizona State University.

Forced Faith- The Shoops continue their look at the intersection of sports and religion and why one brand of Christianity seems to trump all other religions in the locker room.  Their guests include Tom Krattenmaker of the Yale Divinity School and columnist for USA Today, and Buffalo Bills quarterback T.J. Yates, who played for John at the University of North Carolina. 

Muscular Christianity - The Shoops explore how sports were used and still are to further the reach of a certain kind of Christianity.  Their guest is Tom Krattenmaker of the Yale Divinity School, and author of the book Onward Christian Athletes.

Duncan Fowler joined Blue Ridge Public Radio in April of 2016. He is a member of the Tech team that helps keep Blue Ridge Public Radio on the air.