🌊 My Big, Fat NCAA Payday

Plus: All eyes on...the Libertarian Party?

“But wait… there’s more!”

Roca Nation, let’s shake off those post-MDW blues with some May 28 history: On May 28, 1934, the first quintuplets to survive infancy were born in Canada.

The Dionne quintuplets — two of whom are still alive today! — weighed 14 pounds collectively at the time of their premature birth. They immediately became an attraction in Canada, drawing 3,000 visitors per day at their home. Soon to regret the decision, Mr. and Mrs. Dionne then signed them away to become a public exhibition for $10,000 — a Great Depression fortune. Born too soon for Bravo TV

🇺🇸 All eyes on...the Libertarian Party?

🤔 James Carville sounds off on Democratic Party

🏀 Basketball legend dies

–Max and Max


Schools to Pay Athletes

The NCAA and the top five college sports conferences agreed to settle a lawsuit by letting universities directly pay college athletes for the first time

  • In 2020, a group of athletes sued the NCAA and its top five conferences, seeking compensation they were prohibited from earning while in college

  • Last week, those six organizations’ boards approved a settlement to end the case

  • The settlement requires the organizations to pay out $2.8B to athletes over a 10-year period and will have each school pay a fixed rate – likely around $20M – to its athletes annually

Dig Deeper

  • The conferences are the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, and Southeastern Conference

  • Details about how the money will be divided aren't clear, but most appears likely to go to football and basketball players

  • In terms of direct compensation, reports say the conferences' universities will pay out 22% of their average annual athletic department revenue, which would be around $20M per school

  • That would mark the first time American universities ever directly compensate college athletes


US: Send Troops to Haiti

The US called for rapidly deploying peacekeeping troops to Haiti after two Americans were killed there

  • Gangs are fighting to control Haiti. Last year, a Kenya-led peacekeeping mission to the country was approved, but financial and logistical hurdles have held that up. On Thursday, a gang ambushed two American missionaries and a Haitian as they left church, ransacking their mission and killing the trio

  • The US government responded with more calls for the rapid deployment of peacekeeping troops to “protect civilians, restore the rule of law, and pave the way to democratic governance”

Dig Deeper

  • The victims' mission said on its Facebook page that gangs ransacked the mission’s property as the victims left church, forcing them to hide in a building and call for safety

  • Their attempts to do so and police attempts to negotiate were unsuccessful, though, and the gangs killed the trio

  • A White House spokesperson said, “This serves as a reminder that the security situation in Haiti cannot wait”


No More Ads

This month, we’re highlighting our favorite Surfshark products. Today, we’re talking about Surfshark’s ad blocker, CleanWeb. Although it's pretty self-explanatory why we love this one; here’s a rundown for the people in the back:

  • No more intrusive ads and pop-ups

  • Surfshark’s CleanWeb feature goes beyond the usual ad-blocking browser extensions. It also blocks ads within apps, ensuring an ad-free experience even on your smart TV and other devices

Dig Deeper


Libertarians Reject RFK

  • The Libertarian Party typically receives 1-3% of the vote in presidential elections, but its resources ensure its candidate gets on all 50 states’ ballots. RFK Jr., an independent, was pursuing the party’s nomination for its ballot access

  • At the party’s convention this weekend, though, RFK earned just 2% of delegates. Instead, the party nominated Chase Oliver, who describes himself as “armed and gay” and said he seeks to grow the party by targeting young people who are angry with the war in Gaza, cost of living, and immigration

Dig Deeper

  • Trump also delivered a speech and urged Libertarians to support him, although many in the crowd booed him. At one point he said, "Only [support me] if you want to…If you want to lose, don't do that. Keep getting your 3% every four years"

  • In 2022, Oliver ran as a third-party candidate in Georgia’s Senate race. His 2% vote share forced a run-off between Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker


Deadly Gaza Strike

Palestinian authorities said an Israeli strike killed at least 45 civilians

  • On Sunday, the IDF said it conducted a strike on a “compound in Rafah in which significant Hamas terrorists were operating.” It said the strike killed two senior Hamas officials

  • The strike appears to have either struck civilians directly or sparked a fire that spread through refugee tents, killing 45+, per Palestinian authorities

  • “Despite our utmost efforts not to harm innocent civilians, last night, there was a tragic mistake,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after the strike

Dig Deeper

  • The strike came two days after the International Court of Justice, a UN court, ruled that “Israel must immediately halt its military offensive, and any other action in the Rafah Governorate, which may inflict on the Palestinian group in Gaza conditions of life that could bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part”

  • Groups seized on that to argue that Israel has been ordered to stop its offensive, while Israel cited that to say it may proceed so long as it protects civilians, which it claims to be doing

Some Quick Stories for the Office

🌪️ Tornados and powerful storms killed at least 18 and injured hundreds across Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas

⛳ A day after two-time PGA Tour-winning golfer Grayson Murray withdrew from a competition partway through, his parents announced he had died by suicide. After winning a PGA competition in January, Murray, 30, said he had turned the corner on his battles with depression and alcoholism

✈️ Turbulence resulted in injuries to 12 people on a Qatar-to-Ireland flight. The turbulence event lasted less than 20 seconds while the aircraft was over Turkey

🎙️ James Carville – the Democratic strategist who coined the phrase, “It’s the economy, stupid” – said Biden’s polls numbers are struggling because his messaging is “full of sh*t.” “We keep wondering why these young people are not coming home to the Democrats,” he said on his podcast. “Why are blacks not coming home to the Democrats? Because Democrat messaging is full of sh*t …Talk about cost of living and ‘We’re gonna help deal with this’…Don’t talk about f*cking Gaza and student loans”

🇵🇬 Papua New Guinea’s government claimed that a landslide buried over 2,000 people in a village, although the UN estimated deaths at 670

🤲 UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said his government would enact mandatory national service if re-elected. The proposed policy would require teenagers to complete 25 days of community work annually

Question of the Day

🧠 By popular demand, we’ve decided this week to swap out the weekly discussion for the original “Question of the Day.”

Today’s Question:

What’s a question we should ask the Roca audience? 

Think about it and reply to this email to let us know what you think!

Some Quick Stories for Happy Hour

🙏 RIP, Bill Walton: Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Walton died at 71 after battling cancer. Walton was a 3x national college player of the year, NBA MVP, and 2x NBA champion

😡 Whip that whips: California’s state senate just passed a bill that would add “speed governors” to all new cars. The governors would scold drivers for going 10+ mph over the speed limit

🐖 Pork without borders: Taiwan’s customs officials fined an Indonesian traveler $6,200 for trying to bring a lunch box with pork to the island. Taiwan doesn’t allow pork from countries with African swine fever

🍾 Dallas Cowboys Mavericks heading to title? The Dallas Mavericks are on a collision course with the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals. Kyrie vs. Boston! Finally!

📉 Cracker Barrel = Cracked: Cracker Barrel’s CEO admitted the restaurant and gift shop chain is “just not as relevant as we once were” amid struggling sales

Rise of a Shah

Fifty years ago, the US and Iran were close allies; today, they’re enemies whose rivalry is at the center of world politics. This week, we’re running a deep-dive that explains how that happened.

By 1921, Reza Khan had grown tired of his king. After 130 years of power, the governing dynasty in Persia – modern-day Iran – was weak, ineffective, and under British and Russian influence.

Khan aspired to take power and restore Persia to its former glory. To do so, he launched a coup in 1921 and had himself appointed to a series of positions.

By 1925, Khan was powerful enough – and had enough British backing – to become Persia’s shah, or king.

While Britain hadn’t colonized Persia, it controlled many of Persia’s policies and considered it strategically vital: Persia had vast amounts of oil and was situated between Britain’s Middle Eastern and Indian colonies. But Khan wanted to modernize his country, build its economy, and reassert its sovereignty.

One way Khan – who ruled as a dictator – did so was by renaming his country from the Greek-derived “Persia” to the traditional “Iran.”

He also tried to renegotiate terms with Britain’s Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, which controlled Iran’s oil. But then came World War II.

During the war, both the British and Soviets feared Germany would dominate Iran, which would enable Germany to control Iranian oil, block Allied arms shipments to the USSR, and attack India.

To prevent that, the British and Soviets occupied Iran in 1941.

Under British pressure, the Shah fled the country and transferred power to his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Pahlavi was a 21-year-old military officer who had studied at a Swiss boarding school and spoke fluent French, German, and English. Having lived much of his life in the West, he wanted to apply the lessons he learned there to his native country.

Was the new shah up to the task?


Iran spent World War II under British and Soviet occupation. When the war ended, a wave of unrest, activism, and nationalism swept the nation.

Many Iranians wanted a greater say in politics or wanted the government to nationalize the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, the British oil company that controlled Iran’s oil. Caught between socialists, communists, nationalists, and Islamists, the Shah walked a tightrope.

The Shah – installed by the British at age 21 – wanted to modernize his country and have close ties with the West, but needed popular support.

In 1951, hoping to cement his image as a reformer, he allowed Mohammad Mosaddegh to become Iran’s prime minister. Mossadegh – a well-known socialist and nationalist politician – was wildly popular. Upon assuming power, he introduced unemployment payments, required factories to provide benefits, and began the process of redistributing land.

That May, he declared Iran to be “the rightful owner" of Iran’s oil and nationalized the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company.

Anglo-Iranian – one of the world’s most powerful oil companies and a major British asset – had been guaranteed access to Iranian oil until 1993. But Mosaddegh justified the nationalization as such: “Our long years of negotiations with foreign countries…have yielded no results thus far. With the oil revenues, we could meet our entire budget and combat poverty, disease, and backwardness among our people.”

The British came to the US warning that if they didn’t intervene, a “great enterprise” would collapse, harming “the whole free world.” But the US, under President Truman, declined to do so.

Mossadegh, meanwhile, warned the Americans not to trust the British: “You do not know how evil they are,” he told an American diplomat. In 1952, though, Dwight Eisenhower was elected president. He appointed John Foster Dulles as secretary of state and Dulles’ brother Allen director of the CIA.

The trio sought to roll back communism around the world and, with much British urging, set their sights on Iran.

In 1953, Mossadegh moved to reduce both parliament’s and the Shah’s powers. Using that as a pretext, the Shah – with British and CIA backing – signed Mossadegh’s dismissal and ordered a soldier to deliver it to Mossadegh personally.

Mossadegh had been tipped off about the plot, though, and had the soldier arrested. When news spread of the failed plot to oust Mossadegh, mass protests erupted across Iran.

The plot’s failure led the Shah to flee to Europe with his wife. The CIA continued to foment anti-Mossadegh unrest, though, including by coordinating with pro-Shah elements and paying protesters to fill the streets. As violent clashes erupted between pro- and anti-Shah forces, Iran fell into chaos.

Amid that, a pro-Shah general ordered the army to restore order.

The army arrested Mossadegh and called back the Shah, who was in Rome with CIA Director Allen Dulles. Upon hearing that he was welcomed back, the Shah remarked, “I knew they loved me.”

But did they?

This is part 1 of 3 of a Roca deep-dive into the US-Iran relationship. If you have questions or comments, reply to this email!

Final Thoughts

Friday may have been the busiest day in US airport history. TSA screened over 2.9M airline passengers. Someone somewhere must be swimming in 4.5 oz shampoo bottles.

Hope you had a great weekend and safe, delay-free travels. Happy start of summer!

–Max and Max