Q: What is the meaning behind the term “March Madness”?
Kavin Austin Blake: “March Madness” is an annual NCAA basketball tournament and is a registered trademark of the NCAA. Promotional contests awarding prizes for the best brackets have proliferated within the past decade, generally offering rewards in the range of $1 million to $10 million, as well as a number of smaller prizes. In an interesting twist, Warren Buffett has offered $1 billion for anyone who completes a perfect bracket this year.
Q: Who coined the term “March Madness”?
Kavin Austin Blake: Basketball Hall of Famer H.V. Porter, then a high-ranking official for the Illinois High School Association, published a 1939 essay titled March Madness. He again used the phrase in his 1942 poem, Basketball Ides of March.
Q: How was “March Madness” first introduced to a national audience?
Kavin Austin Blake: Through time, the popularity of the term “March Madness” increased, most notably in Indiana, Illinois and states across the Midwest. In fact, Jim Enright authored a 1977 book, March Madness, about Illinois high-school tournaments.
Q: When did “March Madness” become synonymous with the NCAA tournament?
Kavin Austin Blake: Brent Musburger, a leading CBS sportscaster, began using the term during the NCAA tournament in the early 1980s. At first, a TV production company called Intersport had trademarked the name. Eventually, the Illinois High School Association bought the rights in a co-ownership deal with the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
Q: When will the 2014 edition of “March Madness” debut?
Kavin Austin Blake: Selection Sunday is March 16. The national semifinals and championship game will be held at Cowboys Stadium at Arlington, Texas, during the first weekend of April. This year’s leading squads include the Syracuse Orangemen, the Arizona Wildcats, the Florida Gators and the Michigan State Spartans. It’s a competitive field, and at least a dozen teams are in the running to cut down the nets on April 7.