So, today is April 3rd. As in the third day of April. As in no longer March. Then how is it still March Madness?!
March Madness, or NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament (WOW what a mouthful), coincides with the end of the basketball season. So the whole division falls away by the end of March. Unfortunately this usually pushes the championship game and playoffs into the month of April. That's why even though today is April 3rd, there are still 3 outstanding games left in the tournament.
But what is March Madness anyway? Why all this mayhem for a month made up mostly of springtime sunshine and showers? There's a certain appeal to college sports that a lot of spectators are drawn to - the youth and vibrancy, the sincerity and fervor, and the interpreted purity of the game, given that teams and players generally lack - and are barred from - professional sponsorships. So it's no wonder that the NCAA tournament has garnered such hype and popularity.
The term March Madness itself, however, was initially coined around an Illinois high school sports association. Coach H.V. Porter, an official for Illinois High School Association, released an essay of called March in 1939, and again used the term in a 1942 poem about basketball. "March Madness" spread quickly across the midwest, but almost exclusively only referred to high school basketball.
It was during the 80s when "March Madness" first met college basketball. Legend has it that CBS Sportscaster Brent Musburger, who spent a good amount of time casting from Chicago, brought the term from the Midwest into the national spotlight. More often than not, however, the NCAA credits Bob Walsh for coining this term at the collegiate level.
Over 10 years pass before either the IHSA (Illinois High School Association) or the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) thought to trademark this iconic term. In a historic ruling in 1996, both associations were granted the right to trademarking the term in what is considered the precedented concept of "dual-use trademark."
The IHSA and NCAA joined forces to form the March Madness Athletic Associate, making the licensing of the trademark much easier to manage and protect. Today, however, the NCAA is sole owner of the trademark as the IHSA relented ownership in the 2000s.