The Fairy Godmother of March Madness
In a world of overhyped sporting events, extravagant halftime celebrations and gloried, high-priced athletes, there comes a 73–year-old annual basketball tournament that needs no hype or halftime show. Instead, its magic lies in the fact that families, colleagues, alumni and bar flies stop and watch hundreds of amateur athletes participate in what I dare say might be America’s most thrilling and beloved sporting event of all times. Yes, I’m talking about March Madness, a term first coined by Bob Walsh of the Seattle Organizing Committee for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) back in 1984.
While each of us at PIR have “our team” – whether it is the Irish or the Rams, we all come together to take pride in one fact: that the NCAA can be found on a .ORG – the definitive home to a wide variety of associations and sports teams.
NCAA.org is the prime example of what we always refer to as the ideal .ORG “community” – one comprised of over 1,200 institutions, conferences, organizations and individuals committed to a common cause like athletic programs of our colleges and universities. NCAA’s founding principle was seemingly simple: to “protect young people from the dangerous and exploitive athletics practices” of the time -- notably, the need to regulate early-day football that was so rugged and treacherous that debilitating injuries and deaths were common occurrences. At the time of its founding, collegiate athletics were overseen by students groups with no uniformed guidelines or regulations, and safety was often an afterthought. Many of the players from those days were paid professionals, and the term “student-athlete” didn’t exist.
Since its inception over a hundred years ago, the NCAA has completely transformed collegiate athletics by promoting and providing rules and policies that ensure the academic commitment of student-athletes as well as a comprehensive education on health and safety measures to safeguard athletes from serious injuries. What has resulted is a more robust and safer playing ground for young athletes throughout North America.
So as we ponder over who will make it to the Final Four (unfortunately, not the Irish or the Rams) and reflect on the imperfect science of “bracketology,” let’s take a moment to recognize the organization behind the Madness. Thank you, NCAA, and the thousands of men and women over the years who have become the Fairy Godmothers of our college athletes and gave us all a reason to root for real-world Cinderellas.