The Powerful Influence Of The N.C.A.A.

With the first two rounds of the men’s basketball tournament about to conclude this afternoon and late in the evening, I am astounded by the immeasurable number of N.C.A.A. logos that appear either on the court, court-side or on the television screen.  We are brainwashing our children with the constant barrage of television advertising and the N.C.A.A. tournament is a perfect example.  As someone who watches many of the old television shows on DVDs, I have noticed that hour-long shows from the late 1950s and early ‘60s were fifty-two minutes long.  Now days, a show of this length at best is only forty-four minutes.  This represents a one hundred percent increase in the number of commercials per hour.  When you consider how the networks now routinely use pop-up ads to advertise up-coming shows and product placements in their shows, we are being inundated with commercials.

After watching a few of the first round games on Thursday, I decided to make a list of every N.C.A.A. logo I noticed while watching a particular game.  The following is the list:

Three logos on the court itself, including the enormous one at mid-court,
Two logos on top of each backboard,
Two logos on the sideline reporter’s microphone,
Two logos on the bunting along press row,
One logo at the base of each backboard support,
One logo on each player’s uniform,
One logo on the scores of different games at the top of the television screen,
One logo at either end of the electronic scoreboard,
One logo along the baseline just below the electronic scoreboard,
One logo during every commercial break on the television screen as the score is given,
One logo on every chair on each team’s bench,
One logo on every chair behind the scorer’s table,
And one logo is flash very quickly on the television screen when a reply is shown.

In addition to these logos, each coach has some sort of lapel pin that I assume has an N.C.A.A. logo on it.  It also appears that there are four replicas of these pins alongside the two logos on the bunting along press row.  Even though I watch these games on HDTV, I have yet been able to determine exactly what these pins are, but most likely include some sort of N.C.A.A. insignia.  I did not attempt to count the number of logos shown at half time in the television studio behind and in front of the commentators as there were so many different N.C.A.A., network and university logos displayed along with videos being played that one could become nauseated by it all.

Seven or eight years ago, the ABC television network aired a special hosted by John Stossel entitled Hype, which addressed the issue of the effect that television has on us.  I found one segment especially alarming.  In this particular segment, Mr. Stossel had a group of kindergarten age children sitting in front of a wall of each letter of the alphabet, each letter written in a different font.  When Stossel would point to a letter, every child would scream out the same thing.  For example, when he pointed to the letter “g,” every child screamed Kellogg’s.  These children knew just by looking at the font of a single letter that it represented a particular product.  We have brainwashed our children with the constant barrage of television advertising and not only is no one doing anything about it, but commercials are becoming ever more dominate in our lives.

Steven H. Spring
The Ohio State University, Class of ‘87