An Open Letter To The National Collegiate Athletic Association

The following is a copy of my letter to The National Collegiate Athletic Association regarding their men’s basketball tournament which got underway this past Tuesday night with four play-in games and started in earnest at noon on Thursday.

Steven H. Spring

March 21, 2013

Dr. Mark Emmert
President & CEO
The National Collegiate Athletic Association
P.O. Box 6222
Indianapolis, Indiana  46206

Dear President Emmert,

As the NCAA men’s basketball tournament gets underway Thursday and Friday, I hope you or a member of your staff can answer two questions for me.  One, why has your organization decided to make every arena holding a tournament game impossible to tell apart from one another, with the exception of the host city’s name along the end lines of the court and occasionally shown on the scorer’s table electronic advertisement board?  Since CBS, TBS, TNT and TruTV are advertising that they are showing every game in full this year, one can become mesmerized by watching numerous games on indistinguishable courts, all sporting either your NCAA logo, basketball logo or 75th tournament anniversary logo.  But then again, that’s your goal isn’t it, to have viewers captivated by staring at nearly identical basketball courts, all sporting virtually innumerable matching logos?

I am alarmed by the sheer number of NCAA logos that appear either on the court, courtside or on the television screen.  We are brainwashing our children with the constant barrage of television advertising and your 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 is at best 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 several of the second round games on Thursday, I decided to make a list of every NCAA logo I noticed while watching one particular game.  The following is the list, and most likely is not all-inclusive:

Three logos on the court itself, including the enormous one at mid-court,
Three logos on top of each backboard,
Two, sometimes three logos on the scorer’s table electronic advertisement board,
Two logos on the bunting along press row behind the scorer’s table,
Two logos on the floor in front of the scorer’s table,
Two logos on the sideline reporter’s microphone,
One logo at the base of each backboard support,
One logo on each player’s uniform,
One logo on every coach’s suit jacket,
One logo on every referee’s shirt,
One logo on every chair on each team’s bench,
One logo on every chair behind the scorer’s table,
One logo on each team’s shoe scuffing pad,
One logo on every bucket of Gatorade,
One logo on every cup of Gatorade,
One logo on the scores of different games at the top of the television screen,
One logo is flash very quickly on the television screen when every reply is shown,
And one logo is flash during every commercial break on the television screen as the score    of that game is given.

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 NCAA, network and university logos displayed along with videos being played that one could become nauseated by it all.

My second question concerns the four play-in games, now referred to as the first round.  Why are there two sixteen seed games, one thirteen seed game and one eleven seed game?  Why are these four games not all sixteen seed games, with each winner playing the four number one seed teams?  Why are the eleven and thirteen seed teams forced to play one more game than every other team seeded the same as or lower than them in the tournament?  This makes no sense, and lacks fairness.  I hope you can provide an explanation to my questions.


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