Baseball Team Runs March Madness Fundraiser
The phrase “March Madness,” was originally used by Henry V. Portner, an Illinois high school official, to describe the original NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament in 1939. After a CBS broadcaster used the term again during a tournament coverage in 1982, the phrase became the official name for the tournament. It consists of 68 teams that compete through seven rounds to win the national championship title. The final round is called the Final Four, in which the remaining four teams compete for the title of NCAA winner.
The NCAA hypes up their tournament through The Bracket Challenge Game. The committee announces their field on Selection Sunday, and the fans join the tournament’s ‘madness’ by creating a bracket in which they predict the winners of the competition for each division. The brackets lock in before the first game of the round begins, so picks have to be in before, and contestants then have to wait to see the accuracy of their predictions.
Each year, the AJA baseball team holds a fundraiser to raise money for team equipment and apparel. To raise money — in addition to creating a hype atmosphere where students excitedly await each game — the team went around the school and sold their own brackets to students, faculty members, and friends. To encourage as many people to join the AJA bracket as possible, the team offered half of their profit to the winner (the person with the most accurate bracket). Anyone can participate in the March Madness fundraising event, regardless of whether they are a sports enthusiast or have no basketball knowledge whatsoever — and anyone can win. “When we advertise the brackets, we mention that you don’t really need to know college basketball to win March Madness,” Matthew Minsk, senior and player on the baseball and basketball teams said.
The winner is sometimes an avid basketball player and fan who researches each team and their statistics and likelihood of success, and the winner is also sometimes someone who randomly created their bracket and ended up really lucky. Matthew explained that he watches college basketball throughout the year when asked his strategy for choosing his bracket. “After the bracket comes out, a ton of different places write articles about the best candidates. I read some of those articles, feel it out, and I figure out which things sound most convincing to me,” he said. “I kind of just go with my gut because it’s kind of random.”
Senior Gefen Beldie didn’t spend any time researching, and instead just chose her bracket randomly. “I was in third place a couple of years ago after just guessing, so this year I did the same, and then I won. I was very surprised.” Gefen described that she watched the championship game and ended up getting really into it near the end. Regardless of how they made their brackets, all of the bracket’s participants anxiously waited together to see if they placed their bets in the right college.
After correctly predicting the champion to be the University of Baylor — the Baylor Bears — Gefen collected her prize of $300. The baseball team used the other $300 to buy new practice uniforms. The fundraiser successfully collects money for the team in addition to spreading the madness all around, basketball fan or not.