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While millions of basketball fans around the world will be filling
up sports bars and living rooms during Selection Sunday, teams
of sports agents, financial advisors and accountants will be stocking up on Red
Bull, No Doz and other over-the-counter stimulants for this 3-week basketball
Five months of college basketball will enter a frenzy called
"March Madness" in a single-elimination tournament of 68 teams who
will compete for the NCAA National Championship on April 7.
Players will be herded in their respective team lounges or
coaches' suites in a few hours for Selection Sunday, the prized CBS national
coverage where the 68 tournament participants are announced and seeded
For a number of teams, an invitation for "March Madness"
is their opportunity to play in front of a national audience where a signature
performance or 'shot' can make them a household name or boost their NBA draft
stock a few picks. Players like Tyus Edney of UCLA, Keith Smart of
Indiana and more recently, Stephen Curry of Davidson, all created 'shining
moments' in the Tourney which helped propel their basketball career.
Expect CBS and local media outlets to broadcast live reactions
from teams dressed in their latest Nike or Under Armour sponsored sweat suits
the moment they are selected, while watching the televised show with their
coaches. But, as much as the purity of the player's joy shown during
the Selection Sunday, the reality of the indentured servitude to
the NCAA and billions reaped off of them is barely mentioned.
Of all of the 'hands in the pot' to pocket some of those billions
made annually off of those players glued to Selection Sunday, the
players have historically been left out. The elite players have been
scouted since they were high school freshmen and rarely do the NBA mock draft
boards change more than 5-7 slots because of a tournament game.
The beneficiaries besides the fans who watch 3 weeks of incredible
basketball, have been the schools, NCAA, CBS, sponsors, coaches and Las
Vegas. Betting for March Madness has surpassed the
Super Bowl as the number 1 event for sports bettors. To that effect,
Warren Buffett and Quicken Loans announced a Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge,
to give a billion dollars to the person who fills out a perfect NCAA men's basketball
And the coaches, who normally already have NCAA tournament
incentives in their contracts, know that a win or two during March
Madness could earn them that cherished multi-year and multi-million
dollar contract that will set them for life.
The former Butler coach and current Boston Celtic coach Brad
Stephens signed a long-term 7- figure deal with Butler following their
incredible 2010 Final Four appearance. Likewise, Shaka Smart of VCU,
signed an 8-year multi-million dollar contract after their Final Four run and
spurning more lucrative offers.
And the most recent cinderella story featuring 'Dunk City' of
Florida Gulf Coast University, had an unknown coach in Andy Enfield turn his
team's impromptu "Sweet 16" arrival into a multi-million dollar
contract with the University of Southern California.
As you attempt to win a few dollars filling out your bracket the
next few days, think about the Ed O'Bannon antitrust class action lawsuit
against the NCAA as you imagine the amount of money being generated the next 3
weeks beginning with today's Selection Sunday.