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The NCAA isn’t responsible for coming up with the phrase ‘March Madness,’ that honor actually belongs to Brent Musburger. The legendary broadcaster came up with the name in 1982, but he didn’t come up with it out of thin air, he actually sort of stole the phrase.
Musburger recently joined ‘The Rich Eisen Show‘ and shared the story behind coming up with the term ‘March Madness’ when he was a host with CBS.
“It was a late one Thursday evening after the opening games, and I said we had a couple of big upsets late that night out on the west coast, and I said, ‘folks, this is madness, this is March Madness,’” Musburger explained.
Musburger then went into detail about how a high school state basketball tournament and a car dealer were responsible for the name coming to mind in the moment.
“I didn’t just pull it out of thin air. But when I was a newspaperman and a broadcaster back in Chicago, back when I started, there was a car dealer who was always close to the state’s high school basketball tournament in the state of Illinois. It was a big deal,” Musburger said.
“In fact, the state high school basketball tournament at that time in Indiana and Illinois was actually bigger than the college tournament, and he referred to it in an ad that ran in our paper, the Chicago American, as March Madness. And he would print the games, but then, of course, underneath, he would have his car sales for March. That was all part of March Madness. And that stuck with me when I went to the network.”
The NCAA didn’t just rip the name and start using it behind the backs of Indiana and Illinois high school basketball but instead made a settlement of an undisclosed amount and now have the copyright to March Madness.
Obviously, one person was responsible for coming up with the phrase ‘March Madness,’ but I was today years old when I learned it was Brent Musburger.