The NCAA is doing NCAA things again, this time suggesting they might promote the 2021 men’s and women’s basketball tournaments as “Mask Madness” instead of March Madness. To wit, they’ve filed a trademark for “Mask Madness” with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
The NCAA has filed a trademark for MASK MADNESS.— Josh Gerben (@JoshGerben) December 28, 2020
The filing, made on December 23, indicates the NCAA will:
1. Sell "MASK MADNESS" branded face masks.
2. Start a "MASK MADNESS" public awareness campaign to promote the benefits of wearing a mask.#NCAA #MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/ODTBZykMfk
The PTO application says “promoting public awareness of benefits associated with wearing masks; advertising, promotion, and marketing services in the nature of campaigns promoting wearing masks as a protection against viral infections.”
All games of the men’s tournament will be in and around Indianapolis, which was originally selected to host the Final Four. The women’s tournament is in negotiations with San Antonio to do the same.
But you know what would really be the best way to promote mask awareness, NCAA? Not having a massive portion of your regular season games canceled every day because of Covid-19. Putting teams and players in bubbles, which the NBA has shown can absolutely work, or waiting until a reasonable number of players can get the vaccine before continuing with the season instead of pressing forward on an arbitrary timetable that benefits your TV contract and not the players you claim to represent.
The NCAA famously requires everyone, including media sitting courtside, to use only Powerade cups during games. Can’t wait to see all the masks worn by players and coaching staffs sponsored by NCAA Corporate Champions Name Goes Here.
There’s no money to pay the players, but you can sure as heck bet there’s plenty to turn them into even bigger billboards. And what better opportunity than something that literally muzzles the face of unpaid labor?