INDIANAPOLIS, IN--(Marketwire - Nov 13, 2012) - The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) today tipped off a season-long celebration of 75 Years of March Madness, one of the world's most popular sporting events. To commemorate this historic year, the NCAA is bringing fans the most comprehensive review of players, teams and moments that have made a mark over the history of the March Madness tournament. Basketball legends including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Christian Laettner and more will also be participating in select programs throughout the season to help the NCAA introduce a new generation of fans to March Madness.
"Over the 75 years, March Madness has grown to be the world's most exciting basketball event. As a thank you to the student-athletes, the coaches and fans, in the classrooms and communities across the country, the NCAA has designed events and activities that celebrate the history and the people associated with the tournament," said Dan Gavitt, NCAA vice president of men's basketball championships. "To see where it all began, the players, the teams, and the moments -- it will be a really fun story to tell. Today's March Madness is more than a basketball competition and we're excited to help focus a lens on the historical role it has played on college campuses and across our country."
NCAA.com/March Madness, managed by Turner Sports, will serve as the official online destination for the celebration of the 75 years of March Madness. Starting with the launch of the March Madness Tournament Timeline, which presents a dynamic look at the history of the NCAA tournament, and continuing with the All-Time March Madness Voting program in mid-January, NCAA.com is the home for March Madness.
"Like I tell our student-athletes, being on a team is a part of something bigger than themselves. You want to be in a situation where you are making memories to last a lifetime and doing something for the greater good," said Tom Izzo, Michigan State Spartans' head men's basketball coach and a past president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). "I have been lucky enough to be around some special teams over the years, including being a Division III student-athlete. I look forward to this season, and to celebrating the rich, 75-year history of the NCAA men's basketball tournament and honoring the thousands of student-athletes who have benefited from their student-athlete experiences."
Throughout the season, the NCAA will be rolling out programming and events to engage fans of all ages to celebrate 75 Years of March Madness, including:
- CBS Sports and Turner Sports - CBS Sports and Turner Sports enter the third year of their partnership to air every game from the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship across four networks -- TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV. CBS Sports also is entering its 32nd consecutive year broadcasting the tournament. Both will join in the season-long NCAA 75-year celebration with programming across various platforms.
- 75 Years of March Madness Tournament Timeline on NCAA.com - This year-by-year look at the NCAA tournament presents the history of March Madness like never before, with interactive features, videos, photos, brackets and box scores. The tournament's rich history shines with the timeline's in-depth look at all previous 74 national champions, Most Outstanding Players and the coaches that captured national titles. The March Madness Tournament Timeline also gives fans a unique look at pop culture and historical events through the past years of the NCAA tournament, including the evolution of the basketball shoe. The March Madness Tournament Timeline is available on broadband, tablets and smartphones.
- The NCAA All-Time March Madness Voting on NCAA.com - Launching in mid-January, fans will have the opportunity to make history by voting to help determine the "All-Time March Madness" players, team and moment in NCAA tournament history. Fans will have the ability to watch classic videos, compare statistics and vote for their all-time favorite NCAA players and teams. In addition, they can re-live the most exciting March Madness moments and make their selection for the greatest moment of all time. The All-Time March Madness Voting will live on NCAA.com/March Madness and will be available on tablets and smartphones.
- The 2013 Men's Final Four - This year's March Madness will culminate with the crowning of the 75th winner of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. For the third consecutive year, CBS Sports and Turner Sports will broadcast the Division I national semifinals and championship game on Saturday and Monday, April 6 and 8, live on CBS. Additional details about fan events at Bracket Town refreshed by Coca-Cola Zero and around Atlanta will be released on NCAA.com/March Madness in the coming months.
- Division II and III Championship Games Join the Big Dance® - Additionally, for the first time, the Divisions II and III Men's Basketball Championship final games will be played in conjunction with the Men's Final Four, this year in Atlanta. The Divisions II and III games will be played on Sunday, April 7. The Division II championship game will be broadcast live on CBS, with the Division III final airing live on CBS Sports Network.
- On-campus Activations - To garner excitement and fan engagement across its 377 Division I schools and conferences, the NCAA has developed a number of programs designed to showcase each school's team spirit and get them involved with the 75 Years celebration by highlighting their place in tournament's history. Divisions II and III institutions also will be involved in the 75th celebration by highlighting the many former players and coaches from those divisions -- Tom Izzo, John Calipari and Bo Ryan to name a few -- without whom some of the most memorable March Madness moments would not have been possible.
- March Madness at the 86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and NIT Season Tipoff - The celebration of 75 years of March Madness heads to New York City with a float in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday, Nov. 22. Riding along will be a select group of the NCAA's legendary players, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Christian Laettner. These former greats also will be honored during the championship game of the NIT Season Tipoff in Madison Square Garden on Friday, November 23.
- The March Madness Art Collection: Celebrating 75 Years of Coaches & Champions - The NCAA, in partnership with the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and the NABC Foundation, commissioned world renowned artist Opie Otterstad to paint a one-of-a-kind piece of art for each of the 75 national championship years highlighting the coach of each national championship team. Each piece will be unveiled and auctioned off at the championship team's campus with a portion of the proceeds going to the NABC Foundation. Replicas of all 74 pieces of art (minus the 2013 national champion) will be on display at the NCAA's fanfest, Bracket Town refreshed by Coca-Cola Zero, during the 2013 Men's Final Four in Atlanta.
- 75,000 Shoes Challenge with Samaritan's Feet - In partnership with Samaritan's Feet, which has been named an official charity of the NABC and also designated by the NCAA's Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee as its charitable affiliation, the NCAA is leading an effort to help raise funds for 75,000 pairs of shoes during the 2012-2013 men's basketball season. Division I schools will help the NCAA raise awareness and funds for this remarkable organization that provides shoes to needy youth worldwide by hosting shoe drives and distributing commemorative 75 Years of March Madness/Samaritan's Feet wrist bands in exchange for $10 donations from fans.
In 1939, the University of Oregon Ducks (formerly Webfoots) won the first national collegiate men's basketball tournament as part of an eight-team field. Leading up to the 2013 Men's Final Four in April, a field of 68 of the best teams in the country will compete to be the 75th Division I men's basketball champion.
For more information on the NCAA and where to see, read and experience a celebration of 75 Years of March Madness, visit NCAA.com/March Madness.
About the NCAA
The NCAA is a membership-led nonprofit association of colleges and universities committed to supporting academic and athletic opportunities for more than 400,000 student-athletes at more than 1,000 member colleges and universities. Each year, more than 54,000 student-athletes compete in NCAA championships in Divisions I, II and III sports. Visit www.ncaa.org and www.ncaa.com for more details about the Association, its goals and members and corporate partnerships that help support programs for student-athletes. The NCAA is proud to have the following elite companies as official Corporate Champions -- AT&T, Capital One and Coca-Cola -- and the following elite companies as official Corporate Partners -- Allstate, Buick, Enterprise, Infiniti, LG, Lowe's, Nabisco, Northwestern Mutual, Reese's (Hershey's), Unilever and UPS.
NCAA, Final Four, Big Dance and March Madness are licensed by or trademarks of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.