March Madness: Origins


March Madness is upon us, and although it may have seemed like the excitement couldn’t possibly match previous years, it never ceases to blow everyone’s expectations out of the water. It’s common to think of college basketball and the conference championship tournaments with the term “March Madness”, but taking a look back at the history of it, things were a little different when it all first started. Check it out as we do a little digging into the origins of March Madness.

Although March Madness is associated with basketball in the college ranks, the term was coined from hoops in Illinois on the high school level. Sixteen teams would battle head-to-head, drawing sellout crowds to the University of Illinois’ Huff Gymnasium in a state tournament put together by the Illinois High School Association (IHSA). Henry V. Porter, an executive secretary of the association remarked about the phenomenon in an essay titled “March Madness”.

As the popularity of the tournament continued to grow, the event was moved to a bigger venue, eventually leading to the IHSA officially using “March Madness” in its programs and its merchandise.

Fast-forward to the present, and the term “March Madness” has a different connotation. Outside of the state of Illinois, it’s all about the college basketball and the potential upsets and nail-biting finishes that are to be expected.

Though things have changed over the years, one thing still remains the same. March is basketball month, so if you’re a basketball fan, you can judge just from the history that it’s going to be another one for the ages.