As the college basketball season reaches its conclusion, the eyes of millions of sports fans around the country will tune in to what some consider the greatest sporting event in the world – NCAA March Madness. For the majority of fans the rich history of the the tournament itself is something all to often taken for granted. Few realize the immense efforts that go on behind the scenes to bring not only the tournament to life, but to shape the very game of basketball itself.
Established in 1927, the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) has been an integral force in not only spreading basketball throughout the world, but its very creation as well. Started by coach Phog Allen, himself a disciple of the legendary, the NABC was an organization initially focused on creating consistency in a game that was rapidly growing in popularity. The association helped define the rules of modern basketball by creating standardization in ball size, rim height an other aspects that most players and fans would never think twice about.
The NABC was also responsible for starting March Madness, running the first ever national college basketball tournament in 1939. A year later, the association sold the rights to the tournament to the NCAA for a mere $2000 as well as a percentage of complimentary tickets to all future tournament games. Much to the NABC’s chagrin, some 7o years later the NCAA would sign a 14 year extension with CBS and Turner Sports worth an estimated $11 billion dollars.