It's estimated that 45 percent of American workers will fill out at least one NCAA bracket, which are printed in thousands of newspapers and magazines.
Basketball junkies and novices will ante up a dollar or two that will total billions of dollars in office pools. It's technically illegal in most states but impossible to enforce. There are many worse "crimes" to devote resources.
The NCAA receives $770 million from television rights to the tournament. One reason for the television popularity is the excitement and enticement of people filling out bracket and no real knowledge or expertise is required to do well. Having a vested interest in a bracket allows folks to root for teams in which they have no connection.
But the rich and powerful NCAA wants you to do it for funsies. The NCAA has released that it officially opposes any pool in which participants have to put "something at risk — such as an entry fee or a wager." Just play for fun, the NCAA says.
I guess the NCAA has to officially oppose something that is technically illegal in much of the country and has to take a hard-line stance on gambling.
Does anyone seen the irony that the NCAA has made millions creating a event that transcends the court and flows naturally into office and group pools, then tries to tell people, "Don't do that?" The NCAA helps create the monster, the monster enriches the NCAA and the NCAA tells folks not to keep feeding the monster that is feeding it.
And the NCAA has a lot of other issues to be concerning about rather than whether Jim or Jane put in a dollar in the office pool.