You know that bracket of yours that is currently crumpled up in the trash because you thought the Big Ten would advance more than one team to the Sweet Sixteen? That's officially March Madness. A lot of people know that the term March Madness was originally created in Illinois. What many don't know (myself included up to 2 days ago) was that legendary broadcaster Brent Musberger is partially, if not wholly, responsible for Illinois receiving the credit (and financial reward) for being the birthplace of "March Madness.

March Madness Origins

So perhaps you were one of the few who didn't know that the term "March Madness" was created in Illinois. Understandable. Here's the short version.

IHSA - "March Madness," the term used to describe the excitement surrounding the Illinois state high school basketball tournaments, first appeared in print almost sixty years ago. It was coined by Henry V. Porter, who started his career as a teacher and coach at Athens High School in central Illinois. In 1924, Porter led the Athens boys basketball team to a second-place finish in the state tournament. He later served as assistant executive secretary of the Illinois High School Athletic Association (from 1929 to 1940) and executive secretary of the National Federation of State High School Associations (from 1940 to 1958).

The term really took off when a car dealer in Chicago began running ads in the paper during the annual high school boy's basketball tournament where he would report the scores under the massive heading of "March Madness" with an ad for the dealership beneath the scores.

This is where Musberger first heard the term as well.

March Madness Goes National

The phrase March Madness was first uttered on national television in 1982 during the first weekend of CBS' newly acquired NCAA basketball tournament by none other than Brent Musberger.

Brent shares the story here on the Rich Eisen Show:

The phrase became so popular the NCAA was looking to copyright it. The lawyers involved eventually went to Musberger for information and that's when Musberger said that all credit was to be given to the state of Illinois. The lawyers listened and eventually the name March Madness was officially "bought" from the state of Illinois.

The state of Illinois thanks you Brent for not forgetting about us and getting Illinois some of the credit it deserves.

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