A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from March 21, 2012
March Madness (NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship)

"March Madness” (also called the “Big Dance”) is the NCAA Division I basketball tournament. The term is usually credited—incorrectly—to H. V. Porter (1891-1975), who used the term “March Madness” in 1939 and in 1942 to describe the Illinois High School Boys Basketball Championship. However, “March madness” has been used to describe the Indiana High School Boys Basketball State Tournament since 1931, 1937 and 1938.

“March madness” is related to the old English phrase, “mad as a March hare.” The NCAA Division I basketball tournament has been called “March Madness” since at least 1958; the moniker became popular in the 1980s, with the rise of ESPN and televised games.

March basketball in Indiana has also been called “Hoosier Hoopla,” “Hoosier Hysteria,” “Indiana Insanity” and “Midwest Madness.”


Wiktionary: March Madness
Etymology
From the month of March, during which the most of the tournament matches take place.
Proper noun
March Madness

1.(basketball, US) The NCAA Division I basketball championship tournaments.

(Oxford English Dictionary)
March madness n. a form of madness or uncharacteristic behaviour said to affect people in March (perh. from the unsettled weather).
[1963 Times 14 Feb. 16/3 Now, I think it would be mid-summer or -March madness for anyone to oppose collective security.]
1972 G. E. Evans & D. Thomson Leaping Hare iv. 48 In March 1909 two pursued a large domestic cat of colour resembling themselves;‥a possible explanation may be that these were two males so blinded with ‘March madness’ as to mistake grimalkin for a member of their own race.
1991 San Francisco Chron. 20 Mar. d1/1 The nation is now in the middle of ‘March madness’, that time of year when the NCAA basketball tournament takes place.

Wikipedia: Illinois high school boys basketball championship
The Illinois High School Boys Basketball Championship is a single elimination tournament held each spring. It is organized by the Illinois High School Association (IHSA).

From 1908-1971, it was a single tournament contested by nearly all high schools in Illinois. In 1972, the tournament was divided into two divisions based on school size, (A and AA), each producing a separate champion. In 2008, the tournament was divided into four separate divisions (1A, 2A, 3A, and 4A being the larger schools). The Illinois High School Basketball Championship was the first tournament to be called ‘March Madness’. The term was first used about the Illinois tournament in 1939, decades before it was used about NCAA basketball tournament.

Wikipedia: H. V. Porter
H. V. Porter (October 2, 1891-October 27, 1975), born Henry Van Arsdale Porter, was an athletic administrator, inventor, and coach. He served at the top of his profession for almost 30 years and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1960. Yet in spite of all his practical contributions, his lasting legacy to the world of sport was the result of a simple essay he wrote in 1939 entitled “March Madness.”
(...)
As editor of the IHSA’s magazine Porter showed a particular flair for prose and verse. Nearly every edition contained a new Porter composition. In 1939, near the end of his tenure at the Association, he penned an affectionate essay about fans of the state’s high school basketball tournament, which during the 1930s had grown into a statewide cultural icon. “When the March madness is on him,” Porter wrote, “midnight jaunts of a hundred miles on successive nights make him even more alert the next day.”

Wikipedia: NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship
The NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship is a single-elimination tournament held each spring in the United States, featuring 68 college basketball teams, to determine the national championship in the top tier of college basketball. The tournament, organized by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), was created in 1939 by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, and was the brainchild of Ohio State University coach Harold Olsen.  Held mostly in March, it is known informally as March Madness or the Big Dance, and has become one of the most prominent annual sporting events in the United States. The NCAA has credited Bob Walsh of the Seattle Organizing Committee for starting the March Madness celebration in 1984.

Newspapers.com
11 March 1931, Rushville (IN) Republican, “The Basketeer,” pg. 2, col. 3:
March Madness
The elimination of Anderson Tech, Columbus and Shelbyville were only mere flurries of what is to follow this week at the various basketball conventions in sixteen regional cities.—Newcastle Courier-Times.

Bob Stranahan evidently became afflicted with some of his own March madness, for Columbus was not eliminated, as Shelbyville can likely tell you.

22 March 1935, Chronicle-Telegram (Elyria, Ohio), pg. 5, col. 7 ad:
Spring Fever?  March Madness?
Our cure-all is a gay
HANKIE

Newspapers.com
5 January 1937, Lafayette (IN) Journal and Courier, pg. 13, col. 1:
INDIANA’S HIGH SCHOOLS BEGIN STRETCH DRIVE
Holiday Season Over for State Basketball Teams; No Rest Now Until After “March Madness.”
INDIANAPOLIS, Jan. 4— (AP)—Holiday tournaments over, Indiana’s high school basketball teams this week settle into the home stretch before the annual “March madness”—the state tournament.

5 January 1937, Evansville (IN) Courier, “County Tourneys Hold Spotlight in Prep Play,” pg. 9, col. 2:
INDIANAPOLIS, Jan. 4— (AP)—Holiday tournaments over, Indiana’s high school basketball teams this week settle into the home stretch before the annual “March madness”—the state tournament.

Newspapers.com
26 January 1937, Lafayette (IN) Journal and Courier, “Jeff at Delphi Tomorrow for Return Battle,” pg. 8, col. 1:
A rocky road stretches ahead of Jeff’s Bronchos as they prepare to start on their last drive before the annual “March madness.”

Newspapers.com
27 February 1937, The Richmond Palladium and Sun-Telegram (Richmond, IN), “Morton Will Face Boston in Friday Afternoon Tilt,” pg. 8, col. 1:
March madness, which reaches epic proportions in the state of Indiana every Spring, gripped local cage fans as the 12 teams who will participate in the Richmond sectional at the Trueblood Field House, Mar. 4, 5, and 6, were lined up at the starting mark, ready to battle for honors in the Hoosier classic.

Newspapers.com
6 March 1937, Richmond (IN) Item, “Saratoga, Parker Are Also Surprise Winners,” pg. 10, col. 1:
Accompanying the upset of Winchester, defending champions in the meet, came another perfect example of Indiana’s March Madness when Spartanburg’s net aggregation, slated for a berth in the finals, dropped out of the picture tonight on the long end of a 25-24 score in a contest with Saratoga’s quintet.

25 February 1938, Logansport (IN) Press, “Sport Tips,” pg. 6, col. 7:
Today the Indiana High School Athletic Association board convenes at Indianapolis to make the pairings for the annual March Madness, the elimination tournaments. Drawings for all tourneys will be announced at 9 a. m. Saturday and from there it’s do your own figuring.

14 February 1939, Logansport (IN) Press, “Sport Tips” by H. R., pg. 5, col. 2:
More than 800 schools are expected to participate in the March madness this spring.

12 March 1939, Hammond (IN) Times, “Speculating in Sports” by John Whitaker, pg. 13, col. 1:
Basketball ceases to be news in man a smaller downstate Hoosier newspaper the minute the home team is eliminated in tourney play....At least 15 cage columns were forced to adjourn last week, some of them not even taking time to explain why the homers lost out in Mr. Trester’s March Madness.

30 March 1940, Chicago (IL) Daily Tribune, pg. 19:
HOOSIER MARCH MADNESS BOILS TO CLIMAX TODAY
Nearly 15,000 Will See Prep Basket Finals.
By Charles Bartlett

16 March 1944, Marion (OH) Star, pg. 22, col. 1:
High School Cage Teams Renew
Battle for State Title Tonight

By The Associated Press
COLUMBUS, March 16--"March madness,” a disease which seems to go hand in hand with the high school basketball tournament, will start toward its peak in
Ohio tonight.

The principal “sufferers” tonight will be centered at Youngstown…

19 March 1945, Zanesville (OH) Signal, pg. 9, col. 2:
COLUMBUS, O.—(AP)—The cream of Ohioh’s high school basketball crop—eight teams which have won a total of 183 games this season and lost only
12—headed today for the last lap of the annual march madness which will end Saturday night with the crowning of the 1945 state Class A and B champions.

1 March 1946, Times-Recorder (Zanesville, OH), pg. 3B, col. 4:
March madness arrived early this year as basketball fans have been streaming the auditorium over the past two weeks tosee the county and sectional
tournaments in the City auditorium.

14 March 1947, Dixon (IL) Evening Telegraph, pg. 7, col. 4:
“MARCH MADNESS”—March Madness they call it...state championship tournament time in other words.

And the “madness” isn’t just confined to Illinois. Forty-six states choose champions with only California and New York abstaining. But all 48 states have some kind of championship eliminations.  Some have two to four classes of meets, according to the enrollments of the schools.

Fifteen states lump all schools together in one furious title race, Illinois for instance, retaininf the exciting though faint possibility that some little David may knock off a Goliath in a stunning upset.

These Davids are the darlings of the neutral fans...fans whose favorites were eliminated early in the chase.  Such tiny communities as Reedsville, Wis., Lyn, Minn., Farmer, Ohio, Diagonal, La., and our own Dundee have brought enduring fame to their towns through the heroic featts of their high school cagers.

March Madness...truly an apt nom de plume!

Google News Archive
13 March 1958, The Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburger, VA), “March Cage Madness to Hit Peak as NIT Starts Tonight” by Don Weiss (AP Sports Writer), pg. 8, col. 2:
Basketball’s March madness reaches its wackiest peak tonight with the NIT busting in on the NCAA big college, NCAA small college, and the NAIA in the alphabetical battle for national tournament honors.

Google News Archive
15 February 1960, Spokane (WA) Daily Chronicle, “Top Collegiate Quintets Fight fo Tourney Spots” by the Associated Press, pg. 12, col. 1:
College basketball powers, heading toward their annual March madness, move tonight into a three-week production subtitled “impress the tournament committees.”

14 March 1962, Sporting News, pg. 40, col. 3:
MARCH MADNESS: Nearly everybody talks or writes about basketball:...
(Written from Las Vegas, Nevada—ed.)

5 March 1966, Christian Science Monitor, “High-school cage fervor grabs Midwest” by Dick Cooper, pg. 10:
For schools involved, the final stages produce moments of undiluted ecstacy and devastation. “March Madness,” they call it in Illinois. The phenomenon
is similar in Indiana and neighboring states.

14 January 1967, Sporting News, pg. 12, col. 3:
Did the December destruction set the stage for the March madness commonly called the National Intercollegiate Basketball Tournament?
(Written from Chicago, Illinois—ed.)

Sports Illustrated
March 08, 1982
Rookie Of The Year? It’s CBS
The network that grabbed the NCAA tournament is scoring in other ways

Alexander Wolff
(...)
Better to treat the season as a series of self-contained extravaganzas rather than as a succession of news events that could serve as a protracted promo for the March Madness on the other network.

Sports Illustrated
March 02, 1987
Seems Like Everyone Has A Shot This Year
The NCAA title is up for grabs because talent is more evenly distributed, thanks to TV, higher academic standards, the lure of the pros and three-point baskets

Curry Kirkpatrick
(...)
Or, alternatively, a dozen “intersectional TV clashes” against “perennial powers” so Dick Vitale can scream, “Awwwwgh, I’m tellin’ ya, this team is a Rip Van WINKLE!!!” as you finish with a misleading 16-13 record and draw attention from...the Boys from Mission, Kans., who will invite you to March Madness, The Big Dance, The Party on Bourbon Street, Hoop Heaven. In other words, include you among the 64—or is it 640?—teams lucky enough to travel The Road to New Orleans and play for The Huge Enchilada, The Whole Ball of Wax, and maybe even the national championship.

Sports Illustrated
March 14, 1988
College Basketball
Morin Bishop
(...)
Though one would hardly know it with all the hoopla surrounding NCAA Division I March Madness, postseason tournaments are already under way or are about to begin in NCAA Divisions II and III and in the NAIA.

Sports Illustrated
March 02, 1992
The Race Is On
Indiana was the sole survivor in a week of Top 10 upsets that portend a wide-open NCAA field

Phil Taylor
The normally Maniacal Duke student section was taken to task for being too docile, and, for once, even Dick Vitale wished Dick Vitale had stuffed a sock in it. Those two shocking developments alone would have stamped last week as a truly strange one in college basketball, but when the teams in the Associated Press Top 25 fell more often than the top women figure skaters in Albertville did, it was clear that March Madness had arrived prematurely.

Courier & Press (Evansville, IN)
Interest in origins of ‘March Madness’ extends all the way to New York
Gordon Engelhardt, Courier & Press
Published 6:51 p.m. CT April 7, 2018 | Updated 8:14 p.m. CT April 7, 2018
The interest in the origins of the iconic phrase “March Madness” extends far and wide, it’s not just limited to Indiana, Illinois and the NCAA. In fact, etymologist Barry Popik of Goshen, N.Y., has researched the origin of the term extensively.
(...)
For years, the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) claimed “March Madness” as its own. IHSA executive secretary Henry V. Porter wrote an essay entitled “March Madness” in the IHSA’s in-house magazine, “Illinois High School Athlete,” in March 1939. That organization has claimed ownership of the phrase ever since.

Former Chicago Daily News sportswriter Brent Musburger used the term during CBS’ coverage of the 1982 NCAA men’s basketball tournament and the “madness” truly began. As a result, the NCAA tournament and “March Madness” are synonymous, much to the dismay of the IHSA.

However, City of Evansville Community Development Specialist Gayl Killough did a little research and found a March 25, 1938 headline at the top of the Evansville Press, proclaiming “Indiana in Grip of Its Annual March Madness.”

Popik found out the term had been used in Indiana newspapers even earlier. He claims the phrase was used to refer to Indiana’s state high school basketball tournament at least as early as 1931.

(Trademark)
Word Mark MARCH MADNESS
Goods and Services IC 041. US 107. G & S: ENTERTAINMENT SERVICES, NAMELY, PRESENTATION OF ATHLETIC AND ENTERTAINMENT PERSONALITIES IN A PANEL FORUM. FIRST USE: 19860310. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19860310
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial Number 73785419
Filing Date March 9, 1989
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Published for Opposition September 19, 1989
Registration Number 1571340
Registration Date December 12, 1989
Owner (REGISTRANT) INTERSPORT, INC. CORPORATION ILLINOIS 414 N. ORLEANS CHICAGO ILLINOIS 60611
(LAST LISTED OWNER) MARCH MADNESS ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION, L.L.C. LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY ILLINOIS 2715 MCGRAW DRIVE BLOOMINGTON ILLINOIS 617022715
Assignment Recorded ASSIGNMENT RECORDED
Attorney of Record Douglas N. Masters
Type of Mark SERVICE MARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Affidavit Text SECT 15. SECT 8 (6-YR). SECTION 8(10-YR) 20100123.
Renewal 2ND RENEWAL 20100123
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • Wednesday, March 21, 2012 • Permalink