This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
March 27 is the 86th day of the year (87th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 279 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1939, March Madness is born.
The University of Oregon defeats The Ohio State University 46-33 on this day in 1939 to win the first-ever NCAA men’s basketball tournament. The Final Four, as the tournament became known, has grown exponentially in size and popularity since 1939. By 2005, college basketball had become the most popular sporting event among gamblers, after the Super Bowl. The majority of that betting takes place at tournament time, when Las Vegas, the internet and office pools around the country see action from sports enthusiasts and once-a-year gamblers alike.
For the first 12 years of the men’s tournament, only eight teams were invited to participate. That number grew steadily until a 65-team tournament format was unveiled in 2001. After a “play-in” game between the 64th and 65th seeds, the tournament breaks into four regions of 16 teams. The winning teams from those regions comprise the Final Four, who meet in that year’s host city to decide the championship.
March Madness is a popular term for season-ending basketball tournaments played in March, especially those conducted by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and various state high school associations. Fans began connecting the term to the NCAA tournament in the early 1980s. Evidence suggests that CBS sportscaster Brent Musburger, who had worked for many years in Chicago before joining CBS, popularized the term during the annual tournament broadcasts. The phrase had not already become associated with the college tournament when an Illinois official wrote in 1939 that “A little March Madness [may] contribute to sanity.” March Madness is also a registered trademark, held jointly by the NCAA and the Illinois High School Association. It was also the title of a book about the Illinois high school tournament written in 1977 by Jim Enright.
H. V. Porter, an official with the Illinois High School Association (and later a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame) was the first person to use March Madness to describe a basketball tournament. Porter published an essay named March Madness in 1939 and in 1942 used the phrase in a poem, “Basketball Ides of March.” Through the years the use of March Madness picked up steam, especially in Illinois, Indiana, and other parts of the Midwest. During this period the term was used almost exclusively in reference to state high school tournaments. In 1977 the IHSA published a book about its tournament titled March Madness.
Only in the 1990s did either the IHSA or NCAA think about trademarking the term, and by that time a small television production company named Intersport, Inc., had beaten them both to the punch. IHSA eventually bought the trademark rights from Intersport and then went after big game, suing GTE Vantage, Inc., an NCAA licensee that used the name March Madness for a computer game based on the college tournament. In a historic ruling, “Illinois High School Association v. GTE Vantage, Inc.” (1996), the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit created the concept of a “dual-use trademark,” granting both the IHSA and NCAA the right to trademark the term for their own purposes.
Following the ruling, the NCAA and IHSA joined forces and created the March Madness Athletic Association to coordinate the licensing of the trademark and investigate possible trademark infringement. One such case involved a company that had obtained the Internet domain name marchmadness.com and was using it to post information about the NCAA tournament. After protracted litigation, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held in March Madness Athletic Association v. Netfire, Inc. (2003) that March Madness was not a generic term and ordered Netfire to relinquish the domain name. (This domain name is currently being used to redirect into the main NCAA.com web site.)
In recent years, the term “March Madness” has been expanded to include all conference tournaments in college basketball, with the term “The Big Dance” being used more frequently when specifically referring to the NCAA Tournament. March Madness has also has been used generally to describe all basketball tournaments across the country that occur in the month of March – high school and college, male and female.
The coverage and live blogging of all the 2011 Men’s and Women’s NCAA Championship are happening here at The Stars Hollow Gazette.
196 BC – Ptolemy V ascends to the throne of Egypt.
1306 – Robert the Bruce is crowned King of Scotland at Scone.
1309 – Pope Clement V excommunicates Venice and all its population.
1329 – Pope John XXII issues his In Agro Dominico condemning some writings of Meister Eckhart as heretical.
1613 – The first English child born in Canada at Cuper’s Cove, Newfoundland to Nicholas Guy.
1625 – Charles I becomes King of England, Scotland and Ireland as well as claiming the title King of France.
1782 – Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham becomes Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
1794 – The United States Government establishes a permanent navy and authorizes the building of six frigates.
1794 – Denmark and Sweden form a neutrality compact.
1809 – Peninsular War: A combined Franco-Polish force defeats the Spanish in the Battle of Ciudad-Real.
1814 – War of 1812: In central Alabama, U.S. forces under General Andrew Jackson defeat the Creek at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.
1836 – Texas Revolution: Goliad massacre – Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna orders the Mexican army to kill about 400 Texas POW’s at Goliad,
1846 – Mexican-American War: Siege of Fort Texas.
1851 – First reported sighting of the Yosemite Valley by Europeans.
1854 – Crimean War: The United Kingdom declares war on Russia.
1871 – The first international rugby football match, England v. Scotland, is played in Edinburgh at Raeburn Place.
1881 – Rioting takes place in Basingstoke in protest against the daily vociferous promotion of rigid Temperance by the Salvation Army.
1884 – A mob in Cincinnati, Ohio, US, attacks members of a jury who had returned a verdict of manslaughter in a clear case of murder, and then over the next few days would riot and destroy the courthouse.
1886 – Famous Apache warrior, Geronimo, surrenders to the U.S. Army, ending the main phase of the Apache Wars.
1890 – A tornado strikes Louisville, Kentucky, killing 76 and injuring 200.
1915 – Typhoid Mary, the first healthy carrier of disease ever identified in the United States, is put in quarantine, where she would remain for the rest of her life.
1918 – Moldova and Bessarabia join Romania.
1938 – Second Sino-Japanese War: The Battle of Taierzhuang takes place.
1941 – World War II: Yugoslavian Air Force officers topple the pro-axis government in a bloodless coup.
1943 – World War II: Battle of the Komandorski Islands – In the Aleutian Islands the battle begins when United States Navy forces intercept Japanese attempting to reinforce a garrison at Kiska.
1945 – World War II: Operation Starvation, the aerial mining of Japan’s ports and waterways begins.
1948 – The Second Congress of the Workers Party of North Korea is convened.
1958 – Nikita Khrushchev becomes Premier
of the Soviet Union.
1963 – Beeching Axe: Dr. Richard Beeching issues a report calling for huge cuts to the United Kingdom’s rail network.
1964 – The Good Friday Earthquake, the most powerful earthquake in U.S. history at a magnitude of 9.2 strikes South Central Alaska, killing 125 people and inflicting massive damage to the city of Anchorage.
1975 – Construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System begins.
1976 – The first 4.6 miles of the Washington Metro subway system opens.
1977 – Tenerife airport disaster: Two Boeing 747 airliners collide on a foggy runway on Tenerife in the Canary Islands, killing 583 (all 248 on KLM and 335 on Pan Am). 61 survived on the Pan Am flight.
1980 – The Norwegian oil platform Alexander L. Kielland collapses in the North Sea, killing 123 of its crew of 212.
1980 – Silver Thursday: A steep fall in silver prices, resulting from the Hunt Brothers attempting to corner the market in silver, led to panic on commodity and futures exchanges.
1981 – The Solidarity movement in Poland stages a warning strike, in which at least 12 million Poles walk off their jobs for four hours.
1986 – A car bomb explodes at Russell Street Police HQ in Melbourne, killing 1 police officer and injuring 21 people.
1990 – The United States begins broadcasting TV Martí to Cuba in an effort to bridge the information blackout imposed by the Castro regime.
1993 – Jiang Zemin is appointed President of the People’s Republic of China.
1993 – Italian former minister and Christian Democracy leader Giulio Andreotti is accused of mafia allegiance by the tribunal of Palermo.
1994 – One of the biggest tornado outbreaks in recent memory hits the Southeastern United States. One tornado slams into a church in Piedmont, Alabama during Palm Sunday services killing 20 and injuring 90.
1994 – The Eurofighter takes its first flight in Manching, Germany.
1998 – The Food and Drug Administration approves Viagra for use as a treatment for male impotence, the first pill to be approved for this condition in the United States.
2000 – A Phillips Petroleum plant explosion in Pasadena, Texas kills 1 and injures 71.
2004 – HMS Scylla (F71), a decommissioned Leander class frigate, is sunk as an artificial reef off Cornwall, the first of its kind in Europe.
2009 – Situ Gintung, an artificial lake in Indonesia, fails, killing at least 99 people.
2009 – A suicide bomber kills at least 48 at a mosque in the Khyber Agency of Pakistan.
* Christian Feast Day:
o Alexander, a Pannonian soldier, martyred in 3rd century.
o Augusta of Treviso, a virgin, beheaded by her pagan father in 5th century.
o Romulus of Nimes, a Benedictine abbot, martyred c. 730.
* World Theatre Day (International)