Reports emerged today that the NCAA has been working on trademarking the term “Mask Madness” for the 2021 NCAA Tournament, and the backlash has been fierce.
The latest big name to weigh in on the “Mask Madness” controversy is ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas. Taking to Twitter on Monday, Bilas ripped the NCAA for essentially trying to profit off the ongoing pandemic.
“Up next for the NCAA to trademark? ‘Pandemic Profit?'” Bilas wrote.
A lot people agree with Bilas’ assessment. Given that there’s no evidence the NCAA would donate all proceeds of “Mask Madness” masks to charity, the move comes off as downright deplorable.
Up next for the NCAA to trademark? “Pandemic Profit?” https://t.co/OuGP5jovzK
— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) December 28, 2020
But the NCAA does also appear to be planning to start a public awareness campaign to correspond to the “Mask Madness” campaign. Given the state of things in the United States right now, we could definitely use it. And there might not be a better platform in the entire country to spread that message than the NCAA Tournament.
Nevertheless, the NCAA probably should have re-evaluated trademarking an entire brand given how tone deaf the idea is.
Dozens of basketball games have been canceled or rescheduled due to COVID-19, and we’re only nine months removed from the outright cancellation of the 2020 NCAA Tournament.
We’ve reached a point where we really can’t expect much better from the NCAA when it comes to messaging and tone. The things change, the more they stay the same.