March Sadness


Over the weekend, the illustrious men’s NCAA basketball tournament got underway. The opening rounds featured notable upsets and predictable victories, but unexpected were the related emotions.

Not surprising were the reactions that an array of seniors exhibited after their losses in the tournament. Many of these seniors were seen in tears, as coaches and teammates comforted them with hugs and encouragement.

However, rather unexpectedly, were the reactions of some of the losing teams’ fans.

A multitude of fans were also seen in tears, but two prominent incidents were made undoubtedly aware by the network, CBS.

CBS chose to pan, on multiple occasions, to fans of both Kansas and Wichita State in which each fan was seen to be in uncontrollable tears.

Why did CBS choose to show these images?

Presumably, CBS wanted to reinforce the narrative that college basketball is an emotionally invested sport in which fans become personally attached to teams, and that the sport provokes passion.

Unfortunately, this action by CBS took away from the players and their commitment on the court.

The illustration of fans provided no valuable information related to the respective games, nor did it benefit the perception of the NCAA tournament.

Numbers Never Lie on ESPN brought to attention this same topic and too, and expressed a similar distaste to the actions of CBS.

Co-hosts Michael Smith and Jemele Hill both stated that while CBS didn’t do anything preposterous, the choice to repeatedly show emotional fans did not advantageously impact the NCAA tournament or its viewership.

Thus, during opening weekend, CBS failed to exhibit a strong sense of sport media and its duty to the public, whereas ESPN was able to address the issue and explain why the actions of CBS were undesirable, unwarranted, and unnecessary.

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About The Richard A. Maxwell Sport Media Project

The Richard A. Maxwell Sport Media Project is a hub for teaching, research, and service related to sport media. The Project benefits students and faculty at Bowling Green State University, and offers outreach and media consulting to area and regional groups that work with student-athletes. Through collaborative efforts of the Sport Management program and the School of Media and Communication, BGSU students have the opportunity to learn such skills as sports writing, reporting, broadcasting, announcing, public relations, media relations, communication management and production. Faculty and other scholars have access to resources about the commercial and sociological aspects of sport.

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