Saturday, 15 October 2011

Midnight Madness (basketball)

Midnight Madness is an annual event on college campuses that celebrates the first day in mid-October that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) permits formal basketball practices each college basketball season. In some cases, the name has literal meaning since an event is scheduled starting at midnight at the very first moment that is allowed. Some other campuses have sunrise practice session events on the opening day of the season, while others have theirs during prime time. The event has become both a form of boosterism and recruiting. In some cases, the teams are both celebrating the potential of a new team and the success of the previous season's teams. Schools sometimes schedule banner raising events in conjunction with the event. In 2010, events began on Friday, October 15 with the actual practice occurring at midnight on Saturday, October 16.Maryland Terrapins head coach Lefty Driesell started the tradition at 12:03 a.m. on October 15, 1971 with a 1.5 mile run. The early practice session was attended by 3,000 fans at the track surrounding Byrd Stadium on the University of Maryland campus. Driesell continued the annual midnight practice session throughout his tenure at Maryland, and brought the tradition with him when he became head coach at Georgia State University. In 2008, that school delayed the event until sunrise for the first time since Driesell established the tradition.One celebratory function of the evening is often to raise NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship or Final Four banners to the rafters in an official ceremony. In 2008, both 2008 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament finalists, the Kansas Jayhawks men's basketball and Memphis Tigers men's basketball teams, did so during their respective Midnight Madness event. The October 16, 2009 celebrations occurred on many campuses and a sampling were aired on the ESPN family of networks. Five Big Ten Conference schools celebrated Midnight Madness.

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