1939 - The first National Collegiate men's basketball tournament was held. For the first 12 years, district playoffs often were held with the winner entering an eight-team field for the championship. The district games were not considered a part of the tournament. The winners of the East and West regionals were the only two teams to advance to the final site.
1940 - The National Association of Basketball Coaches held its annual convention at the site of the national finals for the first time. It has been held there ever since.
1946 - The championship game was televised locally for the first time in New York City by CBS-TV as Oklahoma State defeated North Carolina, 43-40. The initial viewing audience was estimated to be 500,000. This was the first time four teams advanced to the final site. With only East and West regionals, the two regional champions played for the national title while the regional runner-ups played for third place.
1951 - The field was expanded to 16 teams, with 10 conference champions qualifying automatically for the first time. Those 10 conferences were: Big Seven, Big 10 Border, Eastern (Ivy), Missouri Valley, Pacific Coast, Skyline, Southeastern, Southern and Southwest.
1952 - Tournament games were televised regionally for the first time. The number of regional sites changed from two to four, with the four winners advancing to the finals.
1953 - The bracket expanded from 16 teams to 22 and fluctuated between 22 and 25 teams until 1974.
1954 - The Tuesday-Wednesday format for semifinals and final game was changed to Friday-Saturday. The championship game was televised nationally for the first time as LaSalle defeated Bradley, 94-76, in Kansas City.
1957 - The largest media group to that point in the tournament's history was assembled for the finals in Kansas City. Coverage included an 11-station television network, 64-newspaper writers and live radio broadcasts on 73 stations in 11 states.
1963 - A contract to run through 1968 was effected with "Sports Network" for the championship game to be televised nationally. Television rights totaled $140,000.
1966 - Net income for the entire tournament exceeded $500,000 for the first time. A television-blackout provision requiring a 48-hour advance sellout was adopted.
1969 - The Friday-Saturday format for semifinals and final game was changed to Thursday-Saturday. NBC selected to televise the championship at television rights totaled $547,500, exceeding $500,000 for the first time. The tournament's net income of $1,032,915 was the first time above the million-dollar mark.
1971 - NBC recorded the largest audience ever for a basketball network telecast during the semifinals as 9,320,000 homes saw the game.
1973 - The Thursday-Saturday format for semifinals and final game changed to Saturday-Monday. Television rights totaled $1,165,755 exceeding $1,000,000 for the first time. NBC reported that the championship game was the highest-rated basketball telecast of all time. The contest received a rating of 20.5 and was seen by 13,580,000 television households reaching a total audience of 39 million persons. For the first time, the championship game was televised in prime time.TVS, with approval of NBC, agreed to televise those games not carried by NBC for a two-year period at the rights fee of $65,000 per year. First-round byes were determined on the basis of an evaluation of the conference's won-lost record over the past 10 years in National Collegiate Championship play. The first public draw to fill oversubscribed orders for Final Four game tickets was administered by the committee for the 1974 championship.
1974 - The bracket rotation was changed for the first time, eliminating East vs. West bracketing in effect since 1939. East played West and Mideast played Midwest in national semifinals. The Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference was divided to receive multiple automatic qualification berths in the tournament.
1975 - A 32-team bracket was adopted and teams other than the conference champion could be chosed at-large from the same conference for the first time. Dressing rooms open to media after a 10-minute "cooling off" period.
1976 - The rights for the NCAA Radio Network were awarded to Host Communications, Inc., of Lexington, Kentucky. Regional third-place games were eliminated. For the first time, two teams from the same conference (Big 10) played in the national championship game with Indiana defeating Michigan.
1977 - NBC televised 23 hours and 18 minutes of tournament programming.
1978 - A seeding process was used for the first time for individual teams. A maximum of four automatic qualifying conference teams were seeded in each of the four regional brackets. These teams were seeded based on their respective conferences' won-lost percentages in tournament play during the past five years. At-large seeding in each region was based on current won-lost records, strength of schedule and eligibility status of student-athletes for postseasoncompetition. NBC televised the four regional championship games and a first round doubleheader on Saturday and Sunday. NCAA Productions televised all regional semifinal games and all other tournament games. Complimentary tickets for all NCAA championships were eliminated.
1979 - The bracket was expanded to 40 teams and for the first time, all teams were seeded. NBC receive a record one-game rating with a 24.1 in Michigan State's national championship victory over Indiana State. The 38 share also is a record. There were 18 million homes viewing, which ranks third. Committee assigned three-man officiating crews for all tournament games.
1980 - The bracket was expanded to 48 teams, which included 24 automatic qualifiers and 24 at-large teams. The top 16 seeds received byes to the second round. The limit of no more that two teams for the same conference being allowed in the tournament was lifted. This now game the committee maximum flexibility to balance the bracket as well as to select the best possible at-large entrants.
1981 - Principles for the seeding and placement of teams were implemented to develop a balanced tournament bracket. They included establishing 12 levels that transcended each of the four regionals; dividing each region into three sections with four levels each; only one conference team could be placed in each regional section; and placing teams in their geographic area or on their home court if the first three principles are not compromised. A computer ranking system was used as an aid in evaluating teams in the preparation for making at-large selections. It became policy that "no more than 50 percent of the tournament berths shall be filled by automatic qualifiers." Virginia defeated L-S-U in the last third-place game conducted at the Final Four site.
1982 - CBS was awarded the television rights for 16 exposures to the championship for three years. The "selection show" was shown on live national television for the first time. North Carolina's national championship win against Georgetown received a 21.6 rating and was the 11th-ranked prime time program for that week. BS also achieved second-round record ratings with an 11.8 rating and 27 share on Saturday, and an 11.3 rating and 28 share on Sunday. HostCommunications and the CBS Radio Network co-produced the NCAA Radio Network.
1983 - An opening round was added that required the representatives of eight automatic qualifying conferences to compete for four positions in the 52-team tournament bracket. This concept permitted the committee to retain a 48-team bracket evenly balanced with 24 automatic qualifiers and at-large selections, yet award automatic qualification to each of the 28 conferences that received it the year before. The 16 top-seeded teams received byes to the second round of the tournament. The current format was established that begins the tournament the third weekend in March, regional championships on the fourth Saturday and Sunday, and the national semifinals and championship the following Saturday and Monday. North Carolina State's national championship victory over Houston attracted a then-record 18.6 million homes to the CBS telecast. The game had a 22.3 rating (third best) and a 32 share. It was the fifth-ranked primetime television program for that week. A national semifinal record also was set in Houston's victory over Louisville. The game had a 17.8 rating and 33 share, and it was viewed by 14,800,000 homes on CBS. It was determined that a facility in which the final session is held must have a minimum of 17,000 seats.
1984 - One additional open-round game was established, requiring 10 automatic qualifying conferences to compete for five positions in the 53-team bracket that included 24 automatic qualifiers and 24 at-large selections. For the first time, awards were presented to all participating teams in the championship.
1985 - The tournament bracket was expanded to included 64 teams, which eliminated all first-round byes. The committee realigned each region and renamed the Mideast region the Southeast region. Specifically, the Southern Conference and MEAC were moved from the East to the Southeast region, The Big 10, Mid-American and SWAC moved from the Southeast to the Midwest; the Metro and Trans America were moved from the Midwest to the Southeast and the Southland and SWC weremoved from the Midwest to the West region. The number of automatic qualifiers was capped at 30 for a five-year period (1986-90). CBS had a record 19.8 million homes view Villanova's national championship victory over Georgetown. This game attracted a 23.2 rating (second best) and a 33 share. The game was the second-rated prime time program on television for that week. The East regional championship game (Georgetown defeated Georgia Tech) set television records for thatlevel of tournament competition with a 12.6 rating, a 32 share and 10.7 million homes tuned to CBS. The NCAA Radio Network reached an all-time high radio audience for any sports events when the Villanova-Georgetown game attracted 21 million listeners. CBS began a second, three-year contract that included 19 exposures.
1986 - CBS televised 40 hours, 51 minutes of tournament programming. The NCAA Radio Network included a record 426 stations, including 92 of the top 100 markets. The committee determined that regional competition would be played at neutral sites. If an institution selected to host this level of competition is a participant in the tournament, it will be bracketed in another region. There separate three-man officiating crews were assigned to the twonational semifinals and championship games.
1987 - The National Association of Basketball Coaches reaffirmed its endorsement of the policy that permits and institution to participate on its home court in the first and second rounds of competition. All 64 teams selected for the championship were subjet to drug testing.
1988 - CBS began a third, three-year contract. All regional semifinal games were televised in prime time. Separate three-man officiating crews were assigned to all competition at regional and national championship sites. Celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Division I Men's Basketball Championship.
1989 - NCAA Executive Committee expanded a moratorium enacted in 1984 limiting the bracket to 30 automatic qualification conference champions and 34 at-large teams through the 1998 championship. NCAA Executive Regulation 1-6-(b)-1 was amended to strengthen criteria governing automatic qualification for conferences. Bracket rotation established. East vs. West, Midwest vs. Southeast in 1989; East vs. Midwest, Southeast vs. West in 1990; East vs. Southeast, West vs. Midwest in 1991. Begin new cycle in 1992; East vs. West, Midwest vs. Southeast. It was agreed that neutral courts would be used in allrounds of the championship.
1990 - General public was limited to purchasing two Final Four tickets. The basketball committee defined "home court" as an arena in which a team has played no more than 50 percent of its regular season schedule, excluding conference tournament games. The NCAA Executive Committee approved "play-in" concept to identify the 30 automatic qualifying conferences in December, 1989. The Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) administered by the NCAA was computed for the nonconferenceschedules of all eligible conferences. Those with the lowest ranking must compete for the available automatic-qualifying positions. The "play-in" was implemented in 1991 with 33 eligible conferences. Six conference representatives played for three automatic-qualifying berths in the 64-team bracket.
1991 - CBS Sports began a new seven-year contract for $1,000,000,000, which included live coverage of all sessions of the championship. The definition of "home court" was amended to be a facility in which a team plays more than three games during the regular season, excluding conference tournaments.
1992 - Duke University won its second consecutive national championship, the first team to defend its title since UCLA in 1973.
1993 - The minimum facility seating capacity for first and second rounds and regionals was established at 12,000.
1994 - President Bill Clinton became the first sitting president to attend the tournament, when he was present at the Midwest Regional championship game in Dallas and the national semifinals and final in Charlotte. The use of combined shot clocks/game clocks was required at all sites. The weighting of the three factors comprising the ratings percentage index (RPI), Division I winning percentage, opponents' winning percentage and opponents' opponents' winning percentage, wasadjusted from 20-40-20 to 25-50-25. Also a second RPI, adjusted based upon a team's good wins, bad losses and non-conference scheduling, was provided.
1995 - The existing CBS Sports contract was replaced with a new agreement for $1.725 billion extending through the 2002 championship.
1996 - The NCAA created the first on-line computer page for the Final Four. Pool reporters were permitted to interview game officials after games under specified conditions. Participating institutions' seating locations were moved closer to midcourt and near to the playing floor.
1997 - Bracketing policies were changed so that once the highest-seeded team from a conference is assigned to a region, only the eighth team selected from that conference may be placed in that region. Competition at all three sites within each particular region conducted on the same days of the week and tournament hosts' teams permitted to play on the days they are hosting. The NCAA's on-line computer page expanded to include preliminary rounds.
1998 - Competition at all three sites within each region began being conducted on the same days of the week and tournament hosts' teams permitted to play on the days they are hosting. The name of the Southeast Region was changed to the South Region. The basketball committee continued selecting Final Four host facilities with a minimum seating capacity of 30,000 when it picked New Orleans, San Antonio, St. Louis, Indianapolis and Atlanta to host in 2003-2007.
1999 - Bracketing policies were changed so that, once the highest-seeded team from a conference is assigned to a region, only the sixth team from that conference may be placed in that region.
2000 - Held-ball change from previous season rescinded. Twenty-second timeouts increased to 30 seconds in length. New electronic media timeout format adopted. Uniform numbers one and two are permitted.
2001 - Number of players permitted on free-throw lane reduced from eight to six. Inasmuch as 31 conferences were eligible for automatic qualification, the committee greed to conduct an opening-round game the Tuesday before the first/second rounds, pitting teams seeded Nos. 64 and 65.
2002 - Championship-, first- and second-round sites will no longer be assigned to specific regions. Rather, the committee will have flexibility to assign four-team pods to sites near the teams' natural geographic areas, if possible.
2003 - As part of the 1999 "bundled rights" agreement, Westwood One assumed administration of the tournament's radio rights. The basketball committee agreed that the minimum Final Four seating capacity should be 40,000 & picked San Antonio, Detroit, Indianapolis and Houston to host in 2008-2011.
2004 - Rather than using the traditional annual rotation of Final Four semifinals pairings (e.g., West vs. East, South vs. Midwest) the committee will assign the pairings during selection weekend, making best effort to assign the winner of top seed's region to meet the fourth seed's region and the second seed's region to meet the third seed's region. The committee agreed to no longer use the regional site designations (i.e., East, Midwest, South, West.). Instead, regional sites will be known by the city in which the games are being played (e.g., Atlanta Regional).
2005 - Culminating a four-year study, the committee revised the RPI formula to give additional weight to playing on the road. The new formula weighs road victories and home losses a t 1.4; home victories and road losses at .6; and neutral-site victories and losses at 1.0. The new weighting system affects only Factor I of the RPI. CBS began a two-year deal with CSTV.com for exclusive Internet video streaming rights for out-of-market game coverage of the first 58 games of the tournament.
2006 - The committee revised the bracketing principles to permit two teams from the same conference to meet each other prior to the regional final if the conference has more than eight teams selected for the championship. The official RPI was released to the public for the first time on February 1, 2006, when the Rating Percentage Index appeared on the NCAA Web site: ncaasports.com.
2007 - The committee returned to geographical Regional site designations rather than identifying the sites by the host city, as it did from 2004-06. Regional sites were referred to as East, South, Midwest and West rather than East Rutherford, San Antonio, St. Louis and San Jose. In response to tremendous traffic resulting in 19 million video streams and five million visits in 2006, CBS Sportsline doubled its bandwidth capacity for march madness on demand, which offers free live Internet streams of each game of the first three rounds of the championship. CSTV's coverage was expanded to include live broadcasts of two first-round games, pregame and postgame previews and recaps on all competition dates, and video streaming of postgame press conferences that are archived at www.ncaasports. com. In addition, CSTV aired live programming during open practice day at the Final Four, aired a national Championship Pregame Show live from the Georgia Dome, and provided coverage to ancillary events such as Hoop City, my CokeFest and The Big Dance at Centennial Olympic Park.
2008 - For the first time in tournament history, all four No. 1 seeds advanced to the final four. The continuing growth in popularity for ancillary events was on display as Hoop City set an all-time attendance record with more t han 63,000 visitors over a four-day period, while the Big Dance attracted 167,000 people to the streets of San Antonio. For the first ever, the NABC C ollege All-Star Game was held at the same venue as the Fina lFour. The game attraced 4,800 fans to the Alamodome.
2009 - For the first time, a U.S. President filled out his bracket on national television as President Barack Obama explained his picks to ESPN's Andy Katz. Obama picked the correct winner with North Carolina. The Big East Conference became the first league to have three teams seeded No. 1 and the first to send five teams to the Sweet 16. Basketball legends Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Larry Bird marked the 30th anniversary of the 1979 title game between Michigan State and Indiana State by presenting the game ball before the national championship game. While usually performed by one of the school bands, for the first time the National Anthem was sung by national entertainers at the Final Four: The Temptations. For the first time, students from each of the Final Four teams could sit at court level. More than 400 students from each school were able to buy seats located behind the basket for less than $7.00 a game and could stand and cheer throughout the games without obstructing the view of other spectators. In Detroit, record crowds attended the Final Four games (145,378), Hoop City (76,000) and The Big Dance (300,000). More than 1,700 participated in the 5K Run/Walk and another 4,000 were part of the Final Four Dribble. The Final Four telecasts by CBS were distributed to 153 countries around the world and shown on the Armed Forces Network. With Westwood One Radio, the American Forces Radio Network, Sirius/XM satellite radio and NCAA online, the games were heard in 170 countries and 150 ships at sea. Eliminated the "last 12 games" fromthe official criteria for tournament selection.
2010 - The NCAA announced it would exercise a clause in its contract with CBS, signed in 1999, to opt out of the deal in order to sign a new 14-year, $10.8 billion deal with CBS Sports and Turner Broadcasting. The television, Internet and wireless rights agreement also calls for CBS and Turner to collaborate on the NCAA's corporate marketing program. In addition, all tournament games will be shown live across the country (on CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV), which is a first in the championship's history. The new agreement also involves an expansion of the tournament to include 68 teams in 2011. It is the first expansion since the field went from 64 to 65 teams in 2001. Two of the first-round games feature the last four teams of the overall seed list (Nos. 65-68). The other two games would pit the last four at-large teams selected to the field against each other. It marks the first time in tournament history that the final at-large teams will be revealed to the public. The four games will constitute the first round of the championship and will be branded as the First Four. Games formerly considered first- and second-round games will now be referred to as second-and third-round games. All 68 teams in the tournament earn a unit in the Basketball Fund, with each advancing institution earning an additional unit leading up to the Final Four. A revamped Bracket Town (formerly known as Hoop City) was a five-day fan fest that attracted nearly 53,000 people. Indianapolis-based Butler became the seventh school to advance to the Final Four being hosted in its own city. The games were played in Lucas Oil Stadium.
2011 - Online and mobile viewers were treated to added features that enhanced the viewing experience. For the first time, March Madness on Demand (MMOD) was available free to iPad and iPhone users in addition to online via NCAA.com. Despite the increased availability of games on TV, total visits to MMOD platforms, including broadband and mobile, were up 63 percent. In addition, more than 13.7 million total hours of streaming video was consumed through the MMOD broadband application and iPad and iPhone apps. The newly expanded field of 68 teams featured four first-round games, two of which included the last four teams of the overall seed list (Nos. 65-68). The other two games pitted the last four at-large teams selected to the field against each other. It marked the first time in tournament history that the final at-large teams were revealed to the public. The four games constituted the first round of the championship and were branded as the First Four. Games formerly considered first- and second-round games were changed to second- and third-round games. VCU, a No. 11 seed and a team the Division I Men's Basketball Committee was criticized for selecting as an at-large team, made history by playing in the inaugural First Four and then advancing to the school's first Final Four by winning five straight games. The Rams became the first team to play six games and not play in the title game. Cincinnati and Connecticut become the first schools from the same conference to play each before the tournament regionals. Connecticut won the Big East showdown in the third round and went on to win the NCAA championship. All 68 teams in the tournament earned a unit in the Basketball Fund, with each advancing institution earning an additional unit leading up to the Final Four.
2012 - Working with television partners from Turner and CBS, the Division I Men's Basketball Committee decided that teams advancing from the First Four would be exempt from playing the first game of the first session at a second-round site. The committee's ranking of the 68 tournament teams, commonly known as the overall seed list, was revealed publicly for the first time. The Super 10 Fan Selection Committee consisted of contest winners from entrants who submitted videos via the March Madness Facebook page. Winners were flown to Atlanta and spent three days in deliberations regarding the tournament field during the actual selection weekend. The fan committee had access to Nitty Gritty reports and team sheets, which for the first time were released to the public each week during the season. 1,566 media members were credentialed for the Final Four, the most ever. Games were broadcast internationally via ESPN International to more than 200 countries across the globe. These include Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea and Spain. In addition to its national and global telecast and online availability via March Madness Live, the Final Four had the potential to be viewed by approximately one million U.S. Armed Forces, Department of Defense civilian employees and their families stationed overseas and aboard 140 U.S. Navy ships at sea via the American Armed Forces Radio Network.
2013 - In the 2012 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the NCAA had a float for the first time that officially kicked off the 75th Celebration of March Madness. The float featured Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Lew Alcindor), David Thompson and Christian Laettner.