Brought to You by the Big 10 Conference and its Corporate Partners

Dubbed March Madness, the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament is not short on spectacle. Last year, 14-seeded Mercer—Mercer—beat 3-seeded historical powerhouse Duke. The year before that it was Spike Albrecht, a previously unheard of freshman who came off the bench in the National Championship game for 17 bewildering first half points, only to see his team outlasted in the second half.

But the spectacle is not merely athletic. Sponsorships reign supreme. The tournament is increasingly corporate. Traditionally understood as a three-week nadir in American office productivity, March Madness might now be the country’s most sustained peak of corporate exposure. And if last weekend’s Big 10 Tournament—a precursor to the national contest—was any indicator, 2015’s NCAA Tournament is going to be as absurdly corporate as ever before.

To fully grasp (appreciate?) the entire spectacle of March Madness (and because jaw-dropping Cinderella runs, flabbergasting athletic achievement and raw human emotion are never enough), here’s a survival guide to the 2015 NCAA Tournament, brought to you by the sponsors of last weekend’s Big 10® Tournament.

First you need the hardwood floors. Pick yourself a red oak, Brazilian Cherry, or a rich, mocha-colored eucalyptus. Then, use your Libman Freedom! Hardwood Concentrated Floor Cleaner® to wash them down to a near synthetic polish. Don’t stop until they glisten like the crown of Jim Delany’s bald head.

Next you need the birds. And here you have but one choice. Kaytee® Wild Bird Food, being “The OFFICIAL Wild Bird Food of the Big Ten Conference” is the only wild bird food for you.

Take your spare wood (don’t forget the Libman®!) and build yourself a bird sanctuary. March might be a quiet month for ornithology in Big Ten® Country, but by the time the Final Four rolls around, sparrows, Hawkeyes, and birds of all feathers will flock to your palatial pine pergola palace to feast on Kaytee.

But what about the teleconferencing? Household cleaning products and ornithology will only get you so far. You’re an Enterpriser, always looking to expand your Reach. Besides, how else will you compensate for all that lost office time? You’ll need InterCall®, one-stop shop for event services, internal and external communications. How else will you share your ornithology and interior design successes?

You’re finally ready to enjoy March Madness. Pour yourself your beverage of choice, just make it’s a Dr. Pepper®, SunKist®, Gatorade®, or Coca-Cola®, the official beverages of the NCAA® and the Big 10® Conference. Anything else must be poured in the official Big 10® Tournament plastic cup.

Now, you can kick back on your glossy almond finished, Libman® fresh hardwood floors and soak in the sights and sounds One Shining Moment™, blared over sounds the outside birds, chirping with their mouths full of Kaytee®. From the JumboTron® at Lucas Oil® Stadium to your heart.

Still all of this might not be enough, because the last step is the most important. You must always, always forget precisely that which you are told to remember: That these are student-athletes, amateurs serious about scholarly and athletic pursuits (student comes first for a reason!). That the Big 10®, NCAA®, and all of their corporate partners are sincerely committed to amateurism. Forget this. It’s the only way to survive.

Andrew Knot

Andrew Knot (’11) lives and writes in Cologne, Germany.

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