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NCAA Bracket Leaks on Twitter Halfway Through Stupid Two-Hour CBS Selection Show, NCAA Is “Looking Into It” (Tweets)
From 1982 through 2000 the CBS Selection Sunday show was just a half hour, because that’s all the time you actually need to reveal a list of teams. However, in 2001 they expanded it to an hour. And this year, for the first time ever, CBS decided to stretch it out from one hour to two hours.
Unfortunately for CBS, the decision to expand the selection show came back to bite them in the ass when somebody leaked the full bracket for the 2016 NCAA Tournament halfway through the show at about 6:30 p.m. ET.
The leak came via Twitter and spread to pretty much every college basketball team in the country in a matter of minutes. The South and West regions had already been revealed, so at first nobody knew if it was real. But as the show progressed, and the leaked NCAA bracket got more and more matchups correct, it became clear that the leak was legit, and the suspense for teams on the bubble was over.
Not surprisingly, the original tweet was deleted and the account that posted it has vanished. However, the “damage” was done. Tweets like this one here were everywhere within 15 minutes:
“We go through great lengths to prevent the tournament field from being revealed early, and the NCAA took its usual measures to protect this from happening. Unfortunately and regrettably, the bracket was revealed prior to our broadcast partners’ having the opportunity to finish unveiling it. We take this matter seriously, and we are looking into it.”
According to a 2014 article from Yahoo Sports, the NCAA and CBS go to great lengths to prevent premature leaks like this from happening:
CBS typically receives the bracket from an NCAA staffer about 30 minutes before the selection show airs, but its staff is just as careful to minimize the chance of leaks once it arrives. The email with the bracket is password-protected and only a limited number of on-air and behind-the-scenes employees have access.
“We have to be that tight,” said Harold Bryant, executive producer and vice president of production at CBS Sports. “Especially nowadays, it’s such an information world and it’s so immediate. Our security antennas are up even more just to make sure we keep everything confidential until it’s time to be revealed.”
Something tells me they’re going to revisit their secrecy measures after this.