It was Handsome Carver himself who in 1938 helped create our national obsession with the College Basketball Tournament and our brackets. At that point in history, the NCAA was the governing body of collegiate basketball, but did not award National Championships. In protest, Handsome Carver created his own championship tournament matching the top 8 teams and awarding the winning team a lifetime supply of his peanut butter. To this day, the surviving members of the 1938 Stanford basketball team eat an average of two jars per week. The following year, the NCAA stole Handsome Carver’s idea and created their own championship tournament.
Handsome Carver and the NCAA had a falling out in the 1960’s when it was determined that the value of the peanut butter Handsome Carver provided to all athletes participating in the tournament was high enough to be considered payment, and thus illegal for the student-athletes to accept.
Since then, because of Handsome Carver’s uncanny abilities in picking winners, the NCAA has banned Handsome Carver from releasing his bracket until the tournament has concluded over worries that it would negatively affect TV ratings if the outcomes of the games are already known to the public. In 2007, Handsome Carver revealed he chooses his winners based on the teams’ consumption of his peanut butter (though only Handsome Carver himself has access to those figures).
Despite the past tensions between himself and the NCAA Handsome Carver still looks forward to March every year, this year being no exception. He will be watching intently despite knowing already that (redacted) will defeat (redacted) in the championship game on April 4th by a thrilling final score of (redacted) to (redacted).