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NCAA files ‘Mask Madness’ trademark for apparel and a COVID-19 safety campaign

The NCAA has filed a trademark for the phrase ‘Mask Madness’ ahead of the 2021 Division I national basketball tournaments. 

The phrase is an obvious reference to March Madness, the annual NCAA Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, which were cancelled in 2020 at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Filed on December 23, the trademark protects the NCAA’s exclusive right to use the phrase on ‘sanitary masks for protection against viral infection.’ The NCAA also reserved the right to use the phrase in a public awareness campaign. 

Typically the trademark process can take 4 to 6 months. Attorney Josh Gerben was the first to reveal the NCAA’s trademark application.

An NCAA spokesperson did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment. 

Michigan head coach Juwan Howard adjusts his face mask on the court in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Oakland at Crisler Center in Ann Arbor on November 29. The NCAA has filed a trademark for the phrase ‘Mask Madness’ ahead of the 2021 Division I national basketball tournaments, which will be the first played since the pandemic began in the United States earlier this year

Kansas fans cheer during introductions before the game against the Creighton Bluejays

Kansas fans cheer during introductions before the game against the Creighton Bluejays

Filed on December 23, the trademark protects the NCAA's exclusive right to use the phrase on 'sanitary masks for protection against viral infection.' The NCAA also reserved the right to use the phrase in a public awareness campaign

Filed on December 23, the trademark protects the NCAA’s exclusive right to use the phrase on ‘sanitary masks for protection against viral infection.’ The NCAA also reserved the right to use the phrase in a public awareness campaign

Reaction to the trademark was largely critical, given the NCAA's opportunity to sell any 'Mask Madness' apparel for profit. 'Remember, it's for "awareness,"' ESPN broadcaster and former Duke star Jay Bilas tweeted

Reaction to the trademark was largely critical, given the NCAA’s opportunity to sell any ‘Mask Madness’ apparel for profit. ‘Remember, it’s for “awareness,”‘ ESPN broadcaster and former Duke star Jay Bilas tweeted

Pro Football Network's Mike Tanier poked fun at the organization's reputation for confiscating contraband from fans, often because the items conflict with the NCAA's sponsorship deals

Pro Football Network’s Mike Tanier poked fun at the organization’s reputation for confiscating contraband from fans, often because the items conflict with the NCAA’s sponsorship deals

Likening the NCAA to 'crooks,' another Twitter user questioned the organization's motives

Likening the NCAA to ‘crooks,’ another Twitter user questioned the organization’s motives

This year, rather than playing at venues across the country, the NCAA will host the men’s and women’s Division I tournaments in single locations, which have been likened to the bubbles the NBA and WNBA successfully used to complete their seasons amid the pandemic.

In fact, the NCAA already trademarked ‘Battle In the Bubble’ back on August 26, securing the exclusive right to use the phrase on clothing.

The men will begin their tournament on March 16 in Indianapolis, where the NCAA is headquartered, while the women’s tournament will be in San Antonio. It’s still not known if fans will be allowed to attend the games inside the NCAA’s separate bubbles.

‘It will be a very controlled environment,’ NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt said in November. ‘It’ll be different, it’ll be historic and it’ll be hopefully something we all treasure and experience just once, hopefully not ever again.’ 

The Division I men's tournament will begin on March 16 in Indianapolis, while the women's tournament will be in San Antonio. It's not known if fans will be allowed to attend the games inside the NCAA's separate bubbles. March Madness was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19

The Division I men’s tournament will begin on March 16 in Indianapolis, while the women’s tournament will be in San Antonio. It’s not known if fans will be allowed to attend the games inside the NCAA’s separate bubbles. March Madness was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19

This photo provided by South Dakota State Athletics shows Creighton women's college basketball player Temi Carda (4), second from right, wearing a mask while an unidentified South Dakota State player shoots a free throw

This photo provided by South Dakota State Athletics shows Creighton women’s college basketball player Temi Carda (4), second from right, wearing a mask while an unidentified South Dakota State player shoots a free throw

Reaction to the trademark was largely critical, given the NCAA’s opportunity to sell any ‘Mask Madness’ apparel for profit.

‘Remember, it’s for “awareness,”‘ ESPN broadcaster and former Duke star Jay Bilas tweeted.

Maryland Terrapins forward Arnaud Revaz wears a mask for warmups before a game

Maryland Terrapins forward Arnaud Revaz wears a mask for warmups before a game

Pro Football Network’s Mike Tanier poked fun at the NCAA’s reputation for confiscating contraband from fans, often because the items conflict with the organization’s sponsorship agreements.

‘Anyone seen wearing a non-MASK MADNESS mask at an NCAA game will have their mask ripped off and be ineligible to receive the vaccines,’ Tanier tweeted.

Likening the NCAA to ‘crooks,’ another Twitter user questioned the organization’s timing and motives.

‘How you trying to capitalize off a pandemic,’ he asked. 

As some Twitter users pointed out, the NCAA may not have any plans to use the phrase, but could simply be preventing others from doing so.

‘Not a huge deal,’ wrote on Twitter user. ‘There is likely little profitability by registering this TM. But this filing may help NCAA to block others from using ‘Mask Madness’–something they likely would have tried to stop (or may be obligated to stop) as part of protecting ‘March Madness’ trademark.’

As some Twitter users pointed out, the NCAA may not have any plans to use the phrase, but could simply be preventing others from doing so. An NCAA spokesperson did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com's questions about the organization's plans for the trademark

As some Twitter users pointed out, the NCAA may not have any plans to use the phrase, but could simply be preventing others from doing so. An NCAA spokesperson did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s questions about the organization’s plans for the trademark 


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