Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Net Cutting in the NCAA's

A few days ago a friend asked me how the tradition where the NCAA division one men's basketball champion cuts down the nets at the end of the final game began. That's a good question, I replied! In all my years of loving sports, I never learned where it all began. Admittedly, I'm not a big college sports fan unless it involves Syracuse from 1998 on so it's not a complete surprise that I never discovered the origins of this tradition. That being said, here it is:

"It all started in 1947 when North Carolina State, led by coach Everett Case, celebrated its Southern Conference championship by cutting down the nets.

Case decided to take the nets as a souvenir of his team's victory.

"He wanted it to show as a sign of winning the championship," says Frank Weedon, senior associate athletics director at N.C. State and a historian of sorts.

Since then, the practice has caught on, and teams trim the twine throughout March.

The first nets of the NCAA Tournament will be cut Saturday in Albuquerque and Chicago when regional titles are clinched and spots in the Final Four secured. On Sunday N.C. State, the school that started it all, could be doing it again if it survives two tests in Syracuse.

The procedure is quite familiar. The coach generally starts the process, snipping a few strands then passing the scissors to the players. This is an opportunity for all the players to be in the spotlight and take home a part of their championship run. Once the players are done, the coach scales the ladder again and takes the remainder of the net.

When Case, who had a .739 winning percentage with the Wolfpack, began this, there was no ladder set up to make it easy as there is now. Instead, players had to lift Case on their shoulders.

During the 1964-65 season Case was diagnosed with cancer and resigned in midseason. When N.C. State advanced to the ACC tournament final and upset Duke, the players hoisted Case on their shoulders to cut the nets one final time. He died April 30, 1966

"He said it was one of the happiest days of his life," Weedon says."

The link to this USAToday article is embedded in the title.


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