March 18, 2021

What We're Reading: March 2021

March Madness

Conference Tournament basketball games on TV at noon on a weekday can only mean one thing. March Madness is back! Like every other recent sporting event, this year’s NCAAM and NCAAW tournaments will be different from past years tournaments. For one, both tournaments will be played from start to finish. The NCAAW tournament is set to kick off in San Antonio, TX, while the NCAAM tournament will take place in Indianapolis, IN. Leading up to Selection Sunday and Monday, ESPN’s Bracketology has great coverage on bracket predictions for both the NCAAW and NCAAM tournaments. 

NFTs/NBA Top Shot

Is a highlight of a LeBron James dunk really worth $70,000? The rise in popularity of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) has been meteoric, to say the least. The Wall Street Journal’s Ben Cohen took a look at how lucrative buying in early has been for NFT enthusiasts. If you’re just getting up to speed, Kendall Baker of Axios has the booming sports fandom investing trend covered, from trading cards and its history to a breakdown on NBA Top Shot. The NFT craze is playing out in real time, as sports companies and leagues contemplate jumping into the game. Jacob Feldman and Eben Novy-Williams recently wrote for Sportico about how quickly the industry is moving, as Bleacher Report went from an idea to sales of $810,000 in only 10 days.


Opening day of the upcoming MLB season is slated for April 1st.  The MLB leadership breaks down the new rules of spring training related to pitchers “rolling the inning” as well as the rules for 2021 that are being implemented or cut from last season.

Also, with opening day approaching all MLB teams are determining their COVID protocols and capacity limits for fans. ESPN aggregated the data and relayed each team’s perspective capacities and any other key elements of returning to the stadiums this season.


Delaying the Tokyo 2020 Olympics a year has required flexibility, determination, and emotional fortitude amongst the athletes.  Training plans were compromised and had to be readjusted and decisions have had to be made on how to maintain competitiveness for another year.  This article addresses training in the unknown and competing safely this summer.

The Olympic organizing committee is also wrestling with many decisions centered around spectators and athletes for the summer games.  With such a high density population in Tokyo, the committee is considering barring foreign spectators and hopes to have a final decision by the start of the torch relay. 

COVID-19 One Year Out

It’s hard to believe, but it has been one year since Rudy Gobert’s now infamous press conference that marked the beginning of the shutdown of major professional sports due to COVID-19. The New York Times recently interviewed major figures in professional sports and gathered their reflections about the shutdown last March. The paper’s writer Marc Stein also reflected on the shutdown and how Rudy Gobert has worked to move on from it. In a similar vein, ESPN retold the story of how everything grinded to a halt, with a visual illustration of March 11, 2020. Finally, ESPN’s Anthony Olivieri took a look at how the pandemic hit college sports, in his article remembering the day the Big East shut down.