10 Tips For Running the NCAA March Madness Office Pool

This is a guest post by William F. Barkley of The Daily Parodian

Employers lose $4B of productivity during the final month of Q1, which means it’s the perfect time to run your NCAA March Madness office pool. Also that’s when March Madness is so it’s the only time you can run it.

Here are 10 guidelines for running a successful NCAA March Madness office pool.

Office March Madness Pool

1. Send the invite to everyone in your company, even the people who have asked you repeatedly to stop emailing them about this

Send out company-wide email on Sunday evening immediately after brackets are announced. Remember to ‘Reply All’ on all correspondence. This will keep all stakeholders informed, and everyone else who doesn’t care informed, too.

2. Waste copious amounts of paper photocopying your brackets

Avoid temptation to use online tournament pool sites. They provide too much transparency. If asked, refer to the Uniform Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. Photocopy 64-team bracket first thing Monday morning. Include company logo on bracket selection forms to heighten credibility.

3. Establish an overly complicated entry fee

Consider calculating as percentage of entrants’ salary (W-2 copies are available on HR intranet, password ‘AUDIT’). To avoid appearance of impropriety, set up Paypal account to handle entry fees. If you work in Accounting, have fees deducted directly from paychecks.

4. For your bracket, copy whatever FiveThirtyEight says verbatim

This is not about creativity. If questioned by your coworkers, tell them, “It is what it is.”

5. Utilize peer pressure, veiled threats, and intimidation to get more entrants

Kevin and Jimmy from IT will sell on commission if necessary. Ensure them this will not cannibalize Fantasy Baseball League sales.

6. Encourage people to fill out as many brackets as possible

Remember that some co-workers do not follow college basketball. Offer to fill out their brackets for them. If anyone is uncertain what numbers 1 through 16 mean, tell them “higher numbers are better.” Immediately shred entry forms from Duke and Kentucky alumni.

7. Make sure pool scoring system is as complex as possible

DO NOT include winning payout terms on bracket entry forms. Change winning payout terms regularly after tournament starts. Offer ‘second-chance’ entries at the end of each round for an additional fee.

8. Sell to upper management as actual work

If they do become aware, promote it as (a) Team-building exercise; (b) Killer App; (c) Zero-sum game; (d) Scalable.

9. Provide real-time 1st-round game updates during work hours on Thursday and Friday when everyone still thinks they have a chance to win

And that a 16 seed will beat a 1 seed.

10.Quietly schedule your vacation for the week of the Championship game

If anyone asks, tell them not to worry, you’ve “got it covered.” Upon return, let them know that your college roommate, Sully, won it all.

William F. Barkley
The Daily Parodian


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William Barkley

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