April 1, 2018
SAN ANTONIO – Heading into the NCAA men’s college basketball Final Four weekend, players from competing schools were given a variety of swag items, including movie DVDs – without digital codes, of course.
Sports-themed discs such as I, Tonya, Creed, Goal! and even pre-order vouchers for Black Panther elicited confusion among some players accustomed to a world of cell phones, streaming video and social media.
“I’ll give [the discs] to my parents,” said Villanova’s Eric Paschall. “I think they have a player.”
Indeed, players from Kansas, Michigan and Loyola Chicago remembered watching DVDs as kids, or even as recently as high school. Often renting from local video stores or Blockbuster – both fading retail memories in an age of Netflix.
A NCAA representative said DVD and Blu-ray titles were given out for entertainment and sponsor marketing, while limiting liability to the student-player’s amateur status.
Following well-publicized scandals involving college athletes trading bowl jerseys and autographs for tattoos and cash – both in violation of NCAA rules, officials considered packaged media a safe bet.
“I understand the trade-in value for a DVD movie online is less than a dollar,” said the NCAA rep. “These are kids with good intentions. But, we felt reassured regardless.”
Happy April Fool’s Day