CBS hosted a two-hour selection show to unveil the full bracket for the 2016 NCAA tournament on Selection Sunday. However, disaster struck when the completed field was leaked on social media.
'Selection Sunday' is a tradition in college basketball and just 25 minutes after CBS' show had begun, one Twitter user posted an image of a full, completed bracket that spread like wildfire across the internet.
After the show had finished, the NCAA acknowledged the link and said the matter would be investigated.
A statement read: “We go through great lengths to prevent the tournament field from being revealed early and the NCAA took its usual measures to protect this from happening.
“Unfortunately, and regrettably, the bracket was reveled prior to our broadcast partners having the opportunity to finish unveiling it. We take this matter seriously and we are looking into it.”
CBS' usual show was a brisk half hour reveal of the bracket, and the decision to extend the running time by an hour and a half terribly backfired.
The show itself received some poor reviews as impatient fans had to watch drawn out interviews and predictions for each bracket.
The original online response to the leak was scepticism, although it began to gain more traction as more teams were revealed.
Luke Winn, the senior editor of Sports Illustrated, tweeted saying that teams were taking the leak as gospel and already doing research on their upcoming opponents.
Notre Dame coach Mike Berry received a text from his son explaining they would face the winner of the Michigan-Tulsa game, but at first, his dismissed the message.
“I thought he was messing with me," he said. "So I just deleted it. Fifteen minutes later we show up, and then I found out we had a little leakage going on. Nothing’s secure, huh? That’s great. That is so typical. It’s so typical of college basketball. It’s great.”
The user who posted the leak on Twitter disappeared off the social media platform a matter of hours later. But the damage was already done as the leaked was shared by thousands of different users. The Twitter handle has since returned but the account is now set to private.
Following the leak, it still took CBS over an hour to reveal all of the brackets. Syracuse got in while Monmouth and their entertaining bench players will not be involved.
There was also a lot of action on social media as fans debated the surprise inclusion of Tulsa as the last team selected by the NCAA in the field of 68.
Tournament selection committee chair Joe Castiglione said Tulsa made it in because of their four top-50 wins. He also said that the first four teams out of the bracket were St. Bonaventure, Monmouth, South Carolina and San Diego State.