1. My "moneyless" pools are free to enter, and there is no cash prize. The winners of the men's and women's NCAA pools will receive a small prize from CafePress (e.g., a t-shirt), but the main object is to win bragging rights. One entry per person, please.
2. The pools are scored on a 5-7-10-15-20-25 basis. There are no upset points.
3. In each pool, the tiebreaker is the combined number of points scored by both teams in the championship game, but this is only used to determine who gets the CafePress prize; for all other purposes, any ties will remain unbroken. Contestants who finish tied for first place are considered "co-champions" for historical purposes.
4. As an exception to the "one entry per person" rule, it is OK to enter a bracket for a pet, a baby, etc., with my permission. Please e-mail me if you want to enter a bracket like this. However, such a bracket will not actually be eligible to win the pool for historical purposes, only to win the CafePress prize.
5. I must have a valid e-mail address at which I can contact you. You will be disqualified from the pools if you do not provide a valid e-mail address. But don't worry -- your e-mail address will not be made public.
6. Let me begin by saying that I understand people have legitimate concerns about privacy on the Internet. I realize there are valid reasons why some people might not want to reveal their "real" names.
However, I've been running these NCAA pools since 1996, and it is traditionally a contest among "real people," not Internet personas. As such, I vastly prefer for all contestants to enter using their real first and last names. I am willing to make exceptions in specific circumstances if a contestant has genuine privacy concerns, but I want to avoid anonymous/psuedonymous entries as much as possible.
Please understand, because of the unique history and tradition of the Living Room Times pools, I am stricter about these "naming rules" in the NCAA Pools than I often am in other BrendanLoy.com contests.
If you simply prefer not to have your name be easily "google-able," I suggest using a variation on your first name that you rarely or never use in real life -- for example, if I wanted to insulate a pool entry from easy "google-ability," I could enter as "Bren Loy" instead of "Brendan Loy." From my perspective, "Bren Loy" is much, much better than "B. Loy" or "Brendan L." That said, of course, "Brendan Loy" is much better than "Bren Loy"; as I said, I vastly prefer people to use their real first and last names, if that is at all possible for you.
In the event of an unsatisfactory self-identification, I will contact you via e-mail and try to come to a mutually satisfactory solution... but I reserve the right to disqualify people whose names do not, in my judgment, adequately identify them. I apologize if that seems harsh, but again, I am trying to uphold tradition here. Also, it's important that I am able to adequately discuss contestants' identities in the pool standings and in my pool updates. It's hard to write good headlines and articles about the pool when people with nicknames, initials, etc. are competing against people with full names.
For contestants with psuedonyms that are well-known in the BrendanLoy.com community (e.g., Angrier & Angrier, Texasyank, etc.) and/or in the wider blogosphere (e.g., Boi From Troy, The Backer, etc.), there is a separate field called "Nickname(s)" which allows you to identify yourself as such, in addition to entering the pool with your first and last names. Of course, if you are unwilling to "unmask" yourself in this manner, you can leave the nickname field blank. Regardless, contestants are not allowed to use a psuedonym or nickname in the "Your Name" field. (If this rule poses a problem for you, please contact me and let's see what we can figure out.)
If you have questions about any of the above, please e-mail me (bloy [at] nd.edu) and let's talk about it. I truly want people to be able to participate in my pools, so I will try to be flexible and accommodate those who have genuine privacy concerns. But in my experience, people often avoid their full names out of convenience or habit, rather than a strong stand on principle; it is this practice which I primarily want to discourage, lest my pool standings become a hodge-podge of meaningless nicknames. Also, my pool updates would sound rather silly if they began reading like: "B. takes lead over thebeef; Mc. third; some guy named David fourth, some other guy named David fifth." :) So I am trying to strike a balance here.
Again, I apologize if any of these rules sound harsh; please do e-mail me if they cause any problems for you in your particular situation. All private e-mail correspondences will be kept confidential.
7. Anyone who enters under an entirely false name (i.e., claiming to be a celebrity or someone else who you are not), who is deceptive about their identity when I contact them about it, or who does not respond to e-mails about the issue, is subject to disqualification. Once the tournament has begun, any disqualifications will become final.
8. With regard to the other fields on the entry form (school affiliations, where you live, etc.), I am much more flexible. I don't want to intrude on anyone's privacy; I just want to have some idea of who you are, and thus some reasonable way of identifying you in pool updates, whether that's "Josh Rubin, Newington High School Class of 1999 alum and 2002 Maryland graduate" or "Rick Boeckler, Becky's uncle and a resident of Silver Spring, MD." In other words, I don't necessarily need all of the information from everybody, but I need some information from everybody so you aren't just an unknown name. And of course, the more information you're willing to give me, the better.
Again, I reserve the right to disqualify people if they give me inadequate information. This is a judgment call, and I will contact you to discuss and hopefully rectify the situation before I disqualify you.
9. These rules are subject to change at my discretion if a mistake is discovered or an unexpected issue arises.
My apologies for the novel/lecture, but I wanted to be clear about all that. Now, let's get on with the pools!
Men's NCAA pool entry form
Women's NCAA pool entry form
NIT pool entry form