The “Big Dance” (also called “March Madness”) is the NCAA Division I basketball tournament. The NCAA has trademarked “Big Dance” since 2002, but “big dance” has been cited in print since at least 1982.
College basketball teams hope to be “invited to the (big) dance.” No actual dancing, however, is involved.
Wikipedia: NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship
The NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship is a single-elimination tournament held each spring in the United States, featuring 68 college basketball teams, to determine the national championship in the top tier of college basketball. The tournament, organized by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), was created in 1939 by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, and was the brainchild of Ohio State University coach Harold Olsen. Held mostly in March, it is known informally as March Madness or the Big Dance, and has become one of the most prominent annual sporting events in the United States. The NCAA has credited Bob Walsh of the Seattle Organizing Committee for starting the March Madness celebration in 1984.
7 March 1982, New York (NY) Times, “Virginia Victor—N. Carolina Wins” by Gordon S. White Jr., pg. S1:
Valvano was not totally disappointed. “I feel we deserve a spot in the N.C.A.A. tournament next week,” he said. “I think it would be a shame with 22 victories not to be invited to the big dance.”
(North Carolina State basketball coach Jim Valvano—ed.)
Google News Archive
28 March 1985, Park City Daily News (Bowling Green, KY), “Lady Tops looking to business at hand” by Mark C. Mathis, pg. 1A, col. 1:
To complicate matters, the Lady Toppers reached the big dance here by beating the No. 1-ranked team in the NCAA Tournament, Texas, 92-90 last Friday night in the Midwest Regionals at Diddle Arena.
20 February 1986, The Daily News (Huntingdon, PA), “Virginia counting on NCAA bid” by Joe Illuzzi (UPI Sports Writer), pg. 5, col. 1:
North Carolina, No. 2 Duke, No. 5 Georgia Tech, N. C. State and Virginia look like solid bets to receive invites to college basketball’s big dance.
March 02, 1987
Seems Like Everyone Has A Shot This Year
The NCAA title is up for grabs because talent is more evenly distributed, thanks to TV, higher academic standards, the lure of the pros and three-point baskets
Or, alternatively, a dozen “intersectional TV clashes” against “perennial powers” so Dick Vitale can scream, “Awwwwgh, I’m tellin’ ya, this team is a Rip Van WINKLE!!!” as you finish with a misleading 16-13 record and draw attention from...the Boys from Mission, Kans., who will invite you to March Madness, The Big Dance, The Party on Bourbon Street, Hoop Heaven. In other words, include you among the 64—or is it 640?—teams lucky enough to travel The Road to New Orleans and play for The Huge Enchilada, The Whole Ball of Wax, and maybe even the national championship.
13 March 1987, New York (NY) Times, “Ice Tank,” pg. D23:
Duos at the Big Dance
Fourteen schools sent teams to both the men’s and women’s N.C.A.A. Division I basketball tournaments this year.
Google News Archive
18 March 1988, Record-Journal (Meriden, CT), “Temple must prove its No. 1 ranking on court” by George Dalek, pg. 21, col. 1:
But when the big dance—the NCAA Tournament—ends more than two weeks from now, will the Owls lay claim to the crown the conventional way?
12 November 1990. Sporting News, pg. 23, col. 1:
Hawkeyes Step Closer
To Big Ten’s Big Dance
March 23, 1992
Norman Chad: The Horror
Edited by Richard Demak
... I mean, sticking Valvano and Vitale in a television booth is akin to staging an Aerosmith concert in a phone booth; and now, of course, after ESPN’s Championship Week, it’s time on CBS for The Big Show, The Big Dance, Your Show of Shows, The Reeeeeallly Big Show. The Big Easy, The Big Money, The Big Easy Money, yes, The Baskin-Robbins Rocky Road to the Final Four, ...
March 07, 1994
Turn Down The V!
O.K., so we’ve got more than five complaints. We’re using Dicky Vee math. Heck, you’ve always got two Players of the Year, eight first-team All-Americas, 33 teams in the Top 25 and 79 guests at the Big Dance.
March 28, 1994
Big dance? Big deal.
While the Big Dance had Big Dog ( Purdue’s Glenn Robinson) and Big Country ( Oklahoma State’s Bryant Reeves), Division III had Mike Rhoades, a 6-foot All-America junior point guard from Lebanon Valley College, who has a big heart.
Word Mark THE BIG DANCE
Goods and Services IC 016. US 002 005 022 023 029 037 038 050. G & S: printed matter, namely, [ programs for athletic contests ], souvenir programs [, newspapers directed to sports, and writing instruments, namely, pens and pencils, all in connection with intercollegiate basketball games and intercollegiate basketball tournaments ]. FIRST USE: 20020330. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20020330
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial Number 75468606
Filing Date April 15, 1998
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1B
Published for Opposition March 30, 1999
Change In Registration CHANGE IN REGISTRATION HAS OCCURRED
Registration Number 2791560
Registration Date December 9, 2003
Owner (REGISTRANT) National Collegiate Athletic Association, The UNINCORPORATED ASSOCIATION OF COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES KANSAS P.O. BOX 6222 INDIANAPOLIS INDIANA 46206
Attorney of Record Douglas N. Masters
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Affidavit Text SECT 15. SECT 8 (6-YR).
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