Q: Hey Jabin, what gives? I wanted to win some money in this pool? What's with this charity stuff?
A: Well, when I ran this as a normal pool, every year I would get 5-10 Emails from friends who asked the same basic question: "Aren't you afraid of getting caught?" Well, the fact was (emphasis on was) that the traditional March Madness office pool was perfectly legal. As long as all proceeds collected are paid out to the winners, NCAA Office Pools are fine (what is not legal is to make a sports bet outside of Nevada where the person taking the bet gets the money if you lose). So I was all good, knowing that the office pool "share the wealth" model was ok.
However, in late 2006, the US government passed a Ports Security Bill (who is going to vote *against* port security?), and at the 11th hour they added a section to the bill banning Internet gambling -- specifically they banned the sending of funds over the Internet via credit card, PayPal, etc., for the purposes of games of chance (anyone heard of the stock market?). Anyway, if you're interested you can read all about it here.
Now I'm no lawyer (although I play one on TV), but this law seemed to be the clincher, and I didn't want to knowingly break the law (I like you people, but not the 'going to prison' kind of like, you know?). And I'm just the sort of poor schmuck they would make an example of. So, I first thought about not doing the pool at all, but then the charity idea entered the picture.
Q: So the winner picks the charity?
A: That's right. THIS IS NOT A JOKE, NOT A COVER OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT. THIS IS REALLY A CHARITY POOL, AND YOU CANNOT WIN ANY MONEY. The only catch is that it must be a legitimate charity (as in 501(c)(3). The winner picks the charity, and the charity gets the entire pot.
Q: This whole charity thing is a front, right?
A: You know, I actually had a problem with this one year. Trust me, the charity thing is REAL. I am not just saying that to get around the law. It's not a cover. It's not a joke. In fact, I'm so proud of the donations we have made over the last few years, I wouldn't change it back now even if the laws were changed. So yes, this is a CHARITY pool. No joke. No front.
Q: So it's still $5 to play?
A: Yes, the entry fee to the pool is $5, but I'm asking you to consider that this is for charity, so if you want to give more, that's ok too.
Q: Can I play more than one bracket?
A: Of course you can, the more the merrier. I get a kick out of the different theories people have -- submitting a "safe" bracket vs. what their hunch says, some cover all their bases with 4 or 5 brackets, and some feel more comfortable with one. Get creative, on your picks and on the names of each bracket -- that's what makes this fun! Each bracket is $5 (or more for charity) to play, so keep that in mind. But the amount of brackets you submit is only limited by your creativity.
Q: Hey Jabin, how come you hate Duke so much?
A: Remember the story about the guy who climbed Mt. Everest? Someone asked him why he climbed such a high mountain, and he said "Because it's there." Well that has nothing to do with why I hate Duke. Obviously the rivalry in the ACC (I went to Wake Forest) is big, but I don't hate other ACC schools as much. I think it's just the arrogance of Coach K, combined with the string of whiny little guys they've had at the school (Hurley, Wojo, JJ, Paulus). Anyway, it's one of those things that goes back so long I sometimes forget why I hate them so much -- and then Coach K works the refs and they get a ridiculous call in their favor as the announcers praise them for playing "tough Duke defense" (known as "fouling" at any other school), and it all comes back to me. BONUS 2018 update — I will add the hypocrisy of Coach K with the whole “one and done” thing. He used to badmouth Kentucky for going with freshmen who only stay for one year, but now he’s become one of the leading beneficiaries of the one and done system. Which is it, Coach?
It's all in good fun, and I mean no disrespect to the many fine Duke grads who play in this pool. I do, however, hope your Blue Devils go out early in a blaze of glory.
Q: If a train left Chicago traveling 65 mph and another train left Philadelphia traveling 55 mph, what time would they meet up at the Final Four?
A: I was told there would be no math involved on this FAQ.
Q: Hey Jabin, I've got Iona over Sisters of the Poor in one Final Four bracket. Should I just declare myself the winner now or wait until this whole tourney thing plays out?
A: You do what you gotta do. And good luck in your baseball pool.
Any other questions? Please send me an Email, and if the FAQ Committee deems it worthy, I'll answer it and add it to this page.