NCAA office pools go online

Matt Kuhns

In tow with the NCAA basketball tournament come informal office pools, but this year, another option has emerged for cyber-savvy basketball fans — online pools.

A number of businesses that have taken to the Web have debuted online college basketball pools free to the public.

One of the many online pool organizers is the Burly Bear Network, a college-oriented cable network, which airs on the student-run TV station ISU 9 from midnight to 1 a.m.

Dannah Feinglass, Burly Bear Network representative, said the impetus behind organizing the pool was “to get our student affiliates involved.”

CBS Sportsline also offers a pool to draw more visitors to its Web site, said Kathy Bradley, Sportsline USA communications manager.

“It’s a tremendous advertising vehicle,” Bradley said.

The arrangement of most of the pools is fairly standard.

Contestants register and fill in a tournament bracket over the Internet. Then, they receive points for each correct pick.

During the tournament, participants can follow their own and others’ scores online. When the tournament is over, the entrants with the highest scores receive prizes such as vacation packages or shopping sprees.

Most pools offer at least one distinct feature that sets them apart from others.

For example, Yahoops!, sponsored by the search engine Yahoo!, offers both a men’s and a women’s tournament pool.

Feinglass said the Burly Bear Network pool is unique because “you can form leagues” and compete with other universities and celebrity contestants. Celebrity players such as Adam Sandler and other film stars have been lined up by the network to make predictions, and participants will be able to keep track of how their scores match up against the celebrities’, Feinglass said.

Bradley said online pools are similar to traditional office pools but sans all the paperwork.

“[The advantage of an online pool] is just making it easier for people to manage it,” she said.

Feinglass said the opportunity to compete for large prizes with no money required to play is another incentive that attracts people to online pools.

Burly Bear Network’s NCAA Tournament pool site can be found at CBS Sportline’s pool is available at And the Yahoops! site can be found at