You don't even have to be a basketball fan to recognize the iconic celebration that takes place at the end of NCAA basketball tournaments. Players climb a ladder and cut off pieces of the net for themselves. The tradition isn't just for national champions, though. You'll find teams cutting nets just about anytime there's a trophy involved in men's or women's college basketball.
At the collegiate level, the tradition started in 1947. North Carolina State coach Everett Case was looking for a souvenir after his team won the Southern Conference title. Though, of course, it wasn't tradition yet. So, there wasn't a ladder waiting to help him get up to the rim with scissors. Instead, Coach Case was hoisted on the shoulders of his players. That's it. There's no secret symbolism at play, just an act that caught hold and became a tradition.
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However, there's debate over who started the tradition of cutting nets on a larger scale. Coach Case was certainly the first to make it a tradition in college basketball. Though some sources, such as Tim Peeler's Legends of N.C. State Basketball and the NCAA itself, say it's likely Case brought the tradition with him from Indiana high school basketball, which you may have heard, is pretty intense for a high school sport. Case spent 23 years coaching in his home state of Indiana and won four state championships before heading to North Carolina State.
It's not the most exciting reason for a tradition, but sometimes that's how it goes.
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