The NCAA is a massively profitable business; its March Madness TV deal is worth $10.8 billion alone. And to ensure that profitability, the NCAA has a bunch of strict rules to protect its bottom line, such as its ban on college athletes making any money off their own labor.
But the association's heavy-handed enforcement of its rules goes beyond that, extending all the way to mugs covered in tiny little cats. Yes, the NCAA bans all unofficial cups from tournament games that do not, as The Wall Street Journal's Jason Gay puts it, feature the logo of a "Prominent Hydration Drink." So Gay, thinking the rule was ridiculous, decided to "wage a tiny protest against the NCAA by bringing my kitty cat beverage holder" to cover Sunday's game between Michigan State and UConn.
A tournament official eventually noticed and confiscated the mug, though Gay got it back after the game. That may seem coldhearted, but the NCAA has a solid case in its defense: It's a slippery slope from cat mug to dog stein, which then leads inexorably toward shopping cart full of Big Gulps.
Read Gay's whole hilarious, harrowing encounter here.