Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - In 1975, the Syracuse University men’s basketball team went to its first Final Four.
The same year, long before bracket-business became commonplace, Jim Morgan made his first bracket.
He and 30 of his friends and co-workers tried to pick as many winners as they could out of the field of 32 teams.
"We followed college basketball and I think it was just sort of the challenge, the camaraderie, I'll bet you I can pick more games than you can pick, so we put together the bracket because its fun to follow the bracket,” Morgan said.
Morgan considers himself a “numbers guy.” He has statistics, box scores, and spread sheets from seasons and post-seasons spanning several decades.
Morgan claims his bracket is the oldest – and he doesn’t know of anyone who has challenged that claim.
"A news article a year or two ago, some bar and grill down in NYC claimed they are among the first and I think they were a couple years after ours,” Morgan said.
Morgan’s bracket has evolved much the same way the sport itself has.
Originally, his contests were scored with a point for each win. Now his contest features a graduated scoring system.
As the number of teams in the tournament grew, so did the number of participants in Morgan’s bracket contests.
From 31 people, the event grew to include 800 participants.
"It was only $1 an entry so it was always cheap, it was more about the bragging rights,” Morgan said.