March Madness tips off this week and millions of Americans will participate by filling out a bracket. The American Gaming Association estimates that more than 70 million brackets will be completed this year. To put that in perspective, that number will likely surpass the number of votes that Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump or any other single presidential candidate get in the November election.
"March Madness is the pre-eminent demonstration of the desire that Americans have to be invested in American sports," said Geoff Freeman president and CEO of the association.
While the average number of brackets completed is around two per person, experts argue about how many brackets are too many. Their position is that if you fill out more than one bracket, you are cheating, because you can win by picking multiple outcomes.
Turner Sports broadcaster Ernie Johnson feels strongly about the issue: "Here's the deal. Here's my pet peeve here. You may be one of those guys. I hate it when I get into one of those pools with a guy who has five brackets. I just don't like it. We're watching political campaigns, debates, mudslinging between candidates. The first candidate who says 'one March Madness bracket: that's the law,' he's getting my vote."
Johnson is not alone. CNBC spoke with a number of former basketball players and broadcasters for this year's NCAA basketball tournament, and a big theme became apparent. Too many brackets is just lame.
Steve Smith, who played 14 years in the NBA and is also a Turner broadcaster, said it succinctly: "To be a real true sports fan — you can only fill out one bracket!" Smith did allow for people to participate in different pools, but his opinion was that you had to use the same bracket for each one.
And former NBAer Grant Hill concurred. "Just one. I think it's cheating when you fill out multiple brackets. I'm going to establish bracket bylaws and one of the rules are only fill out one bracket. It's cheating!"