NEW YORK, N.Y. (CBS Hartford) – A reporter’s mug featuring cats illustrated on it, was confiscated Sunday by the NCAA during the east regional final between the University of Connecticut and Michigan State at Madison Square Garden.
The cat mug belonged to reporter Jason Gay from The Wall Street Journal. Gay violated one of the NCAA’s rules regarding cups.
“Like other people in the media, I have been amused for a while at a strictly enforced NCAA policy regarding cups,” Gay wrote in a column for The Wall Street Journal. “As in paper cups. The NCAA forbids outside cups at tournament games. It requests that beverages are consumed in official NCAA cups with a logo of a Prominent Hydration Drink.”
For those sitting at floor-level entrances to the basketball court, signs are posted in capital letters reminding game attendees of the rule.
“I’ll say it right up front: I was not innocently wandering into the Garden with a cat mug,” he wrote. “I felt the NCAA cup rule was pretty funny, and a bit ridiculous, so I wanted to wage a tiny protest against the NCAA by bringing my kitty cat beverage holder to the game.”
Gay continued on by explaining that he knew it was against the rules to bring the mug and that his reporter credential to cover the game was based upon him complying with the NCAA policy.
He shared that he brought the mug as a way to question not only how the NCAA does business, but also whether or not it is fair to college sports and especially college athletes who don’t get paid. Gay went on to state that the NCAA makes billions of dollars a year off of athletes, but yet the athletes are apart of a “restrictive environment.”
When he arrived to MSG, he tweeted the below post featuring the cat mug next to the NCAA sign stating the policy on cups:
NCAA has very strict rules for NCAA-only cups at March Madness. I have brought my cat mug. Stay tuned. pic.twitter.com/jEi3Q0e6ry
— Jason Gay (@jasonWSJ) March 30, 2014
After tweeting the photo to his more than 32,000 Twitter followers, Gay proceeded to head inside to the press table.
“Then I went to my seat, and to make it official, I put a little of the Prominent Hydration Drink in the cat mug,” Gay wrote. “I tweeted another photo of the cat mug at my press table. Foolish? Sure. A dare? You could say that.”
No one bothered him about the cat mug until the very end of the game when a staff member of the tournament began to inquire about the mug.
The staff member immediately confiscated the mug from Gay, but he was able to get it back after the game was finished.