I didn't realize that Dasani was offensive. I didn't realize that Twizzlers were, either, or that translucent, pink plastic would melt television cameras.
Last Friday morning I arrived, water bottle in hand, at the Scottrade Center for the St. Louis subregional. It took barely 60 seconds for the NCAA Brand Police to notice. As I unpacked, a very nice woman informed me that I should not have been let into the building with my own water bottle. All courtside imbibing during March Madness is to be done out of blue-and-black NCAA cups emblazoned with the logo of a corporate partner.
I agreed to hide my bottle under the table, although I did get thirsty because I was too afraid to take it out again.
I wasn't the only one to be penalized by the NCAA's watchdogs, who have been especially vigilant this year. Many a coach was forced to jam his Dasani or Aquafina or Smartwater bottle into one of the NCAA-sanctioned cups, and journalists resorted to placing their smuggled-in candies into the cups, as well, to avoid imprisonment or expulsion.
There are bigger issues to address, but please excuse the NCAA if it doesn't notice. Its very nice staffers are busy distributing cups.
RICHARD GOERG/GETTY IMAGES (BOTTLE)