Why won’t the NCAA offset travel emissions for tournament teams?

We’ve been glued to the TV along this crazy ride they call March Madness. For all the bank shots, buzzer beaters, and upsets (Nova), we couldn’t help but wondering one thing: How much do these teams have to travel?

We decided to do some investigating and came up with the numbers ourselves. As of this writing (the day of the championship game), the tournament teams have traveled 127,300 miles! We’ve had to make some assumptions, of course, but that equals 1,782 metric tons of CO2. And that’s just the teams’ travel. Think about the all fans, referees, equipment, facilities that travel for the tournament.

So we decided to dig a little deeper and compare how the schools leading the climate fight are doing. We call them Climate Leadership or CL schools, for short.

Below you’ll find the win rates of CL schools, our green bracket following CL schools, an interactive map showing you the exact routes of carbon emissions from the teams’ travel, and a series of posts written by Urban Offsets’ Founder Shawn Gagné following the tournament.

Green = Climate Leadership School

What happens when a Climate Leadership school plays against a Non-Climate Leadership school?

Climate Leadership (CL) School Tracking Board
RoundCL Win RateNon-CL Win RateWin Rate CL vs Non-CLNCAA Men's Tournament Carbon Footprint (mtCO2e) (First flight through home)
First53.1% (17/32)46.9% (15/32)65% (13/20)1,116 mtCO2e (including First Four)
Second62.5% (10/16)37.5% (6/16)80% (4/5)169.4 mtCO2e
Sweet Sixteen75.0% (6/8)25.0% (2/8)75.0% (3/4)320.8 mtCO2e
Elite Eight100% (4/4)none100% (2/2)80.42 mtCO2e
Final Four100% (2/2)nonenone109.4 mtCO2e
Running Total62.9% (39/62)41.1% (23/56)71% (22/31)1,782 mtCO2e


CL Win Rate = Percentage of games won by CL schools regardless of opponent’s CL status

Non-CL Win Rate = Percentage of games won by Non-CL schools regardless of opponent’s CL status

Win Rate CL vs Non-CL = Percentage of games won by CL schools when facing Non-CL schools

Where have the teams traveled? (Best viewed on desktop)

Below is a series of posts following the sustainability and emissions of the tournament

April 3, 2017
A Climate Leader Showdown

This past weekend a moment in history was made – The Final Four consisted of only Climate Leader schools. With the…

Read More
March 22, 2017
March Madness Round 2’s Roundup

Saturday was definitely better for Climate Leadership schools than Sunday was. Let’s look at both days in the context of Round…

Read More
March 19, 2017
March Madness Round 1’s Roundup

Climate Leadership School Tracking Board (March 18, 12:15 pm) First Round Win Rate (Climate Leaders) First Round Win Rate (non-Climate…

Read More
March 17, 2017
Why won’t the NCAA offset travel emissions for tournament teams?

What a difference a day makes! Sixteen games were played by 32 teams as of this writing at 11:50 am on…

Read More
March 14, 2017
A Sustainable School will win the 2017 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament

Choosing a green bracket is easier than ever this year. Today is the last day to lock in your picks for…

Read More