Manager Games (@ManagerGames_) begins a fourth season in 2018-19, continuing to build on the success the league saw during its first three seasons.

Manager Games is an organized league of underground basketball games played by men’s basketball student managers, staffs, and the occasional “ringer” at colleges and universities across the country. Teams most typically play games the night before scheduled matchups between two schools. Rules include:

  • Player eligibility is limited to those involved in any capacity past or present within the men’s basketball program at a given institution. The preference is that teams are comprised of student managers, while understanding that is not always possible to field a full roster.
  • Games are played in two, 20-minute halves with a running clock.
  • The clock will stop for the last two minutes of the second half. All common fouls will be 1-and-1 during the same last two minutes of the game.
  • Any overtime period will be five minutes in length.
  • All other rules should revert to the Division I Men’s Basketball rulebook or common sense.

To take part in Manager Games, each school needs to designate their school’s “Managing Manager.” Report game scores and Managing Managers via e-mail to or via direct message on Twitter to @ManagerGames_.  Please report the visiting and home team, final score, and date and location of each game. Scores, team resumes, and KPI rankings will be available at

Results and scores of games are kept to track standings and KPI rankings for each participating school.  The season culminates with the Postseason Tournament where teams advance through both fan votes and competition.  Up to eight teams will qualify for the tournament in conjunction with the NCAA Final Four in Minneapolis.  The 64-team field will be announced in March.  Further details, including dates, game times, travel plans, and potential broadcast plans will be announced in the future.  While the games are competitive, they are intended to celebrate student managers and their hard work and dedication, while also allowing them to enjoy some relaxation and build relationships.

The NCAA continues to be a huge help in the success of Manager Games, especially at each year’s Final Four.  Their assistance with game production, referees, and travel options has been invaluable.  Turner Sports and on-site manager 3 Point Productions have also provided essential assistance.

To qualify for the 2019 Postseason Tournament:

  • Teams must play at least five (5) Manager Games prior to their conference tournament.
  • A conference may qualify for an AQ (automatic qualifier) bid to the Postseason Tournament by collectively playing a minimum of twice the number of games as teams in the conference (i.e., a 14-team Big Ten would need to play 28 conference games to qualify for an AQ bid). The AQ will go to the regular season champion (team with best conference winning percentage and minimum of five games played), or, if the conference has a conference tournament of four or more teams, the conference tournament champion.
  • Remaining at-large spots are determined by KPI rankings. KPI, a results-based ranking system developed by Michigan State Assistant Athletic Director Kevin Pauga that assigns values based on the quality of each win and loss on a scale of approximately -1.0 to +1.0, will be updated regularly throughout the season at
  • For postseason games unable to be played, online voting will again be used to determine a winner. Details of that process will be announced at a later date.

The first Manager Games Postseason Tournament took place in March 2016.  In its first three seasons, more than 1,000 games were played by 172 schools representing 27 Division-I Conferences.  Nearly a half million postseason online votes have been cast in the first three seasons.

Manager Games Postseason Tournament History:

2016 (Champion: Kansas)

Participating Teams: Iowa State, Kansas, Michigan State, Tennessee

Championship: Kansas 44, Michigan State 42

2017 (Champion: Missouri)

Participating Teams: Dayton, Georgia, Michigan, Missouri, Missouri State, Texas, Western Kentucky

Championship: Missouri 51, Western Kentucky 46

2018 (Champion: VCU)

Participating Teams: Michigan, Missouri State, Texas, VCU, Wisconsin

Championship: VCU 37, Texas 36 (plus additional sudden death period)

Student managers are a valuable asset to college basketball teams across the country.  They volunteer their time to assist student-athletes, coaches, and schools in positions that are often unpaid.  They assist in practices, the video room, on gameday, and in many other aspects of the day-to-day operation of college basketball programs. The work ethic learned while serving as a student manager helps graduates become successful in jobs in both professional and intercollegiate athletics as well as positions outside sports.  The student manager position has become one of the best internships in intercollegiate athletics.

First established in 2014, Manager Games is managed by former Michigan State student managers Ian May and Andrew Novak, former Auburn University manager Thomas Northcutt, and Michigan State Assistant Athletic Director and former manager Kevin Pauga.

The Manager Games logo was created by Thomas Northcutt.  The “MG” stands for “Manager Games” while adding an outlined R to acknowledge “MGR” as an abbreviation for manager.  The logo colors can be customized to represent each school’s colors and add to the identity of each competing team.

Follow the Manager Games on Twitter at @ManagerGames_, on Facebook at, and on Instagram at

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