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Vitale admitted to mental hospital

Dick Vitale committed after manic episode of March Madness

Published: Monday, April 2, 2007

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01

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Dick Vitale's case of March Madness has caused him to be held in solitary confinement.

Sources close to The Heights have confirmed that ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale was admitted into an Atlanta mental institution on Saturday night. Vitale was at the Georgia Dome watching the Final Four from a courtside seat when, at approximately 10:35 p.m., he began engaging in what witnesses could only describe as "odd" behavior.

With Florida and UCLA tied with just over two minutes to play, Vitale opened a small backpack he brought with him to the game, pulling out a vintage 1992 Christian Laettner jersey from Duke University, which he slipped on over his dress shirt. Vitale then applied royal blue paint onto his face, before running across the court to the area where CBS broadcasters Jim Nantz and Billy Packer were calling the game.

"He's really lost it," said Florida forward Joakim Noah after the game. "He's crazy, and coming from me, that's saying a whole lot."

Allegedly, Vitale punched Nantz in the face before removing Nantz's headset and pitting it on himself.

The CBS audience was then treated to a 30-second Vitale monologue:

"Let me tell you about Josh McRoberts," said Vitale. "This kid can flat-out play, he's a PTPer, baby. Josh, if you're listening, stay at Duke. You got Coach K, the greatest coach in America baby, the Cameron Crazies, you gotta love them, with their 1500 SATs, they love you, baby, you gotta stay at Duke. And another thing, with all due respect to Tony Bennett, head coach at Washington State, I think the AP got it all wrong, baby. What Mike Krzyzewski did this season is nothing short of a miracle, baby. Going 8-8, in the toughest conference in America, the ACC, coach of the year in my book, all the way, baby!"

Packer, according to reports, remained in his seat before calmly subduing Vitale with what he would later call a "Wake Forest sleeper hold," alluding to the style of play of his alma mater's basketball team.

Georgia Dome security then arrived on the scene, putting Vitale in a straight jacket and removing him from the arena. Vitale would later be transported to a local Atlanta hospital where he was diagnosed with "March Madness."

When Nantz was asked about what might have provoked Vitale's behavior, the broadcaster stared blankly at the group of assembled reporters and mumbled, "Hello, friends," before falling into a state on unconsciousness, much like many in the TV audience do when Nantz is calling a game.

Nantz was listed in stable condition.

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