This Day in Failure: March 16

2008: JP Morgan Chase & Co. agrees to purchase Bear Stearns Cos. for the fire-sale price of $2 per share (or $236 million) capping a stunning collapse of the 85-year-old firm, which had been valued at $3.5 billion less than 48 hours earlier.

2003: The NCAA Selection Committee assigns Brigham Young University (BYU) a #12 seed in the 2003 tournament’s South Regional, accidentally putting the Mormon Church-owned school on course to play on Sunday, March 30. The mistake—considered the worst scheduling gaffe in NCAA tourney history—forces the committee to concoct a plan to switch BYU to the Midwest bracket should the Cougars advance to the Sweet 16, thereby honoring the school’s longstanding tradition of not playing athletics on Sundays. The potentially disruptive situation is averted when BYU is eliminated in the first round, losing 58-53 to Connecticut.

1994: Tonya Harding is banned from amateur figure skating after pleading guilty to conspiracy to hinder prosecution for covering up the attack on her skating rival Nancy Kerrigan.

1978: The super tanker Amoco Cadiz runs aground on Portsall Rocks, three miles off the coast of Brittany, when its steering mechanism fails. The ship is en route from the Arabian Gulf to Le Havre, France, when it encounters stormy weather that contributes to the accident. The ship’s entire cargo (over 1.6 million barrels of oil) spills into the sea, creating a slick approximately 18 miles wide and 80 miles long.