Photo: Courtesy of Elko Daily Free Press
According to College AD, athletic departments will take their first financial haircut in April when proceeds from the NCAA Basketball Tournaments would have been distributed. Instead, the NCAA will distribute $225 million in June to Division I members to specifically focus on supporting college athletes. This sum represents 37% of the budgeted $600 million that was to be distributed following March Madness. The NCAA receives most of its revenue from the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship television and marketing rights, as well as championship ticket sales.
The NCAA was able to generate this one-time payment with $50 million from NCAA reserves and part of the proceeds from a $270 million event cancellation insurance policy.
According to the article, the Division I distribution, $53.6 million will be distributed through the Equal Conference Fund, which is split equally among Division I basketball-playing conferences that meet athletic and academic standards to play in the men’s basketball tournament. The remainder of the funds will be proportionally distributed through the other NCAA funds. The payment will be unrestricted to provide latitude to conferences to distribute as they see fit.
This reduced payout will impact Denver athletics as well as create a ripple effect that will also financially impact public, private and large and small universities and colleges.
And the pressure on all athletic departments that we discussed in a prior article extends to large, public universities as well. For example, at the University of Wyoming, athletic director Tom Burman said, “It’s going to cost us is the loss of NCAA basketball revenue, which funds the entire operations.” Add to this, total operating costs for athletics in 2018-19 was a little over $48.1 million. Without money from the university and outside contributions, the athletic department had just under $24 million in revenue. Wyoming will still honor the scholarships of athletes that lost their spring seasons. “It’s the right thing, but how do we pay for it?” Burman said. “I don’t know where at the present time Wyoming stands.”
The University of Denver Athletics’s staff is huddling up like all other institutions are and exploring creative ways to cut costs. One way under consideration is more regionally focused non-conference schedules which allow for less expensive travel and perhaps home and away matchups in the same season to mitigate expenses. This could also be a positive for fans as well, with increased local focus and access.