Pandemic fallout: NCAA slashes distribution by $375 million
The NCAA will distribute $225 million to its Division I members in June, a whopping $375 million less than had been budgeted after the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of the big-money men’s basketball tournament.
Ohio State President Michael Drake, chairman of the NCAA board of governors, said the association will undertake cost-cutting measures to be determined in the upcoming weeks.
“The association has prepared for a financial catastrophic event like the one we face now,” Drake said Thursday. “While we certainly have challenges ahead, we would be in a far worse position had it not been for this long-standing, forward-focused planning.”
The NCAA had been scheduled to distribute $600 million to more than 300 Division I schools from April to June. Instead, it will hand out far less.
Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby told reporters his 10-member league would have expected about $24 million from NCAA distributions. Instead, he estimated, the Big 12 will receive about $10 million.
The NCAA pulled in more than $1 billion in revenue last year, including $867.5 million from the television and marketing rights for the Division I men’s basketball tournament. But March Madness was canceled March 19, a week before the first round was scheduled to begin.
The NCAA said $50 million will come from its reserve fund while a $270 million event cancellation insurance policy will help pay off the remaining distribution. Some $53.6 million will be distributed to member schools through the Equal Conference Fund, which is split equally among Division I basketball playing conferences.
“Our priority is to ensure that we are able to support student-athletes and continue to provide opportunity as broadly as possible,” said University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto, the Division I board chairman.
The remainder will be proportionally distributed through other funds.
Division II is projected to receive $13.9 million, $30 million less than last year. Division III is expected to receive $10.7 million, $22 million less than last year.