No NCAA tournament will hurt the pockets of colleges and universities

The NCAA announces major cuts to allocations for universities and colleges in 2020
The NCAA announces major cuts to allocations for universities and colleges in 2020


INDIANAPOLIS – When it’s all said and done, the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournament makes about $800 million for the organization. That’s a large majority of their total revenue, so when it’s cancelled, the impact is enormous.

On Thursday, the NCAA released an updated financial distribution plan, and the headline is $375 million less in allocations to Division I institutions than what they expected for 2020.

The board of governors divided up the numbers they’ll distribute to conferences in Division I, II and III. Here are those numbers, with the comparison to 2019’s budget in parentheses:

  • Division I conferences receive: $225 million ($600 million in 2019)
  • Division II conferences receive: $13.9 million ($30 million less than 2019)
  • Division III conferences receive: $10.7 million ($22 million less than 2019)

According to a release from the NCAA, $50 million will come from its reserves, and $270 million will come from their event cancellation insurance policy.

Michael V. Drake, NCAA board of governors chairman and Ohio State University President says “We are living in unprecedented times not only for higher education but for the entire nation and around the globe as we face the COVID-19 public health crisis.”

“As an Association, we must acknowledge the uncertainties of our financial situation and continue to make thoughtful and prudent decisions on how we can assist conferences and campuses in supporting student-athletes now and into the future.”

NCAA President Dave Emmert said last week that the Association was “going to have to do some more hard things to figure out how we move forward.”

Hundreds of smaller universities rely heavily on the money they receive from the NCAA. Emmert recognized that in his statement: “is it going to be painful? Absolutely. It’s going to be very hard.”

“The Association has prepared for a financial catastrophic event like the one we face now,” Drake said. “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.”


It’s not just the NCAA. The NBA’s top executives will reportedly see smaller pay checks because of their shortened season due to the coronavirus global health crisis as well: