Thursday, February 21st, 2019

NCAA president Emmert: Women’s basketball loses $14 million per year

Published on April 18, 2016


Last week NCAA President Mark Emmert visited Utah State University. During remarks and a question and answer session with students he revealed some of the organization’s financial data reports the Utah Statesman.

  • If the NCAA were to become a business, only two sports would make money: men’s basketball and football.
  • Nationwide, only 22 athletic departments made money last year: “There are only two sports that have anything approaching positive cash flow or breaking even,” said Emmert. “And that is football or men’s basketball. You would never, ever play any other sport if it was a business. I don’t think any school would say ‘OK, I’ve got to pay $50,000 for an employee to run track for us.’ They just wouldn’t do it.”
  • The men’s basketball tournament is the only postseason event that makes the NCAA money: $800 million per year of which $500 million goes to schools. Money is allocated based on enrollment, how many schools from each conference are in the tournament and how many games programs win. The NCAA gives $100 million to schools to spend however they want and $150 million goes to other championships.
  • “Women’s basketball loses 14 million by itself,” Emmert said. “Once you get done splitting the money up, there isn’t much left. We can’t tell someone how much to pay a coach. We can’t tell them how to use the money they get.”
  • “We take a poll every year (in men’s basketball) and 75 percent say they will be in the NBA. Only 1.5 percent really make it.”

Last month, Smith College economics professor Andrew Zimbalist wrote in an article in the New York Times about the money allocated from the NCAA basketball tournaments:

Each game a team plays (not including the championship) earns the team’s conference roughly $260,000 this year plus $260,000 each of the five following years. So the total value of a victory in the men’s tournament is approximately $1.56 million. By contrast, a win in the women’s tournament brings a reward of exactly zero dollars. That’s right, zero dollars.

The NCAA includes 1,121 colleges and universities in Division I, Division II and Division III and 460,000 student-athletes. About 350 of those schools are Division I with over 6,000 teams and more than 170,000 student-athletes.

According to an NCAA report, “revenue generated by athletics through ticket sales, broadcast agreements and other sources continues to rise among Division I schools, but athletics-related expenses are climbing at a quicker pace.”

Expenses exceeded generated revenue at all but 20 schools in the Football Bowl Subdivision. The average loss among the five highest-resource conferences was $2.3 million, but was much higher — $17.6 million — at all other FBS schools. From 2012 to 2013, median annual generated revenues (all athletics revenues excluding those allocated through the government, the school or through student-activity fees) increased by 3.2 percent, yet median total expenses rose by 10.6 percent.

Last week, the NCAA extended its contract with CBS and Turner Sports’ networks by eight years to broadcast the men’s tournament. The deal is worth $8.8 billion and includes the rights to air games “across existing platforms, as well as those to be created in the future.”

The press release for the deal states that “more than 90 percent of the revenue generated from this extension will be used to benefit college athletes through programs, services or direct distribution to member conferences and schools.” However, according to Awful Annoncing, less than 10 percent of the money from the deal is earmarked for student-athletes.

This post is part of the thread: 2015-16 College Season – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.


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