Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Where does all the March Madness money go?

imageInteresting post at, where we get a breakdown of how the NCAA distributes revenue from the annual NCAA Basketball Tournament. Of course, the league retains a hefty portion—roughly $309 million in 2012 if I’m doing the math right. It uses that money to fund its operations. The other $504 million is distributed to the conferences and member schools.

Almost a third—$202 million in 2012—is distributed to the schools with no restrictions in what’s called the Basketball Fund. There are no stipulations on how the money can be used, but it’s a major source of revenue for non-football schools that fund athletic programs in other non-revenue sports.

Here’s what caught my interest, given the current brouhaha over whether student athletes in major revenue sports programs should be paid:

Student Athlete Assistance Fund ($66.1 million): This fund is made up of two separate funds: the Student Athlete Opportunity Fund ($51 million) and Special Assistance Fund ($15.1 million). Any athlete can use the Student Athlete Opportunity Fund even after they no longer partaking due to medical reasons or have surpassed eligibility. Students apply to this fund for a variety expenses. For example, they could apply if they need assistance with graduate school application fees or testing fees.

This piqued my interest because of a post I wrote here in September 2011, explaining how players can get access to thousands of dollars, all in cash, all within NCAA rules, and use it for whatever they want.

Here’s a snippet:

… the Des Moines Register looked at 23 different schools in the Big Ten, Big 12 and Southeastern conferences, and learned that more than 1,000 student-athletes received approximately $5 million in the 2010 academic year. All cash. All tax free. None of it has to be repaid and all of it is within NCAA rules. This is on top of the full ride scholarships the students got. The average player got about $4,500 to spend as he saw fit. Since tuition, books, fees and boarding costs covered by the scholarship, the grant money goes to pretty much anything the kid wants to spend it on.

Including cars with tricked out rims and stereo systems.

Go check out the post, and follow the link to Flint’s excellent article on the subject.

I can’t put my clicker on the email right now—probably lost when I migrated to a new laptop—but Alabama is one of many schools that encourage their student athletes to take advantage of these opportunities, which allows them at least a decent shot at living as well as their classmates.

Which makes the Auburn fans’ constant blathering about bammer suits, cars and rims so entertaining. There isn’t a day that goes by that you don’t see some multi-page thread on Auburn message boards, expressing righteous indignation over AJ McCarron’s new rims, Trent Richardson’s suits or Dre Kirkpatrick’s Dodge Charger; followed by post after post wondering why the NCAA won’t DO SOMETHING!

The truth is, the NCAA is doing something—providing student athletes with the means to get all that swag, yo.

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