LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The NCAA on Thursday announced that it will be providing less money to its member schools as a result of the cancellation of its NCAA men’s basketball tournament due to the COVID-19 threat.
In the past couple of years, the NCAA had distributed around $610 million to its member schools. This year, the association said that it would distribute only $255 million, alerting athletic departments around the country just how big a revenue hit they would take.
Indiana University athletics director Fred Glass said that the school would have to find a way to adjust.
“As is the case with so many other organizations in our community, across the country and around the world, the coronavirus pandemic is having and will continue to have a significant negative financial impact on our department and all of intercollegiate athletics,” Glass said. “In addition to pursuing our number one priority of helping to protect the health and safety of our students, coaches, staff and fans, we have also been working to mitigate the financial impact of the anticipated reductions in the distributions we traditionally receive from the NCAA and the Big Ten.”
The same will be true at the University of Louisville, University of Kentucky and across college sports.
The NCAA directed that the disbursements it will give to schools be used specifically on supporting college athletes.
“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,” said Michael V. Drake, chair of the NCAA board of governors and president of Ohio State University. “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.”
The reduction in NCAA disbursements had been anticipated by athletic directors. Now, they have a better feel for how this spring’s cancellations will change their bottom lines.
Most conferences receive these funds and distribute them to the schools via revenue sharing. U of L men’s basketball, for instance, received $1.835 million marked ACC/NCAA disbursement in 2019-20, plus another $1.4 million marked ACC/NCAA disbursement for other sports.
Hypothetically, that $3.25 million in revenue could be as little as $1.2 million as a result of these NCAA reductions, though there could be reductions in ACC disbursement, too, as the result of the cancellation of its men’s basketball tournament.
“We continue to use the word fluid,” Louisville Athletic Director Vince Tyra said last week while speaking with reporters. “And it’s sure been that from the get-go.”
And it probably will be for some time.
The NCAA says it was prepared for this kind of eventuality, or the financial situation might’ve been much worse. It has a $270 million event cancellation policy that will help pay for the disbursement, along with $50 million in reserves.
Eli Capilouto, president of UK and the NCAA’s Division I board, said, “Our priority is to ensure that we are able to support student-athletes and continue to provide opportunity as broadly as possible.”
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