In a one-time supplemental distribution of $200 million, the NCAA will present Division I schools with sums between 165,000 and $1.3 million per school, dependent upon the number of athletic scholarships they awarded during the 2013-14 school year.
The funds will be restricted to uses that directly benefit student-athlete academic and welfare initiatives, and are not to be allocated to coaches’ salaries, strength equipment or stadium improvements that enhance the viewer experience.
A distribution report, published by the NCAA and shared by USA Today, shows that Ohio State will be the recipient of the greatest share of funds, totaling just over $1.3 million, based on their provision of approximately 404 athletic scholarships in 2013-14.
Other schools receiving more than $1 million are Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, North Carolina, Penn State, Stanford, Virginia and Wisconsin. The smallest sum, just over $165,000, will be awarded to Davidson, for providing approximately 50 athletic scholarships.
The distribution favors schools that already have large athletics programs, but that is not the factor that is giving commentators the most pause. Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference commissioner Rich Ensor told USA Today that his league's eight private schools were appreciative of the funding they received.
“Our issue,” he said, “is why is football getting such weight in the formula.” According to Ensor, the high number of football scholarships given by the bigger schools put them high on the list for receiving the supplemental funds, even though the NCAA does not benefit from football operations revenue.
Funds for schools that don’t award athletic scholarships, such as the Ivy League and service academies, will be based on average sums distributed to Football Championship Subdivision schools.
Other issues have been addressed by the NCAA on their Distribution Q&A webpage.
Schools receiving supplemental funds will be required to submit answers to a spending plan questionnaire to be approved by NCAA staff. Spending will also be subject to random audits, and the questionnaire advises that schools retain supporting documents for a period of ten years.
The plan was approved by the NCAA board of governors a year ago, with funds coming from the liquidation of an endowment that had reached a value of more than $360 million. The supplemental funds will be distributed in mid-April.