The NCAA is beginning to feel the ramifications of a sports-less spring.
An NCAA press release Tuesday detailed how revenue distributions are being cut in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic canceling spring seasons along with a majority of the winter championships, including the money-making NCAA basketball tournaments.
The NCAA had previously budgeted the 2020 revenue distribution to Division I schools at about $600 million, beginning in April. Now, the NCAA Board of Governors unanimously voted to distribute $225 million, $50 million of which is coming from NCAA reserves, to Division I schools in June.
“The NCAA receives most of its revenue from the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship television and marketing rights, as well as championship ticket sales,” the release said. “The revenue is used to provide distributions to member conferences and schools along with funding championships, national programs and other initiatives to support student-athletes.”
The NCAA, which is receiving a majority of the distribution funds through a $270 million event cancellation insurance policy, is informing institutions to plan carefully with less revenue, and to use it to directly support college athletics.
“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, the president of The Ohio State University and the chair of the NCAA Board of Governors. “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 Association has prepared for a financial catastrophic event like the one we face now. 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.”
Through the Equal Conference Fund, $53.6 million of the Division I distribution will be divided equally among “Division I basketball playing conferences that meet athletic and academic standards to play in the men’s basketball tournament.”
According to Sports Illustrated, each of the 32 Division I conferences will receive an average of $1.68 million. Big 12 Conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby said Thursday that the conference is receiving about $14 million less than what they had expected. Each conferences decides how to distribute their money. Schools will save through not having spring seasons, but the savings reportedly won’t offset the revenue losses.
Division II is projected to receive about $30 million less than last year, as the division will receive about $13.9 million — 4.37 percent of actual revenues. Division III will receive about 3.18 percent, projected to be $10.7 million — $22 million less than last year.