Given the recent disparity between men’s and women’s tournaments revealed this month, ESPN and the New York Times asked about NCAA tournament budgets for this season, but NCAA officials said the most recent and available data pertains to the last fully completed championship series, 2018-19 because of the pandemic. The 2020-21 budgets are expected to be similar to those unveiled on Friday.
The NCAA announced Thursday that it has hired a law firm to conduct an independent investigation into gender equality in championships across all three divisions and all sports. Kathleen McNeely, the NCAA’s chief financial officer, told ESPN on Friday that an outside investigation will determine whether budgets are part of the problem, but whether there is a reason for the discrepancy.
They have different budgets, but the difference in budget is due to the size of the two tournaments, McNeely said, … and nuances in the bid, which are more decisions by the committee on how they will run these championships. I’m not saying there can’t be minor issues, but I think there’s a lot of similarity between men’s and women’s basketball tournaments because we’re looking from the perspective of the individual student-athlete, who tends to be the focus of our attention.
According to the NCAA, the championship budget is set and approved each year. The current tournament budgets were set last June, but due to the pandemic, they have been completely changed. The NCAA won’t know the total amount until it’s done, as the cost to create the men’s bubble, including the COVID-19 test, is estimated at $14 million and the women’s bubble at $16 million. McNeely said the NCAA pays about the same amount, about $2 million, just for testing at tournament sites.
The NCAA Board of Governors ultimately approves championship budgets recommended by the Board’s Finance and Audit Committee.
The men’s tournament budget for the 2018-19 season was $28 million and the women’s was $14.5 million, but the NCAA points to significant differences in tournament structure that have lowered the cost for the women’s championship. This year’s women’s tournament, held in San Antonio, is unique in that normally the first and second round games are played on campus and hosted by the higher ranked team. This format was agreed in 2014 to encourage fan interest and participation. In the men’s tournament, the 32 matches of the first and second round will be played on neutral courts; this will incur additional costs. The men’s tournament also features four additional teams and an additional round (First Four).
The NCAA points to cost savings by reducing the cost of these games as the main cause of the budget difference, but in information provided to ESPN, the organization specifically points to a difference of only $7.1 million:
– 2.7 million for travel: Only seven men’s teams made the trip, while 16 women’s teams did not show up for the first and second rounds and another 16 made the trip.
– 1.7 million on a daily basis: According to the NCAA, even in expensive cities, per diems are equal for men and women. Although 16 women’s teams participated in the first two rounds of play, the NCAA has called for savings in food and hotel costs.
– 1.1 million for an additional round: The men’s tournament pays for the First Four, the women’s tournament does not.
– 1.6 million for the property: The Men’s Final Four includes additional seating (and storage fees) to turn the football stadium into a basketball arena. The cost of women’s basketball is generally less than $20,000.
I think it’s important for fans to understand that the guidelines are the same for both the men’s and women’s tournament, McNeely said. They have the same rules regarding the amount of per diem by the schools, they have the exact same travel policy ….. The goal of all of this is to make sure that the experience is great for the student-athletes, that it feels like an experience, and that we give the student-athletes the same opportunities no matter what tournament they play in.
The information provided by the NCAA also shows a stark contrast in total revenue. The men received $917.8 million, including media and ticket revenue, while the women received $15.1 million. Part of the difference can be attributed to the total number of spectators: the men’s basketball tournament attracted 690,000 fans and the women’s 275,000.
The women’s tournament is not the only sport to lose money. The NCAA has 90 leagues in three divisions, and only five of them generate revenue. The money is simply going to waste because the cost of running the league exceeds the revenue, including TV money.
According to the NCAA, men’s basketball pays for almost every other NCAA championship in all but four divisions: Baseball, men’s hockey, men’s lacrosse and men’s wrestling, all in the first division. These championships also generate more revenue than expenses and help cover the costs of other championships. Because the NCAA is a private organization, it is not subject to Title IX rules or Freedom of Information Act requests. NCAA President Mark Emmert could not be reached for comment Friday, but is expected to address the media next week.
frequently asked questions
How much money does a team get for participating in the NCAA tournament?
Under this scenario, $10 million would be provided to the conference over a six-year period. Just by making it to the tournament this year, the conference school is expected to earn $1.67 million over the next six years, divided into annual NCAA payments starting at $260,500 in 2016.
How much does the NCAA tournament cost?
Since the units will be paid out in annual payments over a six-year period, each unit earned during the 2021 tournament will be worth at least $1.68 million in total to conference beneficiaries by the time it is fully paid out in 2027.
How much money did the NCAA make from March Madness 2019?
2019. The NCAA’s revenue was $519 million in 2020, up from $1.18 billion in 2019. The NCAA gets most of its revenue from media compensation, and that’s where it’s been hit the hardest.
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