Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Too many variable to predict NCAA Tournament earnings

March 14, 2002

The more Big Ten teams in the NCAA Tournament, the more money each school receives.

This year’s tournament has five Big Ten teams. And the more each team wins, the more money it will earn for the conference.

For each team a conference sends to the tournament, the NCAA awards it one unit. For each game a team wins, a subsequent unit is awarded.

Teams earn units up to the Final Four. No units are awarded for the championship game. Each unit represents a monetary value.

So in the 2001 NCAA Tournament, the Spartans earned one unit for making the tournament and four additional units for making the Final Four. The Big Ten earned a total of 17 units last year, with MSU collecting five.

Brad Traviolia, associate director for the Big Ten, said the conference has steadily improved.

“In 1996 we only earned seven units,” Traviolia said, “and in 1999 we earned 20.”

MSU has been largely responsible for the increase with three consecutive Final Fours.

Last year the Big Ten netted $4.2 million in units. The money is distributed evenly between each conference school.

“The Big Ten Conference revenue sharing is based on units over the previous six years,” Traviolia said.

Traviolia said the six-year span can complicate yearly budgets.

“The units that are earned this year will not factor into the amount each school receives for 2002,” he said.

Traviolia said the $75 million Division I men’s basketball fund disperses money for more than just units. He said it hands down money from various other elements, such as the CBS television contract.

The total figure the Big Ten received from the fund in 2001 was $7.3 million.

The Spartans took home $1.2 million for their Final Four last year, MSU sports information director John Lewandowski said.

“We take money off the top, before we distribute it,” Traviolia said. “We give those teams additional money to help pay for expenses.”

Dave Byelich, executive director of planning and budgets, said the money cycles back into the athletics budget.

“The department of intercollegiate athletics collects all funds - everything in the budget,” he said. “The department estimates various proceeds from postseason competition. It is then placed in the operating budget and goes to provide additional resources for athletics.”

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