Next month, the NCAA is handing out lots of cash to its members.
College athletics departments will receive amounts ranging from about $165,000 to more than $1.3 million from a one-time supplemental distribution of $200 million the NCAA is making to Division I schools in mid-April, according to a school-by-school distribution report compiled recently by the association.
Under a plan approved a year ago by the NCAA Board of Governors and the Division I Board of Directors, the amounts are based on the number of athletic scholarships the schools provided during the 2013-14 school year. Schools received credit for one scholarship for every set of partial awards that added up to the equivalent of a full scholarship.
This means schools with the largest athletics programs will be getting the greatest shares of this money, which will be restricted to uses that directly benefit athlete academic and welfare initiatives, according to a Q&A document posted on the NCAA’s web site.
In case you’re wondering, Georgia is in line to get a sweet $896,685 check, which is fourth-best in the conference.
There are limitations being placed on how the money can be spent.
Schools will face restrictions on how they can use the money, which is coming from the liquidation of a type of endowment that had grown to more $360 million. The money is to be put toward “the direct benefit of the student-athlete and their academic success, life skills, career success, health and safety and student-athlete focused diversity and inclusion initiatives,” according the Q&A document. The money cannot be used for items such as coaches’ salaries, strength equipment, and stadium or arena improvements aimed at fans.
Of course, there’s nothing stopping a school that’s already spending money on student-athlete benefits from shifting those funds to coaches’ salaries and using the NCAA’s generosity here to fill the gap. Not that anyone would do such a thing, I’m sure.
If that’s not a cynical thought enough for you, how about Jon Solomon’s suggestion as to why the NCAA is throwing money around like this in the first place?
The idea of shedding reserve funds is enough to make a Georgia administrator turn ashen-faced, but Butts-Mehre is probably too preoccupied right now figuring out a way to categorize a rainy day fund as a student-athlete benefit to notice the irony.
Oh, and it wouldn’t be a read story about college athletics funding without a haves/havenots twist, so here you go.
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference commissioner Rich Ensor, whose league includes eight private schools that each awarded less than the equivalent of 100 scholarships 2013-14, said he had no problem with the Ivy schools’ distribution and “we’re happy to have this funding. We appreciate it.”
“Our issue,” Ensor said, “is why is football getting such weight in the formula” for the $200 million distribution. Ensor pointed out that football results in the awarding of many scholarships, and is driving schools’ shares of the distribution, but “no funding goes to the NCAA from football operations” because conferences control TV contracts for football and the bowl system. Nearly all of the NCAA’s revenue comes from its media and marketing rights contract with CBS and Turner for the men’s basketball tournament.
Meanwhile, Ensor said, many of the NCAA’s recent legal problems and settlements are “being driven by football.”
You’re just jealous, Ensor. If you only had your own reserve fund…