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Investing where it matters

The value of the collegiate athletics experience is something you can’t put a price on. College sports provide opportunities for student-athletes to grow, develop leadership skills, get involved in their communities, and most importantly, earn a degree.

Of more than 1,100 NCAA member colleges and universities, only 20 schools make more money than they spend on sports each year. For the rest, resources from the NCAA help schools fund $2.7 billion in athletic scholarships every year, second only to the federal government.

The NCAA and its members are committed to providing opportunities for student-athletes to compete in college while pursuing their educations.

In short, we put our money where our mission is.

Student-Athlete Profiles

Meet some of the student-athletes who have benefited from NCAA revenue. They are succeeding on the field, in classroom and in life:


Gabe Olaseni

In November 2014, University of Iowa men’s basketball player Gabe Olaseni tragically lost his father to a brief illness. Through the Student Assistance Fund, Iowa was able to pay for Olaseni to fly home to London, England, to attend his father’s funeral service and spend time with his family. Olaseni went on to have a successful year and was named Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year.


Elizabeth Tucker

Elizabeth Tucker graduated from Notre Dame with a perfect 4.0 GPA and a national championship with Notre Dame’s women’s soccer team. In honor of her leadership, community service, strong academics and athletics success, she was named the NCAA Woman of the Year in October 2014. The event is supported through funds designed for student-athlete services.


Lauren Fleshman

Professional runner and cofounder of Picky Bars, Lauren Fleshman is a former scholarship student-athlete at Stanford where she was a 5-time NCAA Champion. She credits her “nerdy Stanford background in science and athletic performance” in helping her create the perfect gluten- and dairy-free energy bar that athletes everywhere enjoy.


Arizona State football players

The summer before the 2014 college football season, the Arizona State University Sun Devils offered five walk-on athletes full scholarships. Chip Sarafin, Fred Gammage, Jordan Simone, Jason Franklin and Brandon Mathews were informed at a team meeting, after putting in hard work on the gridiron and in the classroom. Here’s the emotional moment they learned about their scholarships.


University of South Florida Student-Athletes

The University of South Florida provides its student-athletes with access to Mac laptops, allowing student-athletes to work on course assignments at any time and in any location.  This initiative was made possible by an allocation from the NCAA Academic Enhancement Fund, along with the Bulls Club annual auction and a grant from the Verizon Foundation.

So where does the money go?

$199.2 million

Sports sponsorship and scholarship funds

Distributed to all Division I schools to help fund NCAA sports and provide scholarships for college athletes. Each school’s distribution is determined based on how many sports it sponsors and how many scholarships it provides.

$199.2 million

Basketball fund

Distributed to Division I conferences and independent schools based on performance in the men’s basketball tournament over a six-year rolling period. One unit is awarded for each school participating in each game, except the championship game, over the same six-year period. The conferences distribute the funds among their members based on their specific revenue-sharing programs.

$93.8 million

Division I championships

Resources allocated to Division I championships are intended to provide the best possible championship experiences for student-athletes and include support for team travel, food and lodging.

$77.8 million

Student assistance fund

Intended to help Division I student-athletes with needs that may arise during their time in college like family emergencies; clothing and essentials; academic supplies; and medical costs not covered by another insurance program. It also can be used for educational purposes, such as enrolling in summer school.

$25.8 million

Academic enhancement fund

Distributed to enhance academic-support programs for student-athletes at Division I schools. The common uses include tutoring services, equipment (such as laptops or tablets) and supplies.

$64 million

Divisions II and III allocations

Funds allocated to Divisions II and III to support championships, grants, student-athlete services and programs.

$54.8 million

Other Division I distributions

Approved by the NCAA Board of Governors and distributed to Division I schools after NCAA revenue exceeded expenses the prior fiscal year, providing additional dollars to support student-athletes.

$9 million

Division I conference grants

Distributed to Division I conferences to enhance programs related to officiating, compliance, minority opportunities and more.

$64.7 million

Student-athlete services

Includes funding for catastrophic injury insurance, drug testing and leadership development. This also funds several NCAA scholarships, including postgraduate scholarships for former student-athletes pursuing master’s degrees or doctorates. In addition, money from this fund supports the NCAA Honors Ceremony and the Woman of the Year award.

$39.5 million

Membership support services

NCAA rules are proposed and approved by member schools, and the NCAA dedicates significant resources to support the governance process – including committees and the NCAA Convention – in addition to training for campuses and national office support.

$3.5 million

Educational services

The NCAA offers training and educational services to members and student-athletes, including the Women’s Coaches Academy, the Pathway Program and the Emerging Leaders Seminar.

$43.9 million

Other Association-wide expenses

Includes support for Association-wide legal services, communications and business insurance.

$44.8 million

General and administration expenses

Funds the day-to-day operations of the NCAA national office, including administrative and financial services, information technology and facilities management.

[Actual numbers from the 2014-15 fiscal year]