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Finances of Intercollegiate Athletics

The NCAA’s financial research focuses on what it costs to sponsor intercollegiate athletics at the Divisions I, II and III levels. All reports are the result of the NCAA/EADA (Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act) financial reporting system that institutions submit every winter to the NCAA.

Why is research on finances important? Primarily, it provides tangible benchmarks for institutions to maintain a competitive athletics program within their institutional budgets. Because very few institutions (about two dozen, all in the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision) generate revenues over expenses in a given year, it is critical for institutions to know what they’ll need to allocate from their institutional budgets to offer a competitive and rewarding experience for their student-athletes.

Knowing the financial lay of the land in athletics also helps institutions choose the right divisional fit for their program. Institutions considering a reclassification from one division to another need to be aware of the real costs of doing so. The NCAA’s comprehensive financial research over the years has provided a “dashboard indicators” model that allows college and university presidents to gauge their athletics expenditures with like-minded institutions in their conference or region, or perhaps in a conference the institution is thinking about joining.