Points to Consider: The NCAA generates revenue from sources other than media agreements. In most years, rights fees have accounted for about 85 percent of all NCAA revenue. In 2009-10, the media agreements constituted 86 percent of NCAA revenue. Most of the remaining 14 percent in 2009-10 came from championships (mostly ticket sales). MORE »
Let’s get straight to the point: The NCAA’s 14-year, $10.8 billion media agreement with CBS and Turner is a lot of money.
The $10.8 billion figure certainly is top of mind in the sports writing community, where it is often used as a symbol for excesses surrounding college sports.
The reality is that more than 96% of that money – which will be an average of $740 million each year – goes to the NCAA conferences and schools. “We put our money where our mission is,” said Jim Isch, the NCAA’s chief operating officer, “supporting student-athletes so they can be successful in the classroom and in life.”
If you ask most people in intercollegiate athletics what they think about NCAA revenue, few would call it excessive. Most would say it’s a valuable resource that helps fund educational and competition opportunities for student-athletes across the nation.
In fact, every NCAA dollar should go toward its mission, which is “to govern competition in a fair, safe, equitable and sportsmanlike manner and to integrate intercollegiate athletics into higher education so that the educational experience of the student-athlete is paramount.”
Although athletics administrators throughout the Association may value the NCAA money, they may not necessarily understand how it is derived and how it is applied and distributed. The Association never has been secretive about such things – after all, it produces and distributes audited annual financial reports each year – but the information hasn’t been presented to the membership and the public as clearly as it could have been.