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Where the money goes

Behind the Blue Disk


More than 90 percent of the NCAA’s revenue goes to support student-athletes

Student-athletes benefit from NCAA programs supporting leadership opportunities, internships, degree completion and postgraduate scholarships. In short, we put our money where our mission is.

How can the NCAA be a nonprofit organization when it generates so much revenue?

The NCAA is an association of colleges and universities sharing a common academic mission. Every year, the NCAA and its members equip more than 460,000 student-athletes with skills to succeed on the playing field, in the classroom and throughout life.

Where does the NCAA’s revenue come from?

Television and marketing rights fees, mostly from the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, generate 90 percent of revenues. Championship ticket sales provide most of the remaining revenue. Current revenues total approximately $800 million annually.

How are NCAA funds distributed?

More than 90 percent of the NCAA’s revenue supports student-athletes through a variety of programs, including the following:

Scholarships: The NCAA helps member schools award more than $2.7 billion in athletics scholarships every year to more than 150,000 student-athletes, making the Association second only to the federal government in funding college education.

Championships: The NCAA spends $129 million every year on 89 championships in 23 sports.

Student Assistance Fund: The NCAA provides $73.5 million every year to help Division I student-athletes with essential needs such as family emergencies, clothing, academic supplies and medical costs not covered by other insurance programs.

Academic Enhancement Fund: The NCAA spends more than $25 million a year to enhance academic-support programs for student-athletes at Division I schools. Campuses commonly use the funds to provide tutoring services, computer equipment and academic supplies.

Student-Athlete Services: The NCAA invests more than $57 million each year in a variety of areas including health and safety, catastrophic injury insurance, drug testing, and leadership development. This money also funds several NCAA scholarships, including postgraduate scholarships for former student-athletes pursuing master’s degrees, doctorates or other advanced degrees.

What are the NCAA’s operating expenses?

With more than 90 percent of NCAA revenue supporting student-athletes, the remainder is used to administer day-to-day operations of the Association. This includes the costs of running the national office and supporting its 500 employees, who:

  • administer 89 championships
  • maintain a governance structure sustaining approximately 1,100 member schools
  • provide educational services to coaches, athletics administrators and student-athletes
  • manage financial systems for the membership.

How does the NCAA support student-athlete well-being?

The NCAA sponsors a number of health and safety initiatives, including:

  • a program that collects and analyses injury incidence data in order to help create safer competition
  • championship and year-round drug testing that helps protect student-athletes and ensure fair play
  • grants that promote health and safety research as well as the prevention of alcohol and drug abuse on college campuses

How much does it cost to produce 89 national championships every year?

More than 54,000 student-athletes experience the thrill of participating in an NCAA championship every year. The

NCAA’s championship expenses support:

  • essential operations at more than 800 sites
  • team transportation
  • per diem costs
  • sport committee expenses
  • fan-appreciation events
  • programs saluting student-athletes

Each year, the NCAA spends:

  • $85 million on Division I championships
  • $23 million on Division II championships
  • $21 million on Division III championships


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