Cal Basketball: Schools' Funding Affected by Cancellation of NCAA Tournament

Cal athletic director Jim KnowltonPhoto by Kelley L. Cox - USA TODAY Sports

Jake Curtis

Even though Cal was unlikely to get into this year's NCAA basketball tournament, the Bears' athletic department will feel the finanical effects of the cancellation of that event.

We are frequently being reminded that the Bears had not been eliminated from NCAA tournament contention when all sports were shutdown because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The Bears had beaten Stanford in the opening round of the Pac-12 tournament and were scheduled to face UCLA in the second round when play was halted. The winner of the conference tournament automatically gets a berth in the NCAA tournament, so technically Cal was still in the running for a national championship.

Be that as it may, having no NCAA tournament means a signficant loss of funds..

The NCAA Board of Governors voted to give $225 million to member schools, a considerable decrease from the anticipated $600 million, according to a story by Sports Illustrated.

The NCAA men's basketball tournament is the biggest money-maker, and the cancellation fo that event, as well as other winter and spring sports, has led to the decrease in revenue.

A sum of $53.6 million (of the $225 million) is divded among the 32 Division I basketball conferences, giving each conference about $1.68 million.

The conferences then decide how that money is distributed among its member schools.

In the Pac-12, funds are distributed equally to the conference’s 12 member institutions after permissible expenses are considered. So 12 equal payments are made to the 12 schools.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby told that the NCAA revenue distribution to his conference will be about $14 million less that what had been anticipated.

The remaining money is distributed to a wide variety of funds, such as scholarships, sponsorships, membership, education programs, grants, administration, Division II schools, etc.

Conferences may also lose money from the cancellation of their conference tournaments, although expenses that would have been incurred during the NAA tournament will be saved.

It remains to be seem how deeply college sports' finances will be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. If the 2020 college football season is canceled or modified, the effect could be signficant.

In the video below, Cal basketball coach Mark Fox talks about the motivation for the 2019-20 season.