About Finance

Sixty percent of NCAA revenue is distributed directly to Division I conferences, which pass most of that money along to their member institutions to support their athletics programs. Another major use of NCAA revenue is the support of 89 national championships in 23 sports, including coverage of travel expenses for all participants. Other student-athlete benefits include catastrophic-injury insurance coverage for all student-athletes; year-round and championship drug-testing programs; and various scholarship programs, among others.


Frequently Asked Questions

How does the Academic Enhancement Fund work?

2010-11 total: $24.6 million.

Purpose: The fund enhances academic-support programs at Division I member institutions. Common uses include tutorial services, equipment, supplies and additional personnel.

How the fund is determined: A base amount is awarded for each Division I member institution.

How does the Basketball Fund work?

2010-11 total: $202 million.

Purpose: The fund rewards long-term performance in the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.

How the fund is determined: Values are assigned to units that are awarded for each stage of the championship to which a conference’s teams advance. Payments are based on a rolling six-year average rather than a single year to lessen the financial pressure on any individual institution to advance in the tournament.

How does the Grants-in-Aid Fund work?

2010-11 total: $134.7 million.

Purpose: This fund promotes financial aid for education by awarding more dollars to schools with the most grants-in-aid.

How the fund is determined: The fund pays based on the institution’s number of full-time grants-in-aid equivalencies, beginning with one grant and progressing in units of 50. All grants awarded above 150 are valued at the same amount.

How does the Student Assistance Fund work?

2010-11 total: $66.1 million.

Purpose: This is a combination of the Student-Athlete Opportunity ($51 million) and Special Assistance ($15.1 million) Funds. The purpose is to assist student-athletes with special financial needs. Most of this money is used for educational purposes, with some also going for needs such as clothing.

How the fund is determined: The fund is based on grants-in-aid and sports sponsorship from the previous year.

How does the Sports Sponsorship Fund work?

2010-11 total: $67.3 million.

Purpose: This fund encourages institutions that sponsor and support nonrevenue sports.

How the fund is determined: The fund is based on the number of sports an institution sponsors.

How do member institutions use the money they receive from the Division I Revenue-Distribution Plan?

In general, they may use the money as they choose. If the use of the money reflects the overall expenses of a Division I Football Bowl Subdivision program, about 33 percent will go to salaries and benefits. Grants-in-aid expenses are next at 17 percent, followed by facility costs at 10 percent. Team travel is next at 8 percent. All other expenses are less than 5 percent.

Each year, about 60 percent of all NCAA revenue is returned directly to the Division I conferences and member institutions. For the 2011-12 fiscal year, that figure was $503 million (62 percent).

Division I members have received about 60 percent of all NCAA revenue since the 1970s. However, until 1991, money from NCAA championships was distributed among competing teams after expenses were paid. By the end of the 1980s, though, the amount of money surrounding the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship had grown so large that it was difficult to ignore the financial benefits that came to teams advancing in the tournament.

Ultimately, Division I approved a plan that:

  • Reduced monetary awards for performance in a particular event in a particular year.
  • Promoted Division I tenets such as athletically related financial aid and broad-based sports sponsorship.
  • Enhanced academic performance.
  • Provided more financial assistance for student-athletes in need.

Each year, money for the Division I Revenue-Distribution Plan is allocated among five funds: Academic Enhancement, Basketball, Grant-in-Aid, Student Assistance and Sports Sponsorship.

Last Updated: Dec 26, 2013