The National Collegiate Athletic Association has announced that the Board of Governors has voted unanimously to distribute $225 million in June to Division I member schools to specifically focus on supporting the college athletes. The previous revenue distribution for 2020 was budgeted at about $600 million scheduled to be released in April. Due to all remaining winter and upcoming spring athletic events being canceled and/or postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, plans were altered.
“We are living in unprecedented times not only for higher education, but for the entire nation and around the globe as we face the COVID-19 public health crisis,” said Michael V. Drake, chair of the board and president of The Ohio State University in a written statement. “As an Association, we must acknowledge the uncertainties of our financial situation and continue to make thoughtful and prudent decisions on how we can assist conferences and campuses in supporting student-athletes now and into the future.”
In the decision for the reduction of funds, the Board of Governors stressed the importance of using the distributions to aid college athletes during the uncertainty of the current environment, as well as the importance of planning carefully with less revenue. The decision also allows the membership to engage in planning while the NCAA continues to work with its contractual partners.
The NCAA stated that of the $225 million distribution planned for the schools, $50 million will come from NCAA reserves. The NCAA also has a cancellation insurance policy that is worth $270 million and the proceeds when received will be used to pay off a line of credit that will cover the remaining distribution within 12 months.
“The Association has prepared for a financial catastrophic event like the one we face now,” Drake said. “While we certainly have challenges ahead, we would be in a far worse position had it not been for this long-standing, forward-focused planning.”
For this year’s Division I distribution, $53.6 million will go through the Equal Conference Fund, which is split equally among the Division I basketball-playing conferences that meet the athletic and academic standards to participate in the men’s basketball tournament. The rest will be proportionally distributed through the remainder of all other available funds. The funds will be unrestricted to provide latitude to conferences.
“Our priority is to ensure that we are able to support student-athletes and continue to provide opportunity as broadly as possible,” said Division I board chair Eli Capilouto, president at Kentucky.