MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This year, the NCAA will bring in more than $1 billion from the March Madness tournament.

It’s by far their biggest source of revenue and is split several different ways. Chief among them is Division I schools.

So, how much money do schools get from the NCAA tournament? Good Question.

According to Bloomberg, the 2019 NCAA men’s basketball tournament will bring in $38 million to the Big 10, $36 million to the ACC, $34 million to the SEC and $23 million to the Big 12.

The formula for what gets what is somewhat complicated.

“There’s a large pot of money that the NCAA dedicates to the tournament,” says Steve Ross, a professor of sports economics at Concordia University.

This year, that pot is $222 million. About a quarter is split equally among the 32 D1 conferences. The rest of it, the Basketball Performance Fund, is distributed based on how far each team advances.

The Basketball Performance Fund is divided into units, with each unit worth $280,000. Each game a school plays in is considered a unit. That unit is then paid out every year for the next six years.

For example, the University of Minnesota played in two games this tournament – that’s $280,000 x 2. Multiply that by six and that means the U of M itself will bring in $3.4 million.

That money, though, doesn’t go directly to the school, but rather to the conference.

“Then that would be shared equally among the schools. That would be paid out over a six-year period,” says Ross. The NCAA doesn’t require equal distribution, but recommends it.

Schools then choose what they want to do with the money. Some might choose to spread it out over other sports or pay for facilities, coaches’ salaries or scholarships.

Heather Brown

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