SBD/October 16, 2012/Colleges

Report: NCAA Assets Exceed $500M, Endowment Fund Grows Past $260M

The NCAA “likely has more than $500 million in net assets,” including among its unrestricted assets “an endowment fund of more than $260 million, more than double where it stood six years ago,” according to Steve Berkowitz of USA TODAY. The fund has been “designated as a quasi-endowment, which means the money is intended to be retained and invested, but unlike a permanent endowment, its principal can be spent.” The NCAA had “at least $860 million in revenue during its 2012 fiscal year.” More than "three-fourths of that revenue” came from the Division I men’s basketball tournament multimedia rights deal with CBS and Turner which "provided $666 million in 2012.” However, the association's expenses “are less clear.” NCAA Public & Media Relations Dir Erik Christianson wrote in an e-mail that expenses “likely exceeded $800 million, with $503 million being distributed to Division I schools and conferences, an all-time high.” Berkowitz notes the NCAA's financial performance “comes against the backdrop of an ongoing and now-litigious battle over the benefits college athletes ... should receive for playing.” The records show that “another $18.8 million came from the NCAA's contract with ESPN for the rights to the Division I women's basketball tournament and other NCAA championships.” Christianson said that those contracts "accounted for around 80% of the association's revenue.” In fiscal ‘12, the NCAA “planned to distribute $467 million.” But because of its financial performance in ‘11, NCAA Finance & Operations Managing Dir Keith Martin said that the organization was “able to send another $36 million” to its Division I members. Berkowitz notes the NCAA's endowment “could be an important cushion in the face of a federal anti-trust lawsuit that was filed in May 2009 and now is set for trial in 2014” (USA TODAY, 10/16).
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