Memphis' Basketball Tourney Credits Eliminate $6.6M Conference USA Exit Fee
Conference USA and Memphis this summer reached a settlement by which the school’s "total cost of separation from its old league is ... $0," according to Kyle Veazey of the Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL. When Memphis accepted its invitation to the American Athletic Conference 21 months ago, the potential of a $6.6M exit fee from C-USA and a $2.5M entry fee into the AAC was "a footnote." Memphis in its settlement with C-USA was "able to apply NCAA basketball tournament credits, the amounts the NCAA pays conferences for their members’ performance in the event," to its bill. Memphis "could actually make money from its settlement with C-USA." Any men’s basketball game Memphis "plays at a C-USA school -- or on a neutral site, if the C-USA school owns the rights to broadcast it" beginning next season and through '18-19 will "be worth half an NCAA tournament share directly to the Tigers, up to a maximum of two a season." Memphis AD Tom Bowen said he is doubtful the school will do this in '14-15, but added, "At some point, it's an option." Memphis "remains on the hook" for its $2.5M entry fee to the AAC, "even though it was originally supposed to go to the Big East," before that conference split. The school is paying this by "forfeiting $500,000 of their annual revenue distribution from the AAC for the next five years." Bowen said that he "isn’t sure how much to expect from the AAC in revenue sharing, calling that figure still a 'moving target.'" A clean exit from C-USA is "a boon" to an athletic department operating on a $36.5M budget "that's essentially the same as the year prior" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 11/11).