NCAA Revenues Top $1 Billion For First Time

According to an audited financial statement released by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the association surpassed $1 billion in annual revenue during its 2017 fiscal year. The amount is a 6.6 percent jump from fiscal 2016, when the company reported $996 million in revenue. The NCAA reported a $105 million profit for the fiscal year.

It is the first time the association crossed the $1 billion threshold. It came close in two of its past three fiscal years. Last year, a $200 million one-time distribution to Division I members and a $209 million lawsuit settlement of a brought on behalf of tens of thousands of college athletes weighed down results.

Slightly less than half of the growth from 2016 came from the NCAA’s sale of its interest in a company called ArbiterSports LLC, which helps athletics departments and sports leagues with a variety of back-end management tasks. The rest of the gain came from investment income, revenue from championship events, and increases in TV and marketing fees. The NCAA recorded slightly more than $956 million in expenses in fiscal 2017, which included $560.3 million in distributions to Division I members.

The association is currently facing a scandal involving college basketball players allegedly being provided impermissible benefits and preferential treatment. Teams from Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky and Michigan State were caught up in the scandal. Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim announced the arrest of 10 individuals in the case in September following an FBI investigation. Coaches, managers, financial advisers, and representatives of sportswear companies were among those arrested.

The scandal has renewed calls for the NCAA to pay student-athletes. Under its business model, some university athletic departments make more than $100 million annually while student-athletes are compensated solely with scholarships. Critics of the association say that paying the student-athletes would level the playing field and reduce the allure of under-the-table payments. NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a recent interview that he doesn’t believe member schools are interested in paying athletes directly.

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