I’ve read Death to the BCS and odds are as a lover of College Football so have you. If you haven’t though, the thrust of the book is about how deciding a National Champion is more effective using a playoff system, would provide a better payout for the schools and minimize corruption of college athletes. So it totally would? Right you guys? College football playoff solves world hunger, yes? Well, for comparison’s sake, we should at least have a gander at the Premier College Sports Playoff solution of College Basketball, right?
So What Kind of Deal Did College Basketball Get?
Well back in April of 2010, the NCAA signed a deal with Ted Turner and CBS valued at 14 years and 11 Billion dollars. On average this works out to roughly $777 million dollars a year with two percent inflation each year. Unfortunately, the most transparent data comes with the end of the 2010 season which was the last year of a deal with CBS that paid out approximately $500 million dollars annually. In 2010 of the $500 million dollars earned approximately $180.5 million was distributed to teams who had participated in the NCAA tournament from 2005-2010. In 2010, for each game a conference appeared in during that five year span, they received $240,000 dollars. The conferences are free to distribute the money by socialism, the per game basis or Battle Royale, whatever they see fit. Some conferences take their check, split it 12 ways and mail it out. Others give huge amounts to one team to try and keep them in conference, such as Butler.
To say the money was kept by the NCAA is overly simplistic. The moneys kept by the NCAA are redistributed according to another pie chart! I like Pie!
So What Kind of Deal Did College Football Get?
According to Death to the BCS, for the 2010-2011 Bowl Season the Annual Take of the College Football Bowl System was approximately $275 Million Dollars, $95 million of which gets sucked up into exorbitant travel costs, corruption, coke and hookers, etc. This leaves a collective profit of $180 million dollars, 100 percent of which gets distributed directly back to the conferences that play in the Bowl Games. Conferences can distribute again by craps game, communism, whatever.
The interesting twist to the current bowl system is that whatever your conference makes after it’s payoff, it keeps. So, the remaining $180 Million dollars distributed after $95 Million dollar Small Print looks like this.
Well the net payout to conferences for participating in post season action is essentially the same between the two sports with football earning 180 Million after costs and basketball earning 180.5 Million after costs. Interestingly, the number of teams participating annually is nearly the same with 68 now for basketball, previously 64 and approximately 70 for football depending on which bowls fold and which new ones start annually. Since the profits are split among 11 conferences and Notre Dame(GRRR) in college football and 31 conferences in College Basketball, the per conference payout is higher in College Football.
Where basketball absolutely kicks football’s ass though is in altruism. Of the kept money by the NCAA, almost 195 million dollars goes right back into the pocket of Division I schools. This helps pay for non-revenue sports at the discretion of each individual athletic department. In football all money either gets directed to the bowl owners or the conferences. So in a way this is more efficient because it eliminates the NCAA as a passthrough. Teams in power conferences get more money and thus can decide how they want to spend it.
College Basketball’s model also has the benefit of eliminating the risk of your fanbase not showing up for games. Since a conference is paid based on a per appearance basis, whether or not a school’s fans show up has no bearing on that school’s take home pay. Also, there are rumors of an 82000 dollar travel stipend from WikiAnswers, so like, Caveat Emptor. Also, by basing payout over a five-year span College Basketball the “temperature taking” of a conference’s contribution is more accurate.
So Is The College Basketball Model Better?
Yes, it is. At the end of the day, more coin goes into your team’s pocket than it does under the NCAA football model and the risk of having crappy postseason turnout is effectively mitigated. If NCAA football was bringing in $750 Million a year instead of $295 Million then it becomes more of a philosophical debate as to whether the big swinging cheese of College Football should stay that way or if we’d want to see the parity of well-funded Mid-Majors start to creep in. I didn’t write this post as a method to say that the Bowl System works, it doesn’t, but I couldn’t find anything in the googles that effectively compared the two playoff systems.