March 27, 2013
Advancing in the NCAA basketball tournament brings more than just prestige and excitement for Wichita State University and its athletic conference, the Missouri Valley Conference.
There’s a direct financial gain, too.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association has a “basketball distribution fund” that awards conferences for performance in the tournament. Conferences then have policies for disbursing the money out to member schools.
A conference picks up a “unit” for each game one of its members plays in the tournament. This year, the Missouri Valley Conference will gain at least five units — two for games Creighton University played and three so far for Wichita State University’s games. If WSU advances Thursday, it will be guaranteed a fourth game, and the MVC will pick up another unit.
The conference is paid for a unit annually for six years. The amount varies — it’s $245,541 this year — but Doug Elgin, commissioner of the Missouri Valley Conference, estimates that each game played in the 2013 tournament will ultimately provide the MVC with a $1.6 million payout over the course of six years.
This year, the Missouri Valley Conference is being paid for 13 units — one for each game a conference member played in the NCAA tournament from 2007 to 2012. The conference will receive $245,541 for each unit. That’s a total of about $3.2 million.
Next year, it will be paid for at least 14 units, or more if the Shockers advance further.
WSU sees some of that money. In the year a school is in the tournament, the conference awards that school a half-unit for every weekend played.
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