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Financial Impact Of NCAA Tournament Cancelation On BYU, Utah State

Mar 16, 2020, 5:46 PM | Updated: 5:54 pm
A general view as the Virginia Cavaliers celebrate their 85-77 win over the Texas Tech Red Raiders ...
A general view as the Virginia Cavaliers celebrate their 85-77 win over the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the 2019 NCAA men's Final Four National Championship game at U.S. Bank Stadium on April 08, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – The financial impact of no NCAA Tournament is significant for college athletic departments around the country. But the financial losses could be even greater for programs such as BYU and Utah State here locally.

Each NCAA Tournament automatic qualifier, at-large bid, and win for a team equals a “unit” for a conference. Each unit was going to equate to $282,100 during the 2020 tournament and the leagues get that amount over a six-year period. Both BYU and Utah State are in leagues that were going to feature teams that were highly seeded in the NCAA Tournament. So it was likely each team was going to see quite a bit of money from the big dance.

SportsLine.com recently put out a projection of how the NCAA Tournament would have played out this year had it been played and not been canceled due to the Coronavirus outbreak. BYU advanced to the Sweet 16 with Utah State suffering a loss in the first round. But where it gets interesting is where their conference mates advanced.

Financial loss for BYU from no NCAA Tournament

For the WCC, Gonzaga advanced to the National Championship game before losing to Dayton. Saint Mary’s advanced to the round of 32. That’s a total of eight “units” which would equal $3.1 million and you multiply that by six years, it ends up equaling around $18.6 million. Then throw in the fact that the WCC got three teams in the tournament, that’s another $846,300 paid out each year for the next six seasons. That’s another $5 million for a mid-major conference that doesn’t field football.

Most leagues divide up the unit revenue equally, but the WCC gives more to teams that actually participated and won games in the tournament. So it would have been a huge haul for programs such as Gonzaga and BYU.

Money lost for Utah State and the MWC

In the Mountain West Conference, San Diego State advanced to the Elite 8 which is good for three “units” plus the additional two units for getting two teams in the league into the dance. Over the course of six years, that would be around $8.4 million that the MWC lost out on.

Don’t forget the Utes

Even though the Utah Utes weren’t expected to make the NCAA Tournament, the Pac-12 conference would have pulled down 10 units based on SportsLine.com’s NCAA Tournament projection. Per year that would have been an additional $235,000 in revenue for the next six years.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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