One team’s still standing. For everyone else, there’s nothing left but the counting and the spending.
The Hotline has the counting covered. It’s all laid out below, down to the last cent.
Somehow, some way, the schools will take care of the spending.
Let’s start with the bottom line … or in this case, the top line: The revenue.
The 2021 men’s NCAA tournament has been the most lucrative in Pac-12 history and, according to our research, the second most-profitable any conference has ever experienced.
Quickly, the background on the distribution process:
• The NCAA receives approximately $800 million annually for the television rights to the tournament.
• The majority of the cash is funneled to schools across multiple NCAA divisions through an assortment of funds.
• One of those is the Basketball Performance Fund, which allocates dollars based on success in the tournament.
• Each game played is worth one unit to that team’s conference.
• The units are pooled and carried forward for six years.
• Each unit has a dollar value, which increases every year of the payout cycle.
Now, the real-world application …
The Pac-12 will finish the 2021 tournament with a record 19 units, which will be worth almost $40 million to the league over time.
Yes, UCLA is still playing, but the accrual process is complete.
The Bruins have maxed out with six units earned: First Four, first round, second round, Sweet 16, Eight Elite and Final Four.
There are no units awarded for playing in the championship.
In addition to UCLA’s six units:
— USC and Oregon State each earned four for reaching the Elite Eight
— Oregon collected three for the Sweet 16 appearance
— Colorado earned two for reaching the second round
(Oregon received a unit from the VCU game even though it was declared a no contest.)
That’s 19 total units for the conference, breaking the previous record of 17 set in 2001.
The units will be carried for six years at the following payout amounts (figures provided to the Hotline by the NCAA):
2022: $338,211 (per unit)
(The amount drops in ’27 because the 2020 tournament, for which there were zero units awarded, is removed from the payout cycle; that increases the total number of units in the pool and reduces the value of each unit, according to the NCAA.)
Add it up, and each unit earned this month is worth $2,034,061 over the six years.
Multiply $2,034,061 by 19 units, and the Pac-12 will receive a grand total of $38,647,159 for its collective performance.
The money is split evenly among the schools, leaving each athletic department with $3.22 million over the payout period.
That’s enough to pay a basketball coach, and some football coaches, for a year.
It’s also enough for the conference to cover the buyout on commissioner Larry Scott’s contract (about $5 million) and sign his successor to a five-year deal at $3 million annually … and still have $18 million left over.
All for two weeks of work.
Based on Hotline research, the Pac-12’s cash haul from the 2021 tournament is the second-largest amount ever earned by a conference.
In 2016, the ACC placed seven teams in the field and earned 25 units.
The units weren’t as valuable, but the ridiculous quantity generated $39.8 million for the conference over the payout cycle.
The Pac-12 is only $1 million behind.
Not bad for a bunch of underdogs.
The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.