The NCAA on Thursday passed a policy that will financially reward colleges and universities that meet academic expectations for sports teams and athletes. It’ll be the first time member schools will receive a portion of Division I revenue based on the academic achievements of student-athletes, thanks to the NCAA’s multimedia rights contract with CBS/Turner.
Schools with higher graduation rates and academic success can qualify for more funds under the new model.
The policy will be effective starting in the 2019-20 academic year.
The current revenue distribution formula awards about 40 percent of the annual $550 million payout for the NCAA tournament based on the success of men’s basketball teams in the national tournament.
The new policy will, for the first six years of its distribution, award conferences with media revenue from the tournament to distribute among member schools based on how their teams meet academic criteria.
In 2016-17, 62 percent of the Division I distribution will go to student-athlete support and academic achievement. By 2024-25, that number will increase to 76 percent.
“This landmark change benefits schools at which student-athletes succeeded academically and graduate,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a release. “The creation of an academic distribution unit underscores the NCAA’s commitment to putting money where its mission is – with students.”
According to an NCAA’s press release, schools can earn a single academic achievement unit based on whether student-athletes meet one of the following:
▪ Earn an overall, single year, all-sport academic progress rate of 985 or higher.
▪ Earn an overall all-sport graduation success rate of 90 percent or higher.
▪ Earn a federal graduation rate that’s at least 13 percentage points higher than the federal graduation rate of the student body at that school.
The Knight Commission, which seeks to strengthen educational missions of college sports, applauded the policy.
On Monday, the commission urged the NCAA to adopt policies to both give student-athletes more free time and grant financial rewards to athletic departments that meet academic goals.
“It’s especially gratifying, in my final months on the commission, to see the NCAA take this game-changing step to place a higher value on education in college athletics,” said commission chairman Brit Kirwan in a release. He is retiring at the end of the year.
The money will be given to conferences with no restrictions on how it’s spent.
Jessika Morgan: 919-829-4538, @JessikaMorgan