Money Madness: AP analysis shows growing gap in NCAA payouts

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — March Madness has been a bonanza for the Ohio Valley Conference.

The league placed two teams in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament for the first time in 32 years. Then Murray State and Belmont both won games, making them darlings for underdog-loving fans everywhere.

The big payoff for the conference’s 12 schools comes over the next six years, a windfall of at least $6.77 million that starts in 2020 with a $1.1 million payment from the NCAA.

The NCAA distributes millions each year to conferences based on teams that make the tournament and win. Last year, the payouts were $216 million.

An AP analysis of more than $3 billion in payments distributed over more than 20 years shows a bigger portion of funds going toward the five most powerful conferences in college sports.

Windfalls like the one the heading toward the Ohio Valley have become tougher to come by.


Associated Press data journalist Larry Fenn contributed to this report.


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