How Much Money Does the NCAA Make?

The NCAA makes about $1 billion per year. College athletics as a whole pulls in about $12 billion annually. NCAA money comes mostly from TV and marketing and makes up less than 10% of all college athletics money. The rest comes from school ticket sales and student fees, which account for an astounding $11 billion every year.

96% of all NCAA money gets distributed to member schools or spent on championships. The schools use that money to fund athletics programs and pay staff and coaches. A big chunk of the money is used to build and maintain stadiums and sports facilities and buy sports equipment.

NCAA Money Made by Year

The table below lists data on how much money the NCAA made each year since 2006. The NCAA has made an average of $814 million in the past ten years. During that time, the association’s take has almost doubled. The 2012 and 2015 numbers are estimates based on the overall trend. The data itself comes straight from the NCAA website (Click here to view).

Most of the money comes from deals with major TV networks and marketing licenses. About 17% of the money is used to pay coach salaries. Players get $0, but there’s a grain of truth to the idea that they are compensated in other ways.

NCAA Money Made by Year
NCAA money made 2006-07$621,800,000
NCAA money made 2007-08$636,300,000
NCAA money made 2008-09$701,900,000
NCAA money made 2009-10$749,800,000
NCAA money made 2010-11$845,900,000
NCAA money made 2011-12 (estimate)$858,750,000
NCAA money made 2012-13$871,600,000
NCAA money made 2013-14$989,000,000
NCAA money made 2014-2015 (estimate based on past growth)$1,057,901,598

NCAA Money Made by Year

How Much Money Do NCAA Players Make?

How Much Money Does the NCAA Make?NCAA players make $0. Nothing. Zilch. That seems unfair to many in a multi billion dollar industry. The NBA makes annual revenue of about $5 billion and pays typical salaries of $2.5 million, with some players like Kobe Bryant and Joe Johnson making as much as $25 million a year.

Folding in all NCAA money with other sports money earned by NCAA schools’ athletics departments gives a revenue of $12 billion per year. Assuming basketball accounts for something like 25% of that, that makes college basketball a $3 billion dollar industry compared to the NBA’s $5 billion.

NCAA players do get some perks. Scholarships are a big bonus. The use of athletic equipment, fitness centers and facilities and paid trainers is another. All together, it’s been estimated that college athletes get non monetary benefits of about $50,000 to $130,000 per year. But NBA stars get those perks too, on top of salaries in the millions.

Also see: How Much Money Does an NBA Player Make?

NCAA Money Facts

The table below shows the top line NCAA money facts. The NCAA has made an average of $814 million a year since 2006. 81% of that money comes from TV deals and marketing rights. Another $11 billion in college sports money flows in from ticket sales, merchandise and student sports fees. That makes a $12 billion annual purse for college sports.

96% of all NCAA money gets distributed to member schools. The schools use the money to build stadiums, fund athletic programs and pay coach salaries. In 2015 the highest paid NCAA basketball coach was Kentucky’s John Caliparie with $6.3 million. The average NCAA coach makes $1.64 million.

How Much Money Does the NCAA Make? (Facts)
Average NCAA money earned per year since 2006$814,772,400
Biggest source of NCAA moneyTV and marketing rights (81%)
Other big sources of college athletics moneyTicket sales and merchandise ($6.1 billion/yr) and student fees ($5.3 billion/yr)
Total college athletics money per year from the NCAA, ticket sales and student fees$12.4 billion
Who pays for college stadiums?The schools, the NCAA, private donors and corporate sponsors.
Who is the highest paid NCAA basketball coach?John Calipari of Kentucky ($6.3 million)
What is the average NCAA coach salary?$1.64 million
How much money do all NCAA coaches earn (estimate based on average pay and total number of coaches)$2.2 billion
NCAA coach money as a percentage of all college athletics money17%
Where does NCAA money go?96% goes to NCAA member schools to pay for athletics programs, coaches, staff, stadiums and equipment.

Also see: How Much Money Do NFL Players Make?

Where Does the NCAA’s Money Come From?

The NCAA gets most of its money from TV and marketing rights. In 2014 the NCAA made $989 million. $801 million of that came from marketing deals and TV. According to the NCAA, the association has several multi billion dollar deals with CBS. The deals have grown exponentially in recent years.

In 1982, the NCAA signed a three year, $50 million contract with CBS. They renewed that contract in 1985 for $95 million. The deal reached $166 million in 1988. In 1991 the NCAA and CBS signed a seven year deal for $1 billion. By 2002 that deal had swelled to 11 years and $6 billion and by 2010 to 14 years and $11 billion dollars.

About 11% of the NCAA’s money comes from ticket and merchandise sales at championship games. Another 4% comes from investments and the final 4% from “other” sources.

NCAA Money Sources
Percentage of NCAA Revenue
NCAA Money Per Year
TV and marketing rights81%$801,090,000
Championships (tickets and merchandise)11%$108,790,000
Other (Donations, services, development)4%$39,560,000
*Based on 2014 data

NCAA Money Made from Sources

Total College Sports Money

The figure of $1 billion is often thrown around to describe the size of college sports as an industry. But that $1 billion is just the NCAA’s cut. By far the biggest chunk of college athletics money is taken in by the schools. By the NCAA’s estimate, its member schools make about $6 billion from ticket sales and merchandise sales to regular season games. They also rake in an eye-popping $5 billion from “student fees associated with school athletic programs.” With all the uproar over rising tuition costs, an argument could be made that universities are balancing their sports budgets on the backs of students.

All in all, college sports is not a billion dollar industry. Adding NCAA money to school ticket money and student athletic fee money, it’s a $12.4 billion dollar industry.

College Sports Money
NCAA money earned per year (basketball percentage)$989,000,000
Money earned by colleges for basketball from ticket sales and merchandise$6,100,000,000
Money earned by colleges for basketball from student fees$5,300,000,000
Total Yearly College Athletics Money$12,389,000,000

Also see: How Much Are You Worth Compared to an NBA Player?

Who Pays for NCAA Stadiums?

NCAA Stadium MoneyThere has been some uproar in the media about sports stadiums being bought with public money.  While that may be true of pro sports arenas, it doesn’t seem to be the case with the NCAA. College stadiums, by and large, aren’t paid for with public funds. They are instead often financed through sales of bonds. These bonds give schools low interest rates, but the money is still borrowed and has to be paid back.

Generally, NCAA stadiums paid for with bonds are “rented” by the school’s athletic department. The athletic department can pay the rent in a variety of ways. The most common is to use NCAA money or school ticket sale money to finance the rent. Another way is to sell corporate sponsorships. For example, Louisville sold the naming rights for its basketball arena and football stadium to KFC for $13.5 million for ten years. Stadiums can also be paid for by private donations. The University of Maine’s Alfond Ice Arena was largely paid for by a lump sum donation by Harold Alfond, owner of Dexter Shoe and one time part owner of the Boston Red Sox.

Who Pays for College Stadiums?
College stadiums are not paid for with public money.
NCAA stadiums are often financed by bonds.
The stadiums are then rented to the college athletic department.
NCAA money and ticket sales pay for the rent.
Corporate naming rights are sometimes sold.
Sometimes donations pay for college stadiums.

Also see: NBA Salary

How Much Money Do NCAA Coaches Make?

NCAA coaches make an average of $1.64 million a year. How much of the total NCAA money does that add up to? We don’t have exact figures, but we can do a little estimating. There are 351 NCAA football coaches. Assuming a similar number of baseball and football coaches gives a round figure of about 1,000 NCAA coaches. Adding in a bit for less popular and lower paying NCAA coaching jobs like bowling, rowing and volleyball, we can estimate that the sum of all NCAA coaches make about $2.1 billion per year. That’s about 17% of all NCAA money.

Top 10 Highest Paid NCAA Coaches

The ten highest paid NCAA basketball coaches are listed in the table below. These coaches make $3 million to $6.4 million per year. The list was put together by USA Today. The highest paid NBA coaches make between $5 million and $11 million a year. From that data, the pay to coach an NBA team vs an NCAA team isn’t all that different.

How Much Money Do NCAA Coaches Make?
NCAA CoachCollegeTotal Pay
John CalipariKentucky$6,356,756
Mike KrzyzewskiDuke$6,043,979
Rick PitinoLouisville$6,004,529
Bill SelfKansas$4,955,186
Tom IzzoMichigan State$4,006,955
Sean MillerArizona$3,484,500
Thad MattaOhio State$3,372,000
Bob HugginsWest Virginia$3,265,000
Tom CreanIndiana$3,046,250
Bo RyanWisconsin$2,946,000