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Big East NCAA Tournament Shares

I’ve long been fascinated with the financial aspect of sports, but particularly as it pertains to Marquette. Not everyone’s cup of tea, I know, but it can be very difficult to track down information at both a macro (NCAA) and micro (MU) level.

So in the interest of serving the public interest, I thought I’d post a personal spreadsheet I keep updated every March that tracks one of the revenue sources that can be accessed publicly and in real time.  

These are estimates, of course, and can vary somewhat depending on how the conference distributes Tournament shares, but for ease of use, we’ll assume the revenue is distributed evenly. 

For a refresher into what a Tournament Share is, I point you to this from 2017. For those that don’t feel like clicking, here are the Cliffs Notes:

The basketball fund then distributes its bounty to the individual conferences based on the performance of conference teams in the NCAA Tournament. So every time a Big East team makes it to an NCAA Tournament game, it secures a Tournament Share for the conference as a whole. The process is pretty complex and took the better part of this morning to decipher, but here’s my shot and simplifying it, using cookies instead of shares.    

Every NCAA game appearance is worth 1 cookie for the conference, regardless of the result, except for the Championship game, which is a cookie-less appearance for some reason. (For instance, Villanova got the conference 5 cookies last season, even though it appeared in 6 Tourney games). At the end of the year all of the individual team cookies get collected into a Big East cookie jar. However, nothing happens with those cookies right away, they get put on the top shelf for a year.

Instead, the NCAA takes the cookie jars from the previous 6 seasons and pays the conferences a set amount for all of the cookies in those 6 cookie jars.

But for real, just read the whole thing.

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