Tuesday, March 16, 1999

Tourney run not a financial windfall for Miami




BY MICHAEL D. CLARK
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        OXFORD — Though the RedHawks are ringing up big wins in the NCAA Tournament, it doesn't mean Miami University is ringing up big profits.

        The school of each men's basketball team receives $170,000 per NCAA Tournament appearance, and the money is shared by members of the athletic conference, which in Miami's case is the Mid-American Conference.

        “It's a complex formula,” Miami University spokesman Richard Little said. “We don't make any money. In fact we probably lose some.”

        Little said the $170,000 is paid by the NCAA for each round, and the amount remains the same regardless of how far a team progresses in the tournament — even if it wins the national championship.

        Most conferences, including the MAC, distribute the NCAA money over a number of years, and it is averaged out equally among the conference's 13 schools.

        Miami will have racked up about $510,000 for the MAC when the RedHawks tip off against the University of Kentucky in the tournament's third round Friday.

        “The money is averaged out over several years,” Little said. He said Miami is still receiving money from similar late-round NCCA Tournament appearances by Ball State and Eastern Michigan in the early 1990s.

        “It really doesn't have a immediate impact in terms of cash for the athletic department,” he said.

        Last month, Miami's board of trustees voted to allow men's soccer, golf, tennis and wrestling teams a temporary reprieve from being eliminated, conditioned on the success of an ambitious fund-raising plan.

        The money from the RedHawks' tournament run will have little effect on the future of the four men's teams targeted for elimination, Little said.

        Besides the NCAA's $170,000 allocation per round, the NCAA also pays each school participating in the tournament $120 a day for lodging and food for each of 75 school members — including bas ketball players — to attend each game.

        The $9,000 allocation was used by Miami to fund parts of the travel, lodging and food expenses of players, cheerleaders, pep band members and school officials during a four-day stay in New Orleans, Little said. Additional funding beyond the NCAA's $36,000 total for the four days came from Miami's athletic department, he said.

        While there may be no profit for the team reaching the Sweet 16, there is a windfall of publicity, Little said.

        “It's hard to compute, but CBS- TV picked up Sunday's Miami vs. Utah game as their prime game and broadcast it to 87 percent of the country. That's probably 3 million viewers nationally,” he said.

        The ramifications for such widespread, favorable media exposure almost always translate into increased alumni contributions and more interest from prospective students nationwide.

        Alumni officials at Miami didn't have to wait long Monday to feel the backlash from their team making a national media splash.

        “We've already had about 150 phone calls and about 50 e-mails from alumni all around the country,” said Avery Hodges, assistant director of alumni and parent programs.

        James S. McCoy, Miami's associate vice president for enrollment services, said “there are no negatives” to the RedHawks' greatest NCAA run.

        “Interest (in Miami) is greatly enhanced. If we were in the fall before the application deadline, we'd probably have an increase in applications. Students want to attend an exciting school,” he said.

       



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