NCAA Surpasses $1 Billion in Annual Revenue for 1st Time in Association History

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 7, 2018

FILE - In this April 6, 2014, file photo, NCAA President Mark Emmert answers a question at a news conference in Arlington, Texas. The National Labor Relations Board has dismissed a historic ruling that Northwestern University football players are school employees who are entitled to form what would be the nation's first union of college athletes. The NLRB released its decision Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. The losing side does not have an option to appeal.(AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)
David J. Phillip/Associated Press

An audited financial statement released by the NCAA on Wednesday showed the governing body of college athletics generated nearly $1.1 billion in revenue during the 2017 fiscal year.

Steve Berkowitz of USA Today passed along details from the statement, which revealed a $105.1 million operating surplus. It's the first time the NCAA has surpassed $1 billion in revenue.

The update comes as the association faces a crisis involving college basketball players allegedly being provided impermissible benefits and preferential treatment, which has renewed calls to pay student-athletes to decrease the allure of under-the-table payments.

Pat Forde and Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports reported details of the wide-ranging scandal after reviewing documents from ASM Sports agency, which alleged payments and other benefits given to players and their families connected to at least 20 Division I programs.

Among those listed are some of the historically dominant teams in the sport, including Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky and Michigan State. They are perennial championship contenders and frequent landing spots for the top recruits in the country.

Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim referred to the situation as the "dark underbelly of college basketball" in September when announcing the arrest of 10 individuals in the case following an FBI investigation, per Shachar Peled of CNN.

Meanwhile, NCAA President Mark Emmert told Ralph D. Russo of the Associated Press last week the organization would consider an Olympic model, where players could receive money for endorsements, but he doesn't believe member schools are interested in paying athletes directly.

"I haven't heard any universities say that they want to change amateurism to move into a model where student-athletes are paid by universities and universities are negotiating with agents for their relationships with a school," he said. "I would be surprised if the [commission to reform college basketball] came forward with that kind of recommendation."

ESPN's Jay Bilas, an outspoken critic of the NCAA's stance on paying players, used the latest release to further his point:

The financial statement shows the NCAA distributed $560.3 million to Division I schools during the 2017 fiscal year.

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