NCAA: Men's Basketball Tournament Budget Almost Twice as Much as Women's in 2019

Adam WellsMarch 26, 2021

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - MARCH 21: The NCAA logo is seen on the basket stanchion before the game between the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles and the Florida Gators in the second round game of the 2021 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Indiana Farmers Coliseum on March 21, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

According to the most recent available data, the NCAA men's tournament budget is nearly twice as much as the women's tournament. 

Per information obtained by ESPN's Heather Dinich, the men's tournament had a budget of $28 million for the 2018-19 season, compared to $14.5 million for the women's tournament that same season. 

Kathleen McNeely, the NCAA's chief financial officer, told Dinich the difference in budgets is "because of the scale of the two tournaments."

"I'm not saying there might not be minor issues, but in my opinion, there is a lot of parity between the men's and women's basketball tournaments as we look at it from an individual student-athlete experience, which tends to be our focus," McNeely added. 

The records also showed that the men's tournament in 2019 generated $864.6 million in total income that season, while the women's event that same season lost $2.8 million. 

Dinich added that the disparity in budgets between the two events is, in part, because the women's tournament is held at the campus of the highest seed in a particular region for the first two rounds. 

The men's tournament is held at various neutral-site arenas around the country, which leads to more costs. 

The release of financial information comes after NCAA President Mark Emmert announced on Thursday the organization hired a law firm "to evaluate our practices and policies [around the men's and women's tournaments] and provide recommendations on steps we can take to get better."