As the result of a liquidation of an endowment, the NCAA is distributing $200 million to its Division 1 member institutions in April.
Let’s cut right to the chase here, because I know you’re wondering: Marquette will receive $385,089 as part of the distribution. That’s the sixth highest total amongst the 10 members of the Big East. Villanova gets the largest slice of the pie in the conference at $630,559.
I know you’re wondering how VU gets so much more than Marquette, and the answer is pretty simple. The amount is calculated entirely by how many scholarships each school provided during the 2013-14 school year. Each scholarship equals one unit of distribution money, and according to the NCAA’s records, Marquette awarded 117 scholarships on the button in that school year. Some schools have a scholarship count that includes a decimal, but that’s due to sports like soccer and lacrosse having maximum amounts of scholarships that end in a decimal that can be split amongst the entire team as the school sees fit. In Villanova’s case, they have a fairly successful FCS football team, and football, even at that level, has a lot of scholarships available to be issued, giving them 191.59 as a department wide total.
Because the NCAA is basing this on the 2013-14 school year, Butler, Creighton, and Xavier, the three new members of the Big East, may be slightly getting the short end of the stick here. 2013-14 was the first year of the Big East under its current configuration, and there was only approximately five months between those three schools officially joining the Big East and actually beginning play for the fall sports, so they didn’t exactly get a chance to ramp up their budgets as a result. All three of those schools are amongst the 50 that did not offer at least 100 scholarships during that school year. USA Today talked to Creighton’s Rob Anderson about the scholarship situation in Omaha, and he point blank said “If we could fully fund all of our sports, we’d be all for it.” Even now, even after a few years in the Big East, Creighton is not fully funding all of the possible scholarships that they could offer under the NCAA’s maximum limits, and I’m sure they were even further away back in 2013. Unfortunately for those three schools, they didn’t get a chance to ramp up their funding as they joined the Big East and thus, they get smaller shares of this distribution.
The money can not be used for things like coaches’ salaries, strength and conditioning equipment, or in general things that improve athletic performance or fan experiences. According to the NCAA, the money must be used for programs that fall into the categories of “life skills and career success, health and safety and student-athlete focused diversity and inclusion initiatives.” You can check out the full list of suggested uses in the FAQ on the NCAA’s website, but a few specifically jumped out at me for Marquette: nutritional needs, nutritional/diet information materials, and access to nutritionist or nutrition education. You may have seen the New York Times article on Marquette’s attempts to better feed the men’s basketball team, and if the athletic department is looking at doing more in that vein going forward, there are worse ways to spend $385,000.