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The Real Cost of March Madness

By Ben Steverman, with Eben Novy-Williams and Seth Magalaner - 2012-03-21T23:12:14Z

Photograph by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

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Coaching Incentives

Head coaches can win big payouts for bringing teams to the Final Four, according to the College Sport Research Institute study. It analyzed contracts at 26 of the largest and wealthiest athletic programs and found they paid men's head coaches an average of $47,628 for a postseason appearance, $63,262 for making the Elite Eight, $107,535 for the Final Four and $186,364 for winning a national championship.

The schools also offered incentives if players did well academically. Head coaches got an average $66,726 if players met a particular graduation rate, $48,600 for high grades and $39,333 for a measure of eligibility and retention called the Academic Progress Rate. Incentives for on-court success and academic excellence will be more closely aligned following a 2011 NCAA rules change that imposes a postseason ban on programs that fail to meet an acceptable APR standard. Under those regulations, 2011 National Champion Connecticut is presently facing a ban from the 2013 NCAA Tournament.