The Real Cost of March Madness

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

Photograph by Steve Helber/AP Photo

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NCAA Budget Nears a Billion

The National Collegiate Athletic Association expects to bring in $777 million this academic year. Ninety percent comes from broadcast and other media rights -- almost all from the men's basketball tournament. Last year, $478 million of the revenue went back to Division I schools, with more than a third of that based on schools' success in the tournament. The largest share, $24.9 million, went to the Big East conference, home of 2011 champ University of Connecticut.

Among the NCAA's other expenses: $74 million to cover travel expenses for athletes and coaches to all 89 national championship tournaments last year, plus $5.5 million for drug testing in 2010.