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Top Football Schools to Get $300,000 Academic Standards Payment

Dec. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Schools in the National Collegiate Athletic Association top football division will receive $300,000 each annually for meeting academic standards under the playoff format that begins after the 2014 regular season.

The payout will be made to universities that score 930 or higher on the Academic Progress Report, Bill Hancock, the executive director of the group overseeing the playoffs, said at the IMG Intercollegiate Athletics Forum in New York.

“You have to meet the NCAA APR standard,” Hancock said in an interview yesterday. “Otherwise your school doesn’t get it.”

The NCAA’s minimum APR for postseason participation is currently 900.

Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN agreed last month to pay about $470 million annually over 12 years to televise the games tied to the new college football national championship system, the Associated Press said. The format includes a four-team playoff to determine the champion. ESPN and ABC currently pay $155 million annually for rights to the national title game and four Bowl Championship Series games.

With about 125 BCS schools, the academic payout would total $37.5 million if every school met the APR requirement.

A framework for each conference’s payment from the format has been determined, although the structure won’t be announced until after this season, when the revenue from television deals and game receipts is determined, Hancock said.

Under the current system, the biggest portion of revenue is shared among the Atlantic Coast, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and Southeastern conferences, each of which automatically qualify one team for a BCS bowl game.

Big East

The Big East will be the main loser under the new format, as it will be demoted to a “Group of Five” competing for an automatic bid to a BCS bowl game, according to ESPN.

“I don’t know what the Big East will receive,” Hancock said. “We do anticipate that every conference will grow on a pro-rata basis. Revenue went up so their share will go up.”

With the major conferences taking in most of the revenue from the playoff and other TV, it will create a division between big and small programs that will make it difficult to regulate them together, said Jack Swarbrick, the athletic director at the University of Notre Dame, which will play Alabama in this season’s national championship game on Jan. 7.

“Whether membership in a single association can continue to exist” may be the biggest change in college sports over the next five years, Swarbrick said during a panel discussion at the IMG forum.

“Every business association -- it doesn’t matter what it is -- has as a core element that there’s got to be a commonality among the members,” Swarbrick told reporters. “It might be another division of the NCAA. It might be more people going to the Ivy League model at one end of the spectrum. I can’t begin to enumerate all the ways it might go. The only point is the tension grows as the business models diverge.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Mason Levinson in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at

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