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NCAA’s reduced payout won’t affect Razorbacks or DII schools in state much

The global health pandemic has completely disrupted the sports world, but the NCAA’s announcement Thursday the check won’t be as big this time around probably won’t kill any of them.

For an organization that routinely makes insanely stupid decisions at times, this one is really out of their control so we’re not going to kick them over this so we’re not heading down that road.

While it won’t affect Arkansas significantly or the Division II schools in the state (which is the largest number of universities) is because that NCAA check isn’t that big of a deal in their overall athletic budgets.

SEC schools get about 90-plus percent of their revenue from television and bowl money in addition to donors.

The Division II schools have a completely different business model.

“Unlike D1, it’s not kicked to the schools to fund portions of the athletic operations,” Henderson athletics director Shawn Jones said Thursday night. “Division II has tried to keep their reserves at something like 70 percent of the budget for a while.”

That comes back to how it’s a different structure than Division I programs.

“Division II uses their percentage of the NCAA budget to fund championships and provide money to conferences, special projects and initiatives, etc.,” Jones said. “Division II should be able to operate championships and the other initiatives fairly close to a normal level in 20-21 based on solid budgeting practice in the past.”

However, if the crisis continues for a really extended period, well even careful budgets may be extended dramatically.

“That is a one year fix, so hopefully things get back to normal soon,” Jones said.

It won’t be as devastating as the doom-and-gloom scenario many in the media have said. That’s because it’s handled differently.

According to Mark Schlabach’s story at ESPN on Thursday:

According to the NCAA, Division II members will receive 4.37% of actual revenues, currently projected to be about $13.9 million, which is $30 million less than last year. Division III will receive 3.18% of actual revenues, about $10.7 million, which is about $22 million less than last year.

That means $30 million less for the Division II members as a group. That’s not each school. Those schools don’t have budgets a whole lot over that number if you combined every school in a conference.

The DII schools aren’t exactly waiting on a NCAA check that basically amounts to beer money. For schools like Arkansas State, UCA, Little Rock and Arkansas-Pine Bluff, though, it could be a significant hit. The money from the NCAA Tournament is why some of them went through an extended process to move up to Division I.

We don’t know how the cut will affect the SEC. In the Big 12 each school is expecting get about $1 million instead of the pre-corona estimate of roughly $2.4 million.

Again, that’s not that big of a number because it really isn’t a big part of their budgets.

The Big 12 members probably won’t even really notice it.

Big 12 commission Bob Bowlsby said Thursday he anticipated the Big 12 would still be able to “make members whole” in financial distributions this year by using its reserves.

Cutting out the spring sports that frustrated a lot of fans but from a financial standpoint for the schools it’s not that big of a deal because there are significant expenses that are eliminated, too.

What it DOES hurt, though, in Fayetteville is the economic impact cancelling baseball has on hotels and eating establishments in addition to fan shops. Those are the ones that will take a collective big hit.

Not the Razorbacks getting a check from the NCAA that really doesn’t have a giant impact on the overall financial picture.