The NCAA announced Thursday an unprecedented plan to begin distributing a portion of Division I revenue based on the academic performance of student-athletes, allowing schools with higher graduation rates and academic success to qualify for more funds.
Already approved by the Division I Board of Directors and NCAA Board of Governors, the change will take effect at the start of the 2019-2020 school year and was made possible by the organization’s $8.8 billion multimedia rights deal with CBS/Turner for the Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, according to the news release put out by the NCAA.
For the first six years of the new distribution, 75 percent of the annual increase from the rights contract will be used to create an “academic distribution unit,” similar to the units now associated with the Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament. Currently, conferences earn units for each game that member schools participate in during the championship. After the first six years, the percentage of growth allocated to the academic unit will equal that applied to all other distributions (see graphic below).
From the release:
Each school can earn one academic achievement unit per year if its student-athletes meet at least one of the following requirements:
- Earn an overall, single-year, all-sport Academic Progress Rate of 985 or higher.
- Earn an overall all-sport Graduation Success Rate of 90 percent or higher.
- Earn a federal graduation rate that is at least 13 percentage points higher than the federal graduation rate of the student body at that school.
According to the news release, money will be distributed to the conferences with no restriction on how it is spent. The graphics below illustrate the changes associated with the growth of the TV rights deal and the new distribution plan.