The University of Connecticut women’s basketball team entered the season with the best college basketball betting odds and ended the season with their fourth straight NCAA championship. After an undefeated season and an easy run through the NCAA tournament, the UConn women’s team won their 11th national championship. Despite all the success the program has had over the years, they haven’t achieved the same type of financial success their male counterparts have.
According to documents the school submitted to the Department of education for the 2014-2015 season, the school spent $6.7 million to cover expenses for the women’s team but earned only $4 million in revenue.
During the same season, UConn spent $8.6 million on the Men’s basketball team and made $9.4 million in revenue. The school spent $14 million on the football team, which is less successful than their basketball programs, and earned $8.3 million in revenue.
The big question on most people’s mind is why the women’s basketball team, which is the most successful athletics program at the University of Connecticut, make significantly less money than their male counterparts?
According to an NCAA study conducted in 2013, there is only about 3 percent of men’s basketball programs that generate surpluses. The study also found that no women’s basketball program generated profits. According to the study, the average loss for basketball programs at the time was $811,000.
Men’s basketball generates a lot of revenue for the NCAA, thanks in part to the 11-year, $10.8 billion broadcast deal it signed with CBS in 2011. The money the NCAA earns is used to fund scholarships and provide assistance for their athletes. The NCAA also pays the teams that qualify for the tournament.
According to data Villanova recently submitted to the Department of Education, their men’s basketball team generated $10.3 million in revenue after the school spent $8.2 million on the team. The women’s basketball team broke even with $2.4 million in expenses and revenue.
Sports economist Victor Matheson said that most of the men’s basketball teams that generate revenue are from the Power 5 conferences like the ACC and Big East. According to Matheson, most schools lose money on their athletic programs.
Villanova, will receive a cut from the $205 million basketball fund, but the money in the fund is earmarked for the men’s teams that participated in the NCAA tournament. However, an NCAA spokesperson said that the schools were free to do with the money as they pleased.
Some schools use the money for scholarships, while other share the money with the other schools in their conference. The NCAA typically encourages conferences to spread the money around evenly between their member schools, but the conferences aren’t required to do so.
A spokesman for the Big East said the conference does not split the money from the NCAA tournament evenly between the member schools, but all the schools receive money. However, the Pac-12 and AAC split the money evenly among member schools. With more conferences splitting the money evenly, the Big East is expected to eventually start doing the same.
Teams that have enjoyed athletic success usually see a rise in the number of applications they receive from prospective students each year. In 2001, UConn’s undergraduate enrollment was 13,251 students, today, the school’s enrollment is 23,407, most of which is due to the success of their athletic programs.