Home Sports College Hotline: Counting March Madness cash for Power Five conferences (plus Big East)

College Hotline: Counting March Madness cash for Power Five conferences (plus Big East)

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In one respect — one very important respect — the Final Four is anticlimactic: There are no units at stake.

The teams, and their conferences, have already collected all the units available in the 2017 tournament.

The semifinal winners earn no more units than the semifinal losers.

The maximum number awarded per team is five, unless you’re Virginia Commonwealth in 2011. The First Four counts in the unit-accumulation process, so the Rams actually earned six in their run from First to Final Four.

Here’s a look at the count for the ACC, Big East, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC and Pac-12, broken by categories designed to make it as easy to track as possible:

*** Number of units earned:

Each game played is a unit, through the semifinals.

ACC: 18
SEC: 16
Big 12: 15
Big Ten: 15
Pac-12: 14
Big East: 13

*** Value of 2017 units going forward:

The units are paid out annually over a rolling six-year period:

2018: $272,620
2019: $280,756
2020: $288,897
2021: $297,275
2022: $305,895
2023: $314,765

(Please note: I haven’t confirmed with the NCAA that the annual percentage increase is fixed at 2.9 percent over the duration of the current contract with Turner and CBS. But if there’s an increase, it’s likely slight.)

*** Total value of 2017 units

Add the payouts noted above, and a single unit earned this year will be worth $1.76 million over the six-year cycle.

Which brings us to …

*** Unit revenue earned by the conferences in 2017

In other words: Number of units earned this tournament times their six-year value:.

ACC: $31.68 million
SEC: $28.16 million
Big 12: $26.4 million
Big Ten: $26.4 million
Pac-12: $24.64 million
Big East: $22.8 million

In the case of the Pac-12, for example, that figure is split equally among the 12 schools.

The conference has earned $2.05 million per school, paid out over six years.

And finally …

*** Units per participant

This is the best reflection of performance, because earning 15 units is one thing if you have 10 teams in the field and quite another if you have five.

Pac-12: 3.5 units per team
SEC: 3.2
Big 12: 2.5
Big Ten: 2.1
ACC: 2
Big East: 1.85

(Note: The West Coast Conference also earned 3.5 per team.)

*** Follow me on Twitter: @WilnerHotline

*** The Hotline podcast is available on iTunes.

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