CEDAR FALLS — An assist from one of the Missouri Valley Conference’s most recent additions, may have helped dampen the sting that the University of Northern Iowa will feel financially following the cancellation of this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
Assuming revenue identical to last year’s event, UNI stands to lose at least a cumulative total of $168,000 over six years as a direct result of the 2020 NCAA tournament’s cancellation. That blow is softened by the fact that the school received a cumulative total of $656,000 in extra cash following Loyola’s surprise 2018 tournament run.
The NCAA distributes units to its member conferences for each tournament game played by school in that league until the Final Four. Loyola’s 2018 Final Four appearance brought in five units for an $8.2 million total that was divided among the MVC’s 10 institutions.
When MVC representative Bradley lost in the first round of last year’s tournament, the league only received one unit valued at $1,681,000 spread out over six seasons. UNI’s share per year amounted to approximately $28,030.
“Certainly for us it’s a significant amount,” UNI athletics director Davis Harris said, addressing the loss of potential revenue from March Madness.
Beyond the cancellation of the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments and wrestling championships, UNI could take a financial hit if COVID-19 precautions limit other events planned for this spring and summer.
“There’s a number of different areas in which we could be impacted financially, not just the NCAA tournament,” Harris said. “You could look at things like fundraisers me might have planned or third-party rentals within our facilities and whether or not those will go forward based on the vendors and what they would prefer to do.”
With the uncertain nature of how the coronavirus will continue to impact gatherings and athletics, Harris said it’s too soon to project the type of financial impact it will make on his institution.
“We’re still in the process of trying to figure out how this is all going to work and how this is all going to be resolved,” Harris said. “I know we’ll have discussions on that at a future time.”
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