Here’s another reason why the Big Ten is a very attractive option for schools in other conferences — it takes its monetary proceeds from events like the NCAA Tournament, pools them, and then splits them equally among all 11 teams in the conference.
This article from the Columbus Dispatch explains that, for every team to make the 2010 NCAA Tournament, and for every win by a Big Ten team in the NCAA Tournament, the conference will get $222, 502. Every one of the 11 schools in the Big Ten therefore will get $20,227 for each of the five teams to make the Tournament and for each of the nine wins the Big Ten teams have achieved so far in the Tournament. That totals to close to $300,000 for each school, which is a nice thing to add to the bottom line in these tough economic times. And because the Big Ten splits the proceeds equally, rather than following more of an “eat what you kill” methodology as some conferences do, even poor Northwestern, which has never qualified for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, gets the same portion of tournament-related money as does perennial NCAA Tournament participant Michigan State.
Most of the non-athletic news about colleges these days is about money, about cuts in state subsidies and tuition hikes. (Ohio State, for example, recently announced an 7 percent tuition hike after holding the line on tuition for three years.) Is it any wonder that Big Ten schools are seriously considering expansion of the conference as a means of (relatively) painlessly increasing revenue? And, should it really be a surprise that schools in other conferences are hoping they get the invitation to join a conference that both generates lots of revenue from its fans and athletic teams and then splits it equally?