When leaders at Gonzaga were looking to sweeten the pot for their basketball team in exchange for staying in the West Coast Conference, they knew exactly where the money might come from.
NCAA Tournament payouts.
The perennially contending Zags were being courted by the Mountain West. So athletic director Mike Roth sought a way for WCC teams to get paid for winning in the tournament, moving away from the even split of tournament revenue that most conferences prefer.
The Power Five leagues and many of the mid-majors divide money evenly, regardless of how their teams perform. It means that one team’s run in March Madness is good for everyone in the conference, but it can also lead to some crazy discrepancies.
An Associated Press analysis of more than $3 billion paid through the system shows discrepancies among what teams earn for their conferences and what they’re paid.
The Zags brought in more than $51 million to the WCC since 1999. An even split a suggested to leagues by the NCAA would pay Gonzaga $9.1 million.
Associated Press data journalist Larry Fenn contributed to this report.
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