Collegiate sports in America spent nearly $68 million on legal services during the 2019-20 fiscal year even though it lost hundreds of millions in revenue due to the pandemic, according to tax documents released Monday.
Revenue shrunk more than 50% from the previous year, from more than $1.1 billion to just over $520 million, mainly due to the cancellation of lucrative college basketball tournaments due to the strong wave of COVID-19 that has hit the country since the beginning of 2020.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association indicated that the loss of media broadcasting rights from the men’s championship alone amounted to $702 million. Championship revenue fell by $162 million due to the cancellation of the winter and spring competitions, although the NCAA, the collegiate sports governing body, noted that the blow was offset somewhat by a $119 million drop in spending.
The National Assessment and Accreditation Authority, which said it “continues to support its mission and core values,” also noted that its 2019-2020 legal expenses were $67.7 million, more than double the previous year’s expenses of $33 million “as a result of a backlog of $34.8 million related to The Alston case.
Last month, the Supreme Court ruled against the NCAA in that case, upholding a lower court’s decision in the antitrust case. The 9-0 ruling means that the NCAA cannot limit the compensation that schools provide to athletes as educational benefits.
Tax Form 990, which the NCAA must file as a tax-exempt organization, showed President Mark Emmert’s compensation for the tax year to be over $2.8 million.