NCAA president made $2.9M amid revenue drop

NCAA president Mark Emmert made $2.9 million during the 2019-2020 fiscal year, a time period when pandemic-related closures caused the organization’s revenue to drop by more than 50 percent.

The organization brought in $521 million between Sept. 1, 2019 and Aug. 31, 2020, down from more than $1 billion in revenue the previous fiscal year, according to tax returns provided to ESPN Monday. Much of that missing revenue was due to the cancellation of March Madness and other national championship events due to COVID-19. The NCAA’s expenses also dropped by nearly 40 percent during that same time period.

Emmert and other top officials at the NCAA reported a slight increase in pay during the year. Donald Remy, who was recently confirmed for a position in the Biden administration, made $1.7 million as the NCAA’s chief operation officer during the 2019-20 year. Executive vice president Stan Wilcox also made $1.3 million.

The association paid more than $68 million for legal counsel and $500,000 to lobbyists during a year where its amateurism rules were under fire from both the judicial and legislative branches of government. An NCAA spokeswoman said roughly half of the legal fees were related to an accrual in the recently-decided NCAA v. Alston case.

The Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling in the Alston case made clear that the NCAA was not exempt from antitrust law due to its academic underpinnings. The court’s opinion has prompted many college sports leaders, including Emmert, to acknowledge that a significant change in the NCAA governance system may be necessary.

Emmert told a small group of reporters last week that the NCAA should be putting only the “bare minimum” restraints on college sports. He told the reporters that the time had arrived for college athletics governance to take a more decentralized structure.

Emmert was one of 10 NCAA employees who made more than $500,000 in the 2019-20 year.

The majority of the organization’s lost revenue came from the $702 million in lost media rights revenue due to the cancelled men’s basketball tournament. The NCAA recouped $241 million through insurance coverage.

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