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UNLV Rebels vs San Diego State Aztecs

Steve Marcus

UNLV Rebels guard Jordan McCabe (5) steals a pass intended for San Diego State Aztecs guard Matt Bradley (20) during the first half of a NCAA basketball game at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022.

UNLV may view San Diego State as a bitter rival on the court, but the school’s accountants are certainly cheering the Aztecs’ magical march to the Final Four.

Because of the way the NCAA doles out revenue from the tournament, SDSU’s run has helped generate upwards of a quarter-million dollars for each team in the Mountain West Conference — for each of the next six years.

The NCAA Tournament is the biggest moneymaker for the NCAA thanks to an $11-billion television rights deal signed in 2010. The organization divides that revenue by awarding “units” to the parent conference of participating teams. The more teams a conference puts into the tournament — and the more games they win — the more units the conference receives.

The Mountain West has accumulated eight shares for the 2023 tournament, with UNR, Boise State and Utah State each accounting for one and San Diego State racking up five. Using the 2022 value of a unit ($339,000), the Mountain West is projected to receive more than $16 million over the next six years from the 2023 tourney alone.

That works out to $2.7 million per year for the league, and a tidy $245,000 annually for each of its 11 schools through 2029.

It’s a welcome windfall for UNLV, which hasn’t made the NCAA Tournament since 2013.

The Mountain West does not direct its schools how to spend the money; a UNLV spokesman said the university allocates it to the overall athletic budget. The school historically accounts for one NCAA unit in its annual budget, so that side of the ledger should swell thanks to San Diego State’s run.

Mike Grimala can be reached at 702-948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Mike on Twitter at

Article written by #LasVegasSun

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