NCAA redistributes money, and, hopefully, priorities Final Four notebook


INDIANAPOLIS -- The NCAA has taken major steps to eliminate the "$350,000 free throw" of the men's tournament and distribute the wealth of its seven-year, $1 billion contract with CBS.

NCAA executive director Dick Schultz yesterday outlined a plan that breaks down $108.25 million from this year's tournament revenues into 10 different pots designed to help more than just the 64 schools that participate in the tournament.

The largest chunk of the money -- $31.25 million -- will be distributed to conferences in Division I, based on their teams' performances in the six previous NCAA tournaments, Schultz said.

That plan not only reduces the amount that each school receives per game, from last year's $300,000 to $43,000, but takes pressure off the athletes to perform.

"We think it's far enough removed to take substantial pressure off," said Schultz, adding that if the new plan hadn't been adopted, schools would likely have received $500,000 for each game won in the tournament this year.

"We wanted to get back to the days when the athletes were playing for the trophy," Schultz said.

The plan also will establish a fund for needy student-athletes as well as a fund for catastrophic injuries incurred during play or practice. Money also will be spent to benefit Division II schools.

Also, participating tournament schools will be able to bring larger entourages, including school bands, to tourney games.

* IT'S NOT WHO YOU ARE, BUT WHERE YOU ARE: Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski expressed disdain that his team has been headquartered in a hotel at the airport, rather than in the midst of the hoopla downtown.

"I would have liked for our players to stay in the downtown area instead of the airport area, so they would be able to experience the Final Four and feel a part of it," said Krzyzewski, a veteran of five Final Fours.

"This is a great event in their lives. The challenge of maintaining focus in the midst of all the excitement is something that will help the players grow up."

* AROUND THE PERIMETER: In keeping with the pattern throughout the tournament, security in and around the Hoosier Dome is tight. Reporters are being screened with hand-held metal detectors and their packages are passed through airport-style X-ray devices. Spectators will not be permitted to bring radios, televisions or cameras, and fans will also be searched.

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