IOWA CITY — Negotiated financial deals among the Big Ten Conference’s three newest additions have the schools earning vastly different amounts of cash from league coffers.
According to the Big Ten’s 2015 fiscal year tax statement, Nebraska picked up nearly $19.83 million, while Rutgers received $10.449 million. Those numbers represent projected earnings from their previous conferences at the time they joined the Big Ten.
However, those numbers are significantly less than what Maryland received. The Terrapins took in $24.125 million in Big Ten revenue in 2015, about $4.3 million more than Nebraska and about $14.68 million more than Rutgers. Maryland’s number is based off its likely proceeds as an Atlantic Coast Conference member.
“We sat down with them in the negotiations of their final integration into the conference,” said Big Ten deputy commissioner Brad Traviolia. “The Big Ten guaranteed that for a six-year period we would pay them the amounts at which their prior conference was projecting they would send to their member institutions over those six years.
“In Nebraska’s case, for the 2012 through ‘17 fiscal years, those numbers represent what the Big 12 at the time of negotiation was projected to send to their schools. Maryland had a different number. They had the ACC number, and Rutgers had the former Big East or the American conference projections at those times of the negotiations.”
Nebraska, which joined July 1, 2011, will be a fully integrated Big Ten member on July 1, 2017. Maryland and Rutgers became official members on July 1, 2014. They will become fully vested partners in 2020.
The league’s remaining 11 members all cleared between $32.41 million and $32.54 million from the Big Ten in fiscal year 2015. Iowa earned $32.433 million.
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Maryland actually received more Big Ten money in 2015 than the rest of the league schools with $35.17 million. The athletics department, which forfeited $31.3 million withheld by the ACC after its departure, still had an operating loss of $3.5 million in fiscal 2014 after cutting seven sports in 2012-13. In 2015, Maryland borrowed $11.608 million from the Big Ten, which it will repay as a fully vested member.
“That was a one unique portion of our agreement with Maryland is they asked for, and with our board approval, we granted them the ability to advance future revenues in years one through six of their integration into the Big Ten, which will be repaid in years seven through 12,” Traviolia said.
Maryland’s payment came from Big Ten Network Holding, LLC, a shell corporation the league established when it formed BTN. In 2015, the Big Ten received a $22.608 million profit share as a BTN equity owner. The other $11 million went to the league’s 11 fully financial integrated institutions in $1 million increments.
In 2015, the Big Ten generated nearly $449 million with $436 million in expenses and net assets of $63.67 million. That number expects to grow in fiscal 2018 when the league’s media rights contracts likely double to roughly $440 million annually.
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