Athletic Conference Financial Report: Where They Really Stand

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During a spare hour or so prior to attending a
Christmas party last December, I happened to read a newspaper article linked by a TSL poster
that was touting some Big East Conference revenue numbers. So, I figured that I
would spend a few moments searching the Internet for reliable information
concerning athletic conference revenues and expenses.

I have always wondered where all of the ACC revenues were
coming from and where this kind of information could be found in a reasonably
reliable format from which such data could be extracted. As noted in my last
review of Virginia Tech athletic department finances
, all of the NCAA sanctioned
athletic conferences are classified as charitable organizations and thus have to
file an information return known as Form 990 with the IRS.

My search led me
to a site called Foundation
, where PDF format copies of the IRS Form 990 as filed by
charitable organizations are available. You only need to know the name of the
organization you are searching for, but you have to get the name exactly correct
or the search will not locate the organization. Sometimes you have to spell out
numbers that are in the names (Twelve), other times the number itself (12) must
be entered.

I immediately located the ACC and Big East IRS Forms 990 for
the last two years available, which are the fiscal years ending June 30, 2005
and 2006. You would think that filings with the IRS would be fairly consistent
among similar organizations as far as the type of information regarding revenues
and expenses is concerned. However, there were enough inconsistencies between
the ACC and Big East filings to prompt me to find the Form 990’s for other
athletic conferences to compare them to the ACC and Big East. That was an
interesting endeavor also, much like trying to compare the NCAA reports for the
various schools, as noted in my reports on Virginia Tech and other schools’