Creighton’s official departure from the Missouri Valley Conference has that, “We hate to see you leave, but we all understand why” sort of feel to it.
The Bluejays will earn a reported $3 million a year in revenues as part of the new Big East Conference, up from the $300,000 a year that goes to MVC members.
But Creighton can raise the MVC’s number, along with Wichita State, both of which open play in the NCAA tournament this week.
Conferences generate revenue from the NCAA tournament based on units, which are worth about $250,000 apiece. Teams accumulate a unit for making the tournament and then another should they win a game.
“The more teams that we have in and the more units we get, the more revenue is accumulated to be divided among the Missouri Valley Confernce schools,” said UE athletic director John Stanley.
The units, as a 2010 New York Times story explains, are calculated over a rolling six-year period. So any units Creighton earns this year will stay with the MVC after the Bluejays leave the league.
And Creighton will see no part of that.
There’s no buyout for Creighton’s exit, but any money earned by the school from the MVC this year will have to be returned because the deal happened on such short notice.
The unit distribution among league members is typically split 10 ways evenly, with a small bump going to the school that earns it. In this case, Creighton won’t see that bump, and a larger share will go to the rest — UE included.
So Aces fans, there’s a reason to cheer for Creighton, which tips against Cincinnati at 1:45 p.m. Friday on CBS. Wichita State starts its tournament run at 12:40 p.m. Thursday against Pittsburgh.
Don’t feel bad for Creighton, though. The new Big East will retain the units earned by the old league — the one that sent a record 11 teams to the 2011 NCAA tournament.