One shining motive: cash

Mr. Flip's Rant

April 07, 2008

It sounds hard to believe, but a school could end up losing money by being in the Final Four.

And that's because of the good, ol' NCAA.

According to a report in The Dallas Morning News, the NCAA slaps schools in the Final Four with required costs, such as spending $32,000 on a party and buying 470 hotel rooms at a four-night minimum - sometimes at a hotel far from the arena - while it also has cut the number of tickets allotted to each team. This year, each got 3,750, down from 4,500 six years ago. (The schools can then resell the rooms and tickets.)

And the NCAA also has gotten into the ticket-scalping business, setting up a business arrangement with a ticket broker that is selling tickets at five times their face value.

Greg Shaheen, an NCAA vice president, told the News: "Over a five-year period, we studied that people who had the opportunity to buy tickets were often reselling. Our biggest concern was the illegitimate arrangements for counterfeit tickets."

Of less concern, apparently, is whether fans of the teams can afford to see them play.

Or whether schools end up paying for the privilege of reaching the Final Four.

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