NCAA president Mark Emmert made $2.9 million during the 2019-2020 fiscal year, a period when pandemic-related closures caused the organization's revenue to drop by more than 50%.
The organization brought in $521 million between Sept. 1, 2019, and Aug. 31, 2020, down from more than $1 billion in revenue the previous fiscal year, according to tax returns provided to ESPN Monday. Much of that missing revenue was due to the cancellation of March Madness and other national championship events due to COVID-19. The NCAA's expenses also dropped by nearly 40% during that same time period.
Emmert and other top officials at the NCAA reported a slight increase in pay during the year. Donald Remy, who was recently confirmed for a position in the Biden administration, made $1.7 million as the NCAA's chief operating officer during the 2019-20 year. Executive vice president Stan Wilcox made $1.3 million.
The NCAA paid more than $68 million for legal counsel and $500,000 to lobbyists during a year in which its amateurism rules were under fire from both the judicial and legislative branches of government. An NCAA spokesperson said roughly half of the legal fees were related to an accrual in the recently decided NCAA v. Alston case.
The Supreme Court's unanimous ruling in the Alston case made clear that the NCAA was not exempt from antitrust law due to its academic underpinnings. The court's opinion has prompted many college sports leaders, including Emmert, to acknowledge that a significant change in the NCAA governance system may be necessary.
Emmert told a small group of reporters last week that the NCAA should be putting only the "bare minimum" of restraints on college sports. He told the reporters that the time had arrived for college athletics governance to take a more decentralized structure.
Emmert was one of 10 NCAA employees who made more than $500,000 in the 2019-20 fiscal year.
The majority of the organization's lost revenue came from the $702 million in lost media rights revenue due to the canceled men's basketball tournament. The NCAA recouped $241 million through insurance coverage.