Mount St. Mary's First Four win means a $3 million payday

NCAA pulls tournaments from NC over 'bathroom law'
NCAA pulls tournaments from NC over 'bathroom law'

Mount St. Mary's close win during the opening night of the NCAA Tournament is great for the small school.

It also means a big payout for the Northeast Conference it belongs to -- the NEC stands to make over $3.1 million because the Mount made it to the first round.

Of course, it's individual schools that win games. But the NCAA doles out performance-based pay to the conferences based on those wins. The conference can split the money evenly among its member schools, reward the winners or keep it for themselves.

This year, the NCAA will award conferences more than $1.5 million per game -- that money gets paid out over six years in installments of about $260,800. (One exception: The championship game doesn't come with a payout.)

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The NEC will give a small amount of the money to Mount St. Mary's to cover the school's tournament-related travel and accommodations costs.

"We [want] to keep them whole, so they're not disadvantaged for participating," said NEC Commissioner Noreen Morris.

Then the conference works with its members to decide how to use the rest of the money, which generally goes to technology or branding initiatives.

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For instance, the NEC chipped in to pay for half of the cost of new LED signs for each of its member schools.

"We got a much better deal" because we bought in bulk, Morris said. "We purchased them upfront and then the schools paid us back over time."

The conference also developed its own digital network, NEC Front Row, which live streams up to five games at a time.

"We bankrolled that entirely," Morris said. "We purchased new HD cameras for them and pay for all the bandwidth."

The network is free for fans and parents alike, and has helped boost the teams' exposure and their recruiting.

The Mount takes on Villanova -- a #1 seed and the defending champs -- on Thursday.

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