Tourney Berth A Financial Windfall for Pack

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It's a lot more than just a game.

Nevada's berth in the final 16 of the NCAA tournament puts the Wolf Pack in the pot for a multimillion dollar jackpot of television dollars.

The Pack, winner of its first two tournament games, plays Georgia Tech Friday in St. Louis.

The tournament, enriched by a $6 billion multiyear contract with CBS to televise the games, is the source of more than $100 million a year for the NCAA's 326 Division I schools.

"The NCAA tournament is a wonderful display of championship basketball," athletic director Chris Ault said. "But don't kid yourself. It's about money."

Nobody, including the eventual tournament champion, gets it all. Everybody, including Nevada, gets some.

Pack officials aren't sure how much. It's the first time they've gotten this far.

Based on a distribution formula Western Athletic Conference assistant commissioner Steve Macy outlined for the Reno Gazette-Journal:

- So far in this year's tournament, the Pack probably has earned about $3 million for its victories over Michigan State and Gonzaga, plus Friday's game.

- Every game is worth about $1 million each to competing teams.

- Money comes from playing, not winning, but if you keep winning, you keep playing.

Nevada won't keep all of the money it makes, Macy said. The Pack shares equally with its nine fellow conference members, with each getting $300,000, so far, according to Macy's estimate.

The Pack also gets a bonus for playing in the tournament that WAC schools with teams sitting at home won't receive. League and Nevada athletic officials aren't sure what that amount will be.

In addition, Nevada will receive money for one game it didn't play. Texas, El Paso of the WAC lost to Maryland in the first round but shares $1 million with league members, including the Pack.

That's another $100,000 for Nevada, based on the even-split formula.