ACC head coach Roy Williams

The Atlantic Coast Conference has been dominant in this year’s tournament, and its record-breaking dominance is making for some record-breaking cash coming its way. The ACC will set the record for units earned in an NCAA men’s basketball tournament, and will also break the record for most money earned from the NCAA’s Basketball Fund.

According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, the ACC will be set to collect a whopping $39.9 million (or more) from the units it will bring home this year. Last year, the conference took in $32.8 million from 21 units. The all-time record for units in a tournament is 24, set by the Big East back in 2009.

Let’s put this number into some context – the 14 ACC schools will collect more money from this NCAA Tournament than the 12 Pac-12 universities will take home from the Pac-12 Networks. Oh. OK then.

Four ACC teams made the Elite Eight: North Carolina, Virginia, Notre Dame, and Syracuse. The conference is guaranteed to have two teams in the Final Four since Virginia takes on Syracuse and North Carolina is matched up with Notre Dame on Sunday. Here’s more of an explanation of what exactly a “unit” is, from Rovell.

Each game played in this year’s tournament is worth $265,791. That money is paid out in each of the next six years (2017-22), with the number for each game, or unit, growing each year of the payout. That puts the total value of a game played in this year’s tournament at more than $1.59 million.

Including their Elite Eight appearances, the ACC has earned 23 units, with the number growing to 25 from the Final Four. No units are awarded each year for the title game, meaning the ACC can’t improve upon their record-breaking total of 25 any further.

The revenue comes from the basketball fund, established 25 years ago once television deals for the tournament started getting exorbitant. The NCAA’s current deal with CBS and Turner pays them $740 million per year, and the parties aren’t even halfway through the 14-year, $10.8 billion pact.


About Colby Lanham

Colby Lanham is a graduate of Clemson University who, in addition to writing for The Comeback, has written for SI's Campus Rush, Bleacher Report, and Clemson Athletics. He is an alumni of the 2015 Sports Journalism Institute, where he also worked as an editorial intern for He has interests in football, basketball, and various forms of pop culture.