In its fiscal year before the pandemic, the N.C.A.A. logged more than $1.1 billion in revenue, most of it related to broadcast and marketing rights of the 2019 N.C.A.A. men’s basketball tournament. It recorded a profit of nearly $71 million and ended the year with net assets of $450 million.
By the end of the fiscal year that ended in August 2020, according to a financial statement obtained by The Times, the N.C.A.A. was down to about $394 million in net assets. Insurance proceeds accounted for more than half of its $519 million in revenue.
And although the association’s liabilities ballooned from about $161 million to $307 million, auditors said the N.C.A.A. could quickly have about $641 million available to it, mostly through its vast portfolio of investments.
In the first quarter of the current fiscal year, board members were told this month, revenues were down about 4 percent from the same period a year earlier, but that expenses had been cut by 15 percent.
Although N.C.A.A. officials are bracing for a continuing decrease in championship revenues, they are moving ahead with plans for the men’s basketball tournament that is the group’s financial lifeblood.
Organizers have repeatedly and forcefully defended last year’s cancellation, which auditors said had cost the N.C.A.A. more than $800 million when ticket sales are included, and have insurance in place for the 2021 tournament. But executives are well aware that missing another year of tournament revenues would substantially add to the association’s problems.
In a bid to make the tournament happen in some form, officials have scrapped the coast-to-coast games that are rituals of March and announced that the entire competition will be held in Indiana in March and April. Players, coaches, officials and others crucial to the tournament will be required to test negative for the virus on seven consecutive days before arriving in Indianapolis, and masks will be mandatory for people unless they are eating, practicing or playing, or are alone in their hotel rooms.
The N.C.A.A. said last week that the tournament’s start would be delayed until March 18, two days later than initially planned.