The University of Vermont Catamounts won their play-in game against Lamar University, 71 to 59, but the trip to the next round to face North Carolina isn't the only thing they won Wednesday night.
According to the Twitter account, Sporting Vermont, the Catamounts' win earned them and the America East (their league, based in Cambridge, MA) a nice chunk of cash over the next few years. The tweet:
"Vermont just won itself and the league $1.4 million dollars with NCAA win shares over the next six seasons. #vt #btv #UVM #AEHoops"
No, Vermont didn't dance through raining dollar bills post-game. Every March Madness game a team and conference participates in earns them a share of the NCAA Basketball Distribution Fund. Last year, Boston University was bounced in the first round, leaving America East with only one share of the fund. Vermont will now participate in at least two NCAA tournament games, multiplying the shares of the fund that the team and league receive.
The best explanation of the Basketball Distribution Fund and how much each conference stands to potentially make from it (no matter how mid-major the league is) can be found in a March 2nd post by Alicia Jessop on The Business of College Sports:
"...The further a conference’s teams go into March, the more money that a conference can earn from the NCAA’s revenue distribution system. The NCAA suggests that conferences divide the payout they receive from the Basketball Distribution Fund equally amongst their member institutions."
So teams like Boston University and University of New Hampshire - Vermont's fellow America East programs - are rooting for the Catamounts to go as far as they can, because it may result in more money for their programs down the road.