What’s the cost of postseason basketball?

Schools across the country pay-to-play in postseason tournaments.


Paul Wintruba

Robert Morris University Photo Credit: (RMU Sentry Media/Paul Wintruba)

Gage Goulding, News Editor

MOON TOWNSHIP – For schools that miss out on the NCAA tournament, officials turn to smaller tournaments in order to get their moment in the spotlight.

After the Colonials failed to post a season-long record that qualified the team for selection to the NCAA tournament, university officials have turned to the pay-to-play option for a postseason tournament.

Schools have the option to accept invitations to play in postseason tournaments such as the College Basketball Invitational, National Invitational Tournament and the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.

Robert Morris University men’s basketball decided to accept their bid to play in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.

Robert Morris University hosted two CIT tournament games, both of which were played at the university’s temporary home for the Colonials, the North Athletic Complex.


The cost to host a CIT game is approximately $25,000 plus the travel expenses of the other school, according to Rick McCann, the sports editor at The Herald-Dispatch.

McCann reported the price to RMU Sentry Media reporting that he obtained the information from officials at Marshall, who are also contestants in the postseason tournament.

How does Robert Morris University afford to host a CollegeInsider.com Tournament game?

“In order to host games for the College Insider Tournaments, schools pay a fee in lieu in revenue guarantees,” said Potts. “Therefore, any revenue generated by ticket sales is kept by RMU, and, in our case, the cost of participation has been offset by donor contributions, including corporate sponsorships.”

In an email sent by the university’s athletics department, the school was offering free tickets to students.

The university reported a total attendance of 622 people was recorded for the first-round game against Cornell but did not specify how many attendees were students.

The total amount at RMU paid to host the games may never be known, say university officials, but events like these are planned for.

“We are bound by our agreement with the CIT not to disclose the cost of hosting those two tournament games,” said Potts. “We did not spend more overall than we had planned, university-wide, as a result of the participation in the CIT. Each year we allocate money for unplanned expenses, which can range from emergencies to opportunities for students.”

The teams’ involvement in the pay-to-play tournament comes at a time where the university is already in the process of restructuring to avoid a budget deficit.

On Wednesday, RMU President Dr. Christopher Howard announced plans to restructure the university’s schools. The reorganization of the schools is part of a university-wide operation to reduce administrative costs, including the elimination of $4-5 million of staff salaries.

In an email statement to RMU Sentry Media, Potts said the university was on track to reach their goal in staff reductions.

“We are on track to realize our goal for reducing our budget for staff salaries and benefits, and we will do so largely through attrition (not filling vacant positions) and voluntary separation agreements,” said Potts.