Navigating the NCAA Guidelines: Playing by the Rules in College Athletics Reporting

The NCAA has released its annual update to the Agreed-Upon Procedures (AUP) Guide, which specifies reporting requirements and related procedures performed on member institutions’ athletics program operating revenues, expenses, and capital.

Higher education institutions that are members of the NCAA must submit their financial data detailing operating revenues, expenses, and capital relating to the intercollegiate athletics program annually. Division I and II institutions must subject the data to agreed-upon procedures conducted by a qualified independent accountant.

Most requirements and footnotes and disclosures to be reported were unchanged. The testing threshold, which dictates the specific revenue and expense categories to be tested, remains at 4.0%. Timely preparation of the Statement is helpful in determining the revenue and expense categories that meet this threshold.

Key Changes to the 2023 Guide

  1. All procedure numbers were updated to follow the category numbering system from the Athletic Department Statement of Revenues and Expenses (the Statement), resulting in the following two procedures being reordered to better align with the Statement:
    • #2 – Direct State or Other Governmental Support (previously #5)
    • #40 – Other Operating Expenses (previously #64)
  2. All procedure titles were updated to match the wording of the Statement, with three procedures receiving subtitles to clarify that those procedures cover multiple Statement categories:
    • #6 – Indirect Institutional Support, which covers Statement categories 6 and 6A
    • #13 Conference Distributions and Conference Distributions of Football Bowl Generated Revenue, which covers Statement categories 13 and 13A
    • #41 – Football Bowl Expenses, which covers Statement procedures 41 and 41A
  3. Procedures related to Excess Transfers to Institution and Conference Realignment Expense (previously #67) have been split into two procedures (#51 and #52, respectively).
  4. Additional language was added to procedures to better clarify revenue and expense items that should be recorded in those categories.
    • References to NCAA Bylaws referenced throughout the Statement categories and procedures in the Guide were changed to reflect the updated structure of the Bylaws (e.g., Division I - Bylaw is now, 20.02.7 is now 20.02.10, etc.)

Revenue and Expense Categories

The NCAA also released guidance via the 2023 NCAA AUP and Financial Reporting FAQ's that describes how certain items should be recorded in the specific revenue and expense categories. For example, FAQ #91 specifies how GASB 87, which went into effect for all public institutions for fiscal years beginning on or after July 1, 2021 could be presented in the Statement.

  • Principal and interest lease payments should be reported in category 34 of the Statement, while depreciation and amortization expense are not.
  • Lease balances are reported in category 52.
  • Assets purchased that will be depreciated over time are reported in category 56.

General Reporting Requirements

Division I institutions must submit the agreed-upon procedures reports annually. Additional procedures and related reporting items exist for Athletic Student Aid and the NCAA’s Compliance Assistance software, Grants-in-Aid, Sports Sponsorship, and Pell Grants for Division I institutions.  Division II institutions must submit the agreed-upon procedures report once every three years.  An institution-wide financial audit will satisfy the requirement, but only if it conforms to the requirements in the NCAA’s AUP guide.

In addition to the results of the AUP testing, other reporting items to be included in the report include:

  • Excess Transfers to Institution. The amount of athletic-related funds for the reporting year that are contributed back to the institution that were not applicable to be counted or are in excess of student fees and direct institutional support.
  • Conference Realignment Expenses. Exit fees, consulting fees, legal fees, signage, advertising, public relations above normal operating expenses.
  • Athletics-Related Capital Expenditures. Costs incurred during the reporting period for athletic-related capital expenditures.
  • The total value at the end of the reporting period of Athletic-Related Debt, Institutional Debt, Athletics-Dedicated Endowments, and Institutional Endowments must be reported.

The Membership Financial Reporting Application, which opens on September 15th of each year and is due on January 15th of the following year, is filed alongside the AUP report. NCAA legislation does not contain a provision under which the deadline may be extended or waived.

Please contact us if you have any questions about the NCAA reporting requirements. We will be happy to coach you along the way!

Authored by Bryant Sanchez, Dallas Dugger and Daniel Graves.



Dan Graves

Dan Graves

Partner, Risk Advisory Services and Higher Education Industry Co-Leader


Dan Graves, CPA, has more than 15 years of experience in public accounting, including 10 years of internal control…

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