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How the NCAA Can Leverage Their CRM Strategy

This week, we look at the NCAA's CRM usage, customer service policies, and customer-facing business processes. We will try to identify how the NCAA leverages its CRM.

What Is The NCAA?

The NCAA operates as a nonprofit organization representing 1098 colleges and universities (also referred to as member institutions), and a half million student-athletes. The National Collegiate Athletic Association is a member-led organization dedicated to college athletes' (also referred to as student-athletes) well-being and lifelong success (Vcortez 2020).

What is CRM?

CRM (customer relations management) refers to the activities, strategies, and technologies that companies use to manage their interactions according to a 2017 Forbes article written by Jason Kulpa (Kulpa, 2017).

Identifying the NCAA's Top Customer

As a nonprofit organization, the NCAA has multiple customers and various channels utilized to reach their target market. On its face, The NCAA's top customer is the member institutions they represent. Yet, According to their financial records, the NCAA's real priority is the media companies who bid for the exclusive rights to air the NCAA's top championship events on national TV (Vcortez, 2020).

How the NCAA Can Leverage CRM

According to a 2020 Nutshell blog post written by Cody Slingerland, the author explains the benefits of CRM usage within a nonprofit organization. The author describes the benefits of Nutshell, which can offer its customers the ability to adapt its CRM tools to their nonprofit business. One of the ways he describes involves donor tracking for nonprofits and donor engagement. The same tools used to measure donor engagement can also be used to measure the media organizations who pay the NCAA for media rights (Slingeland, 2020).

The importance of measuring the corporations who purchase media rights from the NCAA revolves around maximizing value. The Member institutions that the NCAA represents receive money from the NCAA for participating in their championship events. For example, the NCAA informed its member institutions that they would be reducing their 2020 direct distribution payout from $600M to $225M due to the cancelation of March Madness caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. March Madness generates $800M of the NCAA's $1B annual revenue.

The value that March Madness provides is worth nearly $1B to the NCAA. The usage of advanced CRM metrics helps the NCAA leverage its value allowing them to present their market reach and engagement.

The NCAA's Customer Service Facing Business Processes

The NCAA must present itself to varying types of customers, member institutions, student-athletes, and corporations. Its most prominent customer in terms of accountability would be its member institutions who employ the NCAA to govern their athletics. The customer-facing process involves board meetings involving member institution athletic directors and athletic department personnel. The NCAA must answer the questions and adhere to the needs voted on by the member institutions. The importance of advanced CRM can help the NCAA leverage and balance its customer relationships (n.d.).

NCAA's Customer Service Policy

The NCAA's customer strategic plan operates as their customer service policy. The strategic plan outlines core values and initiatives as it relates to each of their customers. The strategic plan summarizes the NCAA"s relationship with its member institutions, student-athletes, and corporations.


The benefits of deploying an advanced CRM tool far outweighs the negatives. As it pertains to the NCAA and how they can leverage the use of CRM within their nonprofit organization is paramount to their success. Because the NCAA must leverage multiple high profile relationships at a time, they need to have access to in-depth analytical data to leverage their relationships properly.

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Kulpa, J. (2017, October 24). Council Post: Why Is Customer Relationship Management So Important? Retrieved from

SLINGERLAND, C. (2020, June 23). Comparing the 7 Best CRMs for Non-Profits. Retrieved from

Vcortez. (2020, February 10). What is the NCAA?

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