SEC Gives Each School $23M in 1-Time Disbursement to Offset COVID-19 Impact

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVMay 19, 2021

FILE - In this Dec. 5, 2014, file photo, SEC logo is displayed on the field ahead of the Southeastern Conference championship football game between Alabama and Missouri in Atlanta. The Southeastern Conference distributed an average of $40.9 million to its member schools in the last fiscal year. Commissioner Greg Sankey said Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018, the league divvied $573.8 million in revenue among its 14 members for the fiscal year which ended August 31, 2017. Football bowl teams also kept $23.1 million to cover travel and other expenses. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
AP Photo/John Bazemore, File

The SEC took a step toward helping its 14 member institutions recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey told Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated that the league will distribute $23 million in supplemental revenue to each school in a one-time payment. That is $322 million in total, which the SEC plans on accessing funds from its media rights deal with ESPN that starts in 2024.

The league plans to borrow from its future earnings that will come from that deal and then repaying what it borrowed in installments that will begin in 2025.

According to Dellenger, SEC schools lost an average of $45 million in revenue during the past year with the inability to sell football and basketball tickets in traditional numbers and new costs such as COVID-19 testing.

The league also distributed $45.5 million per school with its original 2019-20 plan.

As more people are vaccinated and some restrictions are lifted, the league could be looking at a 2021 football season that is closer to normal expectations. South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner told reporters his school plans on having 100 percent fan capacity during the upcoming campaign.

Other schools following suit would allow them to generate millions of dollars in revenue they were unable to during the 2020 season.

Despite the decrease in revenue, it was still a successful year on the field and court for the SEC. Alabama won the College Football Playoff national championship, while South Carolina made the Final Four of the NCAA women's basketball tournament.


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