Once again, Southeastern Conference member schools are going to need deeper pockets to hold their share of revenue from the league office.
The SEC announced Friday that its 14 schools split approximately $627.1 million for the 2017-18 fiscal year which ended Aug. 31. That comes out to about $43.15 million per school but does not even include the $23 million retained by schools that participated in 2017-18 bowl games to offset travel and bowl expenses.
Total revenue is up just over 5 percent from the $596.9 million ($40.9 million per school) in SEC revenue distributed in 2016-17. That amount was only a slight increase in what each school received in 2015-16 ($40.4 million).
“This distribution of revenue to the SEC’s member institutions represents a continued conference-wide commitment to support of our student-athletes in all areas of their college experience,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a news release. “This revenue is essential in providing outstanding support for all of the young people on our campuses through coaching, equipment, training, academic counseling, medical care and life-skills development.”
The SEC generates money primarily through television agreements with CBS and the SEC Network’s parent company, ESPN. The conference also gets revenue from bowl games, the College Football Playoff, the SEC Championship Game, the SEC men's basketball tournament, NCAA championships and a supplemental surplus distribution.
In addition to bowl expense revenue, SEC schools also share in approximately $8.1 million in NCAA and SEC grants.
A major driving factor for SEC revenue distribution continues to be from the SEC Network.
Since the network switched on in August 2014, revenue distribution has increased over 106 percent from $20.9 million for the 2013-14 fiscal year to now.
Overall, SEC revenue distribution has increased every year since 1980.
The conference once again reported that more than 7,800 student-athletes participate in SEC-sponsored sports, with more than 5,400 of them receiving some measure of financial aid. The 2017-18 academic year marked the third year in which SEC members could supplement scholarship aid with stipends, which vary from school to school.
“The revenues generated through SEC athletics programs benefit not only the athletics and academic pursuits of student-athletes but are also instrumental in advancing the academic missions of the Conference’s 14 universities,” Sankey said. “These distributions are designed to provide each university with the flexibility to invest in unique and significant ways that create positive impacts across their respective campuses. Past uses of funds on our campuses have included the direct transfer of funds, assistance with construction and renovation of academic facilities and support of academic scholarship opportunities and academic programs.”