SEC gives extra $23 million to each school because of COVID

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FILE – In this March 11, 2020, file photo, Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey announces that fans will not be allowed in the arena to watch NCAA college basketball games in the SEC tournament in Nashville, Tenn. After the Power Five conference commissioners met Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020, to discuss mounting concern about whether a college football season can be played in a pandemic, players took to social media to urge leaders to let them play. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The Southeastern Conference has given its 14 member schools $23 million each to help offset the financial impact of COVID-19 on their athletic programs.

The league announced the supplemental revenue distribution Wednesday. The SEC said it plans to use future conference revenues from increased media rights fees to pay for the one-time supplement to the 2020-21 fiscal year payouts.

“The extraordinary circumstances produced by the global pandemic have presented colleges and universities with an unprecedented disruption to their programs and budgets,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said. “This supplemental revenue distribution will help ensure each SEC member will continue to provide high levels of support to its student-athletes.”

SEC members averaged some $45 million in revenue shortfalls because of the pandemic, though amounts varied, the league said.

The SEC said it will begin allocating a portion of those media rights fees starting in 2025 to pay for the supplemental distributions. The league projects its annual distribution to each school will still rise after that.

“This immediate financial support will help our athletics programs address some of the current challenges they are facing while also ensuring each program remains well-positioned for future success,” Sankey said.

(Story via The Associated Press)

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