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National College Football Writer

SEC announces $20.9 million average payout per school

DESTIN, Fla. — The SEC announced Friday a record-high average payout of $20.9 million per school in 2013-14.

The SEC's $309.6 million distribution to 14 schools, while astronomical compared to its $165.9 million payout in 2009, translates to only a $200,000 increase per school from last year's announcement. That's the smallest SEC increase during the conference's run of eight straight appearances in the football national championship game.

Once last year's finances were completed, SEC schools averaged $20.9 million in 2012-13, which was the first academic year with Texas A&M and Missouri, according to the SEC's most recent federal tax return.

The Big 12, where Texas A&M and Missouri used to play, announced Friday that eight of its schools will receive $23 million this year and newcomers West Virginia and TCU will get nearly $14 million. The SEC's payouts are expected to eventually increase more after the launch of the SEC Network, which wouldn't have occurred without the SEC expanding.

The amount of new revenue is dependent upon distribution of the network, which launches Aug. 14. ESPN and SEC officials say they are optimistic the network will have full distribution. DISH and AT&T U-Verse have signed agreements.

"We're not concerned at this point," said Justin Connolly, ESPN senior vice president for college networks programming. "If you look back, not just with conference networks but networks as a whole, often times distribution holes are filled toward the end."

SEC schools are spending money now to build infrastructure for the SEC Network with the expectation of a large payoff down the road. Mississippi State president Mark Keenum said he is "very optimistic" about seeing a significant revenue increase at some point.

The SEC Network “will generate revenue as it grows over the next decade,” SEC commissioner Mike Slive said. “But to speculate how much it will add to the conference really is speculative.”

The SEC's 2013-14 distribution included $292.8 million from the conference office and $16.8 million of contracted revenue retained from bowl games. The $20.9 million payout doesn't include the bowl money retained by schools and $1 million from an NCAA academic fund that gets distributed to the SEC's 14 members.

How much has the SEC's wealth grown? Only five years ago, before new television deals with ESPN and CBS, the SEC distributed $11 million per school.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby told reporters Friday that the Big 12 will be distributing more than $40 million per school by the end of its TV contract in the next decade.

The Big Ten is expected to distribute $27 million to its members this year, according to the Lafayette Journal & Courier. The article said the Big Ten projects 12 of its 14 schools to receive about $44.5 million in 2017-18 when a new television deal starts.

Based on federal tax returns, the Pac-12 moved ahead of every conference in 2012-13 with $334 million of total revenue, according to USA Today Sports. For 2012-13 total revenue totals, the Big Ten reported $318.4 million and the SEC listed $314.5 million.


Jon Solomon is a national college football reporter with CBSSports.com. Solomon joined CBS in 2014 after covering college football at The Birmingham News/AL.com for eight years. He previously was a Clemson beat writer for The (Columbia, S.C.) State and The Anderson (S.C.) Independent-Mail.
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