Though college athletics hopes to return to a sense of normalcy in 2021, the financial fallout of COVID-19 has still had a widespread effect. Even the ultra-rich SEC took a hit, but the conference has announced it is supplementing an additional $23 million to each of its 14 members for the 2020-21 fiscal year to help mitigate any financial shortcomings caused by the pandemic.
"The extraordinary circumstances produced by the global pandemic have presented colleges and universities with an unprecedented disruption to their programs and budgets," said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey in a statement. "This supplemental revenue distribution will help ensure each SEC member will continue to provide high levels of support to its student-athletes."
In all, the conference is allocating $322 million in relief to its members, which is being borrowed from "future increases in media rights revenue." In other words, the SEC knows it will be more than able to pay back that money in a few years when its new TV deal kicks in. The SEC is the only conference to have announced additional revenue distribution to its members due to COVID-19.
Revenue shortfalls among conference members varied, with some losing as much as $70 million, but averaged out to approximately $45 million per program. In particular, the SEC noted the extraordinarily high costs of testing its athletes for COVID-19 multiple times per week -- at least $2 million per program, Sankey told Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated.