In the event you get a windfall of about $7 million over what you earned last year, moving up to the $40.4 million range, what would you do with it? To be sure, Alabama and the other Southeastern Conference schools that are going to get that $40.4 million check in the mail from the SEC have plenty of things they can do with it.
For instance, Alabama could hire a marketing firm to handle the chore of raising Tide Pride and ticket prices. Just kidding.
Truth, though, is that SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey announced Thursday that approximately $584.2 million of total revenue was divided among the 14 institutions of the Southeastern Conference for the 2015-16 fiscal year, which ended August 31, 2016.
The total includes $565.9 million (that’s over half a billion dollars) distributed from the conference office, as well as $18.3 million retained by institutions that participated in 2015-16 football bowl games to offset travel and other related bowl expenses.
The average amount distributed from the conference office, excluding bowl money retained by participants, was slightly over $40.4 million per school.
The total revenue for 2015-16 is an increase above the $475.8 million distributed in 2014-15 and the per school distribution represents an increase over the average school distribution of $32.7 million in 2014-15, not including bowl money retained by participants.
“Each of our institutions sponsor from 16 to 22 intercollegiate athletics teams and offer their student-athletes in those sports the highest level of commitment to their athletics and academic experience,” Sankey said. “This distribution from the SEC helps our universities’ athletics programs continue to fully support broad-based opportunities for thousands of female and male student-athletes in all sports.”
More than 5,400 female and male student-athletes across the SEC receive financial aid, and, counting non-scholarship participants, more than 7,800 total student-athletes participate in sports sponsored by SEC institutions.
In addition, the 2015-16 academic year was the first in which SEC schools funded new costs associated with providing scholarships based on a student-athlete’s full cost of attendance while expanding the availability of lifetime educational opportunities to former student-athletes as allowed by the NCAA as a result of action by the Autonomy Five Conferences.
“This revenue distribution provides SEC institutions the flexibility to invest in unique and significant ways that provide positive outcomes across their respective campuses,” Sankey said. “Besides providing superior support in coaching, equipment, training, academic counseling, medical care and life-skills development for student-athletes, athletics programs in the SEC have been known to provide significant financial support to the academic side of their institutions, whether in the direct transfer of funds, in assistance with the construction and renovation of academic facilities or in support of academic scholarship opportunities or academic programs.”
The total distribution amount is comprised of revenue generated from television agreements, post-season bowl games, the College Football Playoff, the SEC Football Championship, the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament, NCAA Championships and a supplemental surplus distribution.
The distribution amount does not include approximately $1 million of academic enhancement payments paid directly from the NCAA and divided equally among the 14 member institutions.