SEC to pay member schools $23 million for COVID-19 losses

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey speaks during a press conference after it was announced that the Southeastern Conference Tournament was canceled due to Coronavirus concerns at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn., Thursday, March 12, 2020. Xxx Sec An 031220 008 Jpg Usa Tn

Trying circumstances of the past year led the Southeastern Conference to send $23 million to each of its member schools to help compensate for losses accrued due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 14 schools lost about $45 million on average per athletic program, according to an ESPN report.

Commissioner Greg Sankey spoke about the decision in a statement released Wednesday.

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

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The majority of the money distributed will be paid for in future revenue from media rights. The SEC and ESPN have already reached an agreement on a 10-year TV deal that begins in 2024.

Sankey believes the financial support should be sufficient in helping the conference remain in good standing despite a challenging 2020 season.

“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. “Thanks to years of responsible decision-making and unity, combined with unparalleled success, the SEC and its 14 member universities are uniquely prepared to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and continue building on a remarkable legacy of achievement.”

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SEC schools include Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, MIssissippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt.

–Field Level Media