The Southeastern Conference announced Wednesday it is giving LSU and each of the 13 other league members a $23 million supplemental revenue distribution to help mitigate the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on SEC athletics programs.
The SEC is using future conference revenues to provide the one-time supplement for the regular 2020-21 fiscal year distributions that will be made to SEC athletics programs.
“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. “This supplemental revenue distribution will help ensure each SEC member will continue to provide high levels of support to its student-athletes.”
This one-time supplemental distribution of revenue is designed to help offset a portion of lost revenue that each campus experienced while operating in the COVID-19 environment. Revenue shortfalls varied across SEC members but averaged approximately $45 million per SEC athletics program.
The SEC is using future increases in media rights revenue to facilitate this supplemental distribution to its 14 member schools. Beginning in 2025, the SEC will allocate a portion of the media rights fees to be received by the conference to fund the supplemental distribution. The SEC projects that its annual distribution to each school will still increase in 2025 and beyond, even after a portion of the new revenue is reallocated.
While each athletic department will be permitted to utilize the supplemental funds at its discretion, the expectation is that the supplemental revenue will be used to maintain each school’s historically high standards for academic, athletic, medical, nutritional and mental health support for their student-athletes and help offset the significant costs associated with COVID testing during the 2020-21 athletic year.
“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.