No, it’s not true that the 12 fortunate teams residing in the Southeastern Conference print money along with season tickets. But they are the perfect example of the rich getting richer in college athletics. Literally — year after year after year.
Last Friday, the SEC office announced that the league’s schools would split $220 million in its revenue-sharing plan. For fiscally minded fans, that’s the highest total in league history.
That staggering figure comes from several spigots of revenue: $113 million from football television; $31.3 million from bowls; $31.1 million from basketball television; and $15.3 million from the SEC football championship game. And those are only the main sources.
Smaller schools and their respective leagues, such as Jacksonville State and the Ohio Valley Conference, exist in a different economic stratosphere. They’re incomparable Southern siblings.
This year, each SEC school will receive an average of $18.3 million in SEC revenue — regardless of whether their teams (namely football and men’s basketball) helped drive the cash flow. In this formula, it doesn’t matter if you’re Auburn, which won the BCS national title in football, or Vanderbilt, which won just two of its 12 games.
What matters is being part of the SEC club.
And makes us wonder: Think Georgia Tech wishes it still played in the SEC? Or, think Texas A&M laments that last year’s conference shuffling didn’t bring it into the SEC’s lucrative alliance?
Life is indeed good in the SEC, where the green tint of revenue is as abundant as national titles in football.
SEC annual revenue distribution
• 1980: $4.1 million.
• 1990: $16.3 million.
• 2000: $73.2 million.
• 2010: $209 million.
• 2011: $220 million.
— Source: SEC