The SEC hasn’t won the past two national championships in football, but it’s back on top in the business office.
The conference announced Friday it will distribute $455.8 million this year, meaning each school’s share will be $31.2 million, up from last year’s $20.9 million. It is the highest payout in college sports.
“The ability to provide significant distribution of revenue is more critical than ever for our institutions,” outgoing commissioner Mike Slive said. “This increased revenue is important for our athletics programs to continue to fully support broad-based athletics programs for both male and female student-athletes.”
Slive declined to say how much of the increase came from the development of the SEC Network, which launched in August.
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“Needless to say, the network is extremely successful,” Slive said. “We are excited about the future of the network and we have every reason to believe that it will continue to be very, very successful.”
The revenue will be distributed through either one or two checks mailed to the school, USC athletics director Ray Tanner said.
The total of $455.8 million is the highest in SEC history. The total includes $436.8 million distributed from the conference office, as well as $19.0 million dollars of revenue retained by institutions that participated in 2014-15 bowl games.
The distributions are calculated based on the revenue sharing plan for the 2014-15 fiscal year, which ends August 31, 2015.
As a comparison, the Big 12 announced Friday that its schools will split up a record $252 million in revenue, the ninth year in a row of increases. The revenue is up from $220 million last year.
Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech will get full shares of about $26 million. Newer members West Virginia and TCU get between $23 and $24 million.
“Beginning this year, our schools will fund new costs associated with providing scholarships based on full cost of attendance, enhance lifetime educational opportunities to former student-athletes and they are developing new facilities such as athletic nutrition centers to the benefit of student-athletes,” Slive said.
Slive emphasized the importance that conference revenue distribution plays in offering scholarship opportunities to student-athletes in a wide array of women’ s and men’s sports and the continued ability to compete for championships in those sports. With more than 6,500 student-athletes receiving financial aid on an annual basis in 21 sports sponsored by the SEC, conference schools have won 81 national titles in 19 sports in Slive’s 13 years as commissioner.
The total distribution amount is comprised of revenue generated from television agreements, postseason bowl games, the College Football Playoff, the SEC Football Championship, the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament, NCAA Championships and a supplemental surplus distribution.
Revenues derived by member institutions from their local media packages are not included in the total amount.
Slive also announced Friday that Greg Sankey will take over as commissioner on Monday. His retirement was initially expected to take place after his contract expired on July 31.
The 74-year-old Slive was treated for a recurrence of prostate cancer and underwent back surgery. He said last week he was “feeling better than I’ve felt in a long time.”
Sankey has been his longtime right-hand man in the league office. Slive will remain with the SEC in an advisory role through July and has agreed to serve as a consultant for four years.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.