SEC says it sent each school $23M to make up for financial losses related to COVID-19
The conference estimates an average shortfall of $45 million per athletic program.
"The extraordinary circumstances produced by the global pandemic have presented colleges and universities with an unprecedented disruption to their programs and budgets," SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement. "This supplemental revenue distribution will help ensure each SEC member will continue to provide high levels of support to its student-athletes."
The $322 million distribution will be paid for from future revenues generated through media rights, beginning in 2025. The SEC said it expects its annual distributions in 2025 and beyond to continue to increase even after a portion is used to fund the one-time payment.
A new 10-year deal between the SEC and ESPN will begin in 2024.
The conference said in a statement that each school can use its one-time distribution at its own discretion, albeit with the expectation that it would help "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."