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May 30, 2014

COLLEGE SPORTS: SEC hands out record $309.6M for 2013-14

DESTIN, Fla. — Southeastern Conference revenue remains on the rise. It should make a major jump next year following the launch of the SEC Network.

The SEC will distribute a record $309.6 million in revenue to its 14 member institutions.

Commissioner Mike Slive announced the payout Friday, the final day of the annual SEC meetings.

The average amount received by each school, excluding $16.8 million of bowl revenue, was $20.9 million.

The revenue is generated from football and basketball television contracts, bowl games, the league's football championship game, the league's men's basketball tournament, NCAA championships and supplemental surplus. It has nearly doubled since 2009, when the league doled out $165.9 million to its schools.

It could rise significantly next year, with estimations ranging from $15 million to $20 million because of added television revenue.

"There are some numbers floating around out there, but everything is speculative," Slive said. "We're optimistic. We believe the product is so good. We believe the network is so strong. We believe the network will be national. We believe it will generate revenue as it grows over the next decade, but to speculate as to how much that will add to the revenue through the conference to our institutions is really speculative."

The SEC also passed five proposals Friday.

The most significant change involved an automatic waiver for graduate-school transfers with less than two years of eligibility remaining, a move that should expedite the transfer process.

Previously, the SEC required a waiver for anyone to transfer with less than two years of eligibility remaining. The waiver had to be approved by the conference, essentially causing red tape that football and basketball coaches felt was putting them at a competitive disadvantage.

"I think it's been a factor — not the only factor — in the success of men's basketball and it's being addressed," Auburn basketball coach Bruce Pearl said.

Not everyone agreed.

Florida president Bernie Machen called the graduate-transfer rule "bad."

"I just don't think that it's a rule that the NCAA ought to have at all," Machen said. "If they really wanted to transfer somewhere else, then they should sit out a year. If you didn't have anything to do, you could track and see how many of them completed their grad program. It was put together under the banner of helping the athlete. It's really not. It's just a way for a school to fill a void at a very last moment or a player to get more playing time without sitting out."

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