SEC schools receive $23M for virus shortfalls

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The premier conference in college sports announced on Wednesday that it had sent financial aid in excess of $20 million to its member schools, in a bid to help the colleges and universities cover losses incurred during the global pandemic.

Greg Sankey, president of the powerhouse SEC, said the $23 million that each of the 14 institutions received was necessary due to the "extraordinary circumstances" brought about by the coronavirus crisis.

SEC schools lost upwards of $45 million each in revenues in 2020 due to "disruptions" in athletic department budgets, Sankey said, while a statement from the conference cited the "significant costs" of regularly testing student-athletes. Funds may be used at each school's discretion, Sankey said.

"This supplemental revenue distribution will help ensure each SEC member will continue to provide high levels of support to its student-athletes," he added.

SEC football schools played relatively heavier schedules in 2020 compared to many other conferences around the country, some playing as many as 12 and 13 games including the playoffs. Despite forging ahead with the season, some programs staged their games with significantly limited fan capacity, curbing attendance at the massive stadiums, some of which can seat as many as 100,000 spectators.

The $322 million advance will be paid from future revenues from the league's lucrative media rights deal with ESPN, which is slated to officially kick in, in 2024.

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