SEC meetings notes: League's revenue increases 5.3 percent over last year

semerson@ledger-enquirer.comJune 4, 2011 

DESTIN, Fla. -- The national economic news remains rough, but the SEC is still raking in money.

The conference announced on Friday, the final day of its spring meetings, that it will distribute $220 million to its 12 schools - $18.3 million each - for the current fiscal year, which ends Aug. 31. The total is a 5.3 percent increase over last year.

Most of the revenue ($113 million) comes from the football television contracts with CBS and ESPN. The conference earned about the same amount from football bowls ($31.3 million) and its basketball television contracts ($31.1 million).

According to figures released by the SEC, the conference only had $4.1 million to distribute in 1980.

Seven-on-seven restrictions passed

Roster management overshadowed another football issue on the SEC’s agenda this week: The increase in importance of seven-on-seven football teams in football recruiting.

Commissioner Mike Slive and others had expressed concern about a “creep” toward the role that AAU teams and coaches play in basketball recruiting. So the conference voted to prevent schools from hosting seven-on-seven events on their campus.

But the legislation drew a distinction between events and camps, such as the one being hosted by Georgia this weekend. Slive said the main concern was with seven-on-seven coaches, or “third parties.”

“I think there’s a sense of football coaches and by some of us that there’s a creep, and we think it’s in our best interests to do what we can to stop it,” Slive said.

While some of the roster management issues were resisted by coaches, Slive said there was no push-back on the seven-on-seven rules.

“That was unanimous all the way,” Slive said.

Georgia head coach Mark Richt said earlier in the week he supported the limitations. The SEC already had a role about coaches attending seven-on-seven events that are not part of normal camps.

“I think we’ve always tried pretty hard to keep the recruiting process between the student-athlete, their families, their high school coaches,” Richt said. “I think people’s concerns are that when there are third parties as you say that get involved in the recruiting process, it’s not good for college football.”

Basketball changes approved

Athletics directors rubber-stamped the vote by men’s basketball coaches on Wednesday to essentially eliminate divisions. Now the focus turns to the schedule.

Effective immediately, the standings will reflect all 12 teams and no division, and the tournament will be seeded one-through-12. But the schedule for the 2011-12 season will still have the East-West format, since it’s already been set.

The conference will form a committee of coaches and A.D.’s to debate how the schedule will be set up in future and whether to expand it beyond 16 games.

“I think there was a quick, cursory discussion about 22 games,” Slive said. “But the focus I think will be how to schedule, and whether to schedule 16 or 18 games. I think that’s very much on the table.”

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