The drama of college football realignment has reared its ugly head again this week because the Pac-12 got a new commissioner, and well it’s the offseason and this is how we pass the time. And while there’s no indication anything will happen on this front, one thing I’ve always believed: Missouri regrets leaving the Big 12 Conference.
Heck, Mizzou is coming back to the Big 12 next year, but for wrestling only.
But on Wednesday, we found out that the SEC is dishing out $23 million to each school to help with pandemic-related shortages within athletic departments. The conference said it is using future conference revenues to provide the one-time supplement for the regular 2020-21 fiscal year distributions and the schools will be allowed to use the extra funds at their discretion.
The SEC is using future increases in media rights revenue to make this happen. SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said the immediate financial support will help programs address current challenges they are facing while also ensuring each program remains well-positioned for future success, adding, “The extraordinary circumstances produced by the global pandemic have presented colleges and universities with an unprecedented disruption to their programs and budgets. This supplemental revenue distribution will help ensure each SEC member will continue to provide high levels of support to its student-athletes.”
Granted, the Big 12 could do something like this. But the reality is the SEC remains the most cash-rich conference in college athletics and has more flexibility than the rest of the Power 5 to pull something like this off. The SEC said starting in 2025 it will allocate a portion of the media rights fees that the conference receives to fund the supplemental distribution.
It’s an arms race in college football that never ends and the Big 12 can’t get left holding the bag. That’s why if conference expansion is right for the conference, it can’t get caught falling behind like 10 years ago when the conference almost completely fell apart. They’re in much better shape this time around with Bob Bowlsby, but it just takes one domino to fall for the entire thing to collapse.