In Year 1, SEC Network already printing money for league schools

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The SEC may have had a rough go of it with the high-profile games in the 2014 postseason, but fiscally the conference is still rolling in it.

The “it,” of course, is money, something that the league has essentially been printing over the last several years on the football side. An additional printing press was added last year with the launch of the SEC Network.

That endeavor, though, wasn’t expected to realize a profit until at least Year 3 after the launch. A funny thing happens with projections sometimes: they’re off. Way off in this instance.

During a meeting with both the media and the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee Friday, South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner revealed that the SEC Network is expected to pull in a profit of $5 million its first year — per school. And even more to the point seven months after the network’s debut, Tanner called that $5 million per school figure as “conservative.”

In other words, it completely blew the pre-launch projections completely out of the financial stratosphere.

“This is my third academic year, so I was on the ground floor when (the idea of) the SEC Network was launched,” Tanner said according to Rivals.com. “Right after I became AD this was formulated in our meetings that we were going to do this SEC Network. So, I was there from the beginning.

“You sit there and listen to the proposals and programming going forward and the dollars involved, but as they said, it could be Year 3 before we realized any financial gain. But when we launched and distributors started getting on board, we said maybe two years. Before you knew it, we had enough to realize a profit in Year 1.”

The recruiting website writes that, “[i]f the $5 million figure holds, each SEC school should expect a payout of approximately $26 million when the league conducts its annual spring meetings in Destin, Fla., in late May.”

In 2014, the total revenue distributed by the SEC to its members schools was $309.6 million. That broke down to an average of $22.1 million per school, over $8 million more than was distributed per school five years earlier ($13.8 million in 2009).  Thus, in a span of just six years, the SEC will have nearly doubled the annual payout to its membership — a payout that will do nothing but grow moving forward.

It was expected that, within a handful of years, the SEC Network would add low eight-figure sums into each member’s coffers. Based on the roaring success the network has been thus far, it might be time to speed up that projection as well.

Miami fires offensive coordinator Josh Gattis after 1 season

josh gattis fired
Reinhold Matay/USA TODAY Sports
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Miami fired offensive coordinator Josh Gattis on Friday, ending the former Broyles Award winner’s time with the Hurricanes after only one season.

The school announced the move in a one-sentence press release, with no other detail: “Josh Gattis has been relieved of his duties as offensive coordinator, Miami head football coach Mario Cristobal announced Friday,” read the release, sent from a university spokesman.

The Hurricanes went 5-7 in Gattis’ lone season. He was brought in by Miami only a few weeks after winning the 2021 Broyles Award – given to the nation’s top assistant coach – while serving as Michigan’s offensive coordinator and helping the Wolverines reach the College Football Playoff.

But Miami’s offense, for a number of reasons, failed to meet expectations in 2022. Part of that was injuries; starting quarterback Tyler Van Dyke battled a shoulder injury, and the Hurricanes turned to Jake Garcia – who has since transferred – and Jacurri Brown for much of the season.

Miami scored 100 points in its first two games last fall, overpowering Bethune-Cookman and Southern Miss. The Hurricanes averaged only 18.3 points the rest of the way, and finished the year 5-0 in games where the defense allowed no more than 14 points – but 0-7 when opponents scored more than 14.

Miami was 86th nationally in total offense last season, averaging 367.1 yards per game, and 97th in scoring offense.

Gattis played at Wake Forest and worked at North Carolina, Western Michigan, Vanderbilt, Penn State, Alabama and Michigan before coming to Miami.

Audit: LSU discovered $1M overpayment to Kelly in 2022

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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BATON ROUGE, La. – LSU accidentally overpaid Tigers football coach Brian Kelly by $1 million during the first year of a 10-year, $100 million contract, but discovered the error and has moved to correct it, the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s office said Wednesday.

Kelly was overpaid $1,001,368 in supplemental payments in 2022 because duplicate payments made both to Kelly’s LLC and to the coach directly.

The double payments began in May and continued until LSU officials detected the errors in November.

“LSU management and the head football coach have enacted an adjusted payment schedule so the amount of overpayment will be recouped by the conclusion of fiscal year 2023,” the Legislative Auditor’s report stated.

Kelly, who previously coached at Notre Dame for 12 seasons, was hired by LSU after the 2021 season, when the Tigers went 6-7 for its first losing season since 1999.

LSU exceeded expectations in Kelly’s first season in Baton Rouge, winning the SEC West Division and finishing 10-4 after a 63-7 victory over Purdue in the Citrus Bowl.