It’s the time of year when 990 forms are due to the IRS, which means our favorite non-profit (but still making lots of money) athletics conferences are proudly announcing their revenues from the 2012-13 fiscal year.
And then there is this: Sun Belt posts $16.6 million in revenues.
That is, the entire Sun Belt Conference receives nearly $5 million less than most Power Five schools, and the gap grows year by year.
The $16.6 million figure is actually a massive leap from the league’s $11.2 million the previous year, thanks to $1.9 million in BCS revenue, $1.4 million in exit fees from Florida Atlantic and Middle Tennessee, and $1.7 million from a high-water mark of four bowl teams. The Sun Belt’s revenues will grow, too, with a higher payout from the College Football Playoff and new bowl games, but your cable provider isn’t forking over $1 per month per subscriber for the SEC Network, either.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, departing member Western Kentucky led the conference with $800,000 in revenue distributed from the Sun Belt. Most schools received between $500,000 and $600,000. That’s half of Kirby Smart’s salary.
This post isn’t to disparage the Sun Belt, but rather to put in perspective how impressive it is that Sun Belt programs find ways to compete against the Power Five.