Nearly four months after the conclusion of the 2014 football season, South Carolina athletics director Ray Tanner received a letter from the SEC accompanied by a check for $729,343.70.
It was the Gamecocks’ share of bowl revenue from the conference, which had compiled slices of each member team’s bowl takes and distributed them throughout the league. It allowed USC to make a small profit off its Independence Bowl appearance, which had initially cost the school over $1 million in expenses. The same process will likely keep the Gamecocks in the black as they head to Thursday’s Birmingham Bowl against South Florida.
Although exact figures for the Birmingham Bowl are not yet known, within the SEC bowl structure the game is on the same tier as the Independence Bowl, in which the Gamecocks defeated Miami to close the 2014 campaign. A review of USC’s expenses for that trip shows the significant amount it takes to send a team and support personnel to even a mid-level bowl, and how conference revenue sharing ensures against losing money on the trip.
It’s just something else to keep in the back of your mind as college football continues the process of rearranging the postseason in the era of playoff expansion.