With the SEC set to announce details of its new dedicated 24-hour television network Thursday, South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier is taking the opportunity to again plead the case for paying players in the revenue sports.
The SEC's television network will provide its member institutions with another boost in annual income, and it is an added revenue stream that has become almost a necessity in order to keep pace in the ever-escalating major-conference cash grab (via gogamecocks.com):
"As the commissioner and the presidents and the athletic directors all say, we are going to make a whole lot more money," Spurrier said. "My question is, ‘When are we going to start giving a little bit of it to the performers?' Football and basketball players. It won't do any good probably, but I'm going to still keep yelling for them. They bring in an awful lot of money for all of us."
ESPN is partnering with the SEC on the network, which may at the outset increase payouts to each league school by $1.5 million annually, according to a USA TODAY study back in January. Between the network and the new playoff system, SEC schools could be seeing a significant jump in payouts in the coming years. But as Spurrier laments, the arguments for paying the players responsible for creating much of the profit-generating content continue to gain little traction among the major decision-makers.
Spurrier does appear to have an ally in SEC commissioner Mike Slive, however.
Some financial terms are expected with Thursday's announcement, which will shed some light on what SEC schools can expect in the network's infancy stage. SB Nation's Team Speed Kills also expects that ESPN and the SEC will announce at least one distribution partner; the Big Ten Network and Pac-12 Networks had carriage partners locked in prior to their initial announcements, and the case with the SEC Network figures to be no different.