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University of Mississippi gains big from membership in Southeastern Conference

An old 1980s American Express advertisement said that "membership has its privileges" and nothing could be more true for the University of Mississippi.

The Southeastern Conference announced on February 2 that $596.9 million of total revenue was divided between the conference's 14 schools. For the University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University, that adds up to about $41 million apiece.

That number has increased greatly since 2007, when the conference shared more than $122 million among the member schools. This year, that total increased to $596 million, thanks to the conference's TV rights deals with CBS and ESPN plus income from the College Football Playoff.

Next week: Increasing SEC revenues help Mississippi State University

REVENUE: SEC revenues paid out to the 14 member schools has increased dramatically since 2007. Graph by Steve Wilson

The University of Mississippi's athletic department's budget in fiscal 2018 was more than $112 million and the department is largely self-sustaining. Of that total, only $873,000 was contributed from the school, with none of that coming from taxpayer funds.

Compared with 2013, that's an 80 percent increase in the athletic budget, which was more than $62 million. The football team alone had its revenues increase from more than $41 million in 2013 to $62 million in fiscal 2017, an increase of 51 percent.

SEC revenue represented 27.7 percent of the athletic department's revenue, tax deductible donations to the athletic department represented 19.3 percent of revenue and football ticket sales represented 17.5 percent. Fees charged to all students to support the athletic department only adds up to more than $1.9 million or just 1.69 percent of the budget.

Coaching salaries (more than $25 million) represent 22 percent of expenses for fiscal 2018, while service on the $112 million in debt owed for the building of a new basketball arena and improvements to other facilities was $11.8 million or 10.45 percent of expenses. Scholarships for all Ole Miss athletes was more than $12 million or 10.8 percent.

Compared with 2013, the biggest increases on the expense side are coaching salaries (up 78 percent from more than $14 million) and scholarships (up 64.8 percent from $7.4 million).

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