South Carolina Athletics Donates $15 Million to Academics

After lucrative ESPN deal, athletics department extends helping hand to general population.

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The University of South Carolina's athletic department has donated $15 million to the school's academic budget in an effort to alleviate the blow of state cuts, the Daily Gamecock reports. The money will be disbursed over the course of 15 years, and at least half of it will be put into funds for student financial aid.

The Southeastern Conference worked out a multimillion-dollar television contract with ESPN earlier this year, giving the USC athletic department a windfall in profits.

USC's president, Harris Pastides, then approached Athletic Director Eric Hyman, asking for help with the dire academic budget situation. "Based on the historic contract negotiated with ESPN, we thought that this great deal ought to be used in the university's time of need," Pastides said. "This will not only meet athletic needs but academic needs as well."

He added, "I don't mean to give anyone the impression that there was arm-twisting involved. This is money that was earned by the athletics department, but we're all one university."