Why LSU OC Cam Cameron's Contract Is a Sign of the SEC's Financial Future

Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterFebruary 21, 2013

LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron
LSU offensive coordinator Cam CameronRob Carr/Getty Images

When LSU announced Cam Cameron as its new offensive coordinator on Friday, it wasn't much of a shock. After all, the rumor had been bouncing around the Internet for a few weeks.

However, a few heads turned on Wednesday when the details of Cameron's contract with the Tigers were released.

The former offensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens—who was unceremoniously fired in the middle of the Ravens' Super Bowl championship season—received a three-year deal worth a total of $3.4 million, according to a release from the university.

The dollar figure itself is significant, and it puts Cameron in the upper echelon of assistant coaches in terms of average annual salary.

However, it's how Cameron's salary is broken down that's really significant, as it is an indication of what to expect from all SEC teams in the immediate future. He will be paid $600,000 in 2013, $1.3 million in 2014 and $1.5 million in 2015.

The heavily back-loaded contract suggests that LSU expects to have a cash injection in the near future. That injection will likely be in the form of a revised SEC media rights deal and the creation of a 24-hour SEC cable network similar to the Big Ten Network.

The addition of Texas A&M and Missouri to the SEC added market value to the media package, which triggered a look-in clause to renegotiate the 15-year deals the SEC signed with CBS and ESPN before the 2009 football season. SEC commissioner Mike Slive hoped to have the deals finalized by the end of 2012, but that hasn't happened yet.

Included in the deal will likely be a cable network that hits the air before the 2014 season. The specifics of how the network will be formatted is still up in the air. Regardless, it's sure to bring a windfall to the SEC offices in Birmingham, Ala.

The SEC paid out an average of $20.1 million to its 12 member institutions during the 2011-12 season and needed to generate $40 million in revenue in 2012-13 to match that number now that Texas A&M and Missouri are in the conference, according to AL.com.

Once the media rights deal is complete and the cable network hits the air, the payouts are sure to skyrocket on an annual basis. USA Today projects that the SEC will distribute anywhere from $10-14 million more per team than it did in 2011-12 once the renegotiations are complete.

That's just from the conference deal, which has nothing to do with how the revenue from the new four-team playoff is distributed.

That explains why LSU felt that it was necessary to back-load Cameron's contract, and it is certainly a sign of things to come.

The SEC has been at the forefront of leading the charge of increasing the pay of assistant coaches. That trend will continue in the not-too-distant future. 

The future looks even brighter for the nation's top college football conference.