Those of you who don’t appreciate the nuance of the argument some of us make in favor of letting student-athletes’ compensation be reached in the context of an open market ought to give this article a peek. In it, the author posits what such compensation might look like at college football’s twenty most profitable programs if revenues were shared in a manner similar to how they’re distributed in the NFL.
We calculated the Fair Market Value of college football players at the 20 most profitable programs using data provided by the Department of Education. Using the NFL’s most recent collective bargaining agreement in which the players receive a minimum of 47% of all revenue, each school’s football revenue was split between the school and the athletes with the players’ share divided evenly among the 85 scholarship players.
Using this method, we can estimate that the average college football player at the University of Texas is worth $671,173 per year (up from $622,104 last year) based on the program’s $121.4 million in annual football revenue. That is more than $130,000 ahead of any other school, with the University of Alabama second, at $536,485 per year. Overall, the average Football Bowl Subdivision (Division I-A) player is worth $163,869 per year (up from $149,569 a year ago) with the average football team taking in more than $29 million in revenue each year.
At $479,506 per player, Georgia is sixth on the list. It would be kind of amusing to watch Greg McGarity’s hand shake as he signed those checks, no?
I’m not pointing this out to advocate that Georgia should be showing its kids that kind of money. It does, however, provide some contextual rebutting to the argument that paying tuition, room and board and a COA stipend is more than fair treatment. At least some of you should better understand why some student-athletes say what they do about the money rolling in to the big programs.
One other thing worth mentioning is something Johnny Manziel brought up a few years ago. Isn’t there a point on the financial scale where student-athlete compensation hits a sweet spot such that players’ incentive to leave school early for the NFL for the promise of a real paycheck is significantly reduced? Wouldn’t that be a good thing if you’re a college football fan?