Study Determines Fair Market Salary for College Football Players Is $178,000
A day will come when college athletes start getting treated like the employees that they are and, consequently, start getting paid. The ball is now rolling, and there will be no stopping it. Universities across the nation generated $10.6 billion in revenue in 2012, and the only thing athletes got was a scholarship and a meal plan.
Last year the University of Alabama’s athletics revenues were a whopping $143 million. That’s more than every single team in the NHL, and more than 25 of the 30 teams in the NBA. And Alabama isn’t even the biggest fish in the pond. The University of Texas saw revenues of $165 million, with $109 million coming from football alone.
Every school wants a bigger piece of this pie, too. That’s why schools have been ditching tradition and moving to new conferences. By doing so, they’re trying to increase their revenues with more lucrative TV deals.
So yes, college sports is big business. You may not like it, but that does not mean it is not true. And there is no way the people who do the most important work in this business—the athletes—are going to go on being treated inequitably. Especially not now that we know exactly what their fair share should be.
A study conducted in March by Drexel University and the National College Players Association has determined fair market values for college football and basketball players by divvying up college sports revenues according to the revenue sharing agreements currently used by the NFL and NBA. The numbers are shocking.
The fair market salary for the average football player between 2011 and 2015 is $178,000, and for top players at top schools the number is much higher. For example, from 2011 to 2012, Johnny Manziel had a fair market value of $547,000.
Meanwhile, the average fair market salary for college basketball players is a whopping $375,000, since there are fewer of them to share the revenue.
Obviously, this is not a simple issue. Paying college athletes will pose a myriad of complications, many of which will be extremely problematic. I’m certainly not saying there is any simple solution.
But do you really think athletes are going to see those dollar signs and go on getting paid nothing? There is a College Athletes Players Association now. Northwestern football players are trying to unionize, and the National Labor Relations Board has declared they are employees, not just students. This is happening.