The player compensation debate is slowly but surely coming to a head in college football, and to aid us in that inevitable conversation, the folks at Business Insider have created a metric that estimates what each school's average player is roughly worth.
Per the report, which used data from AL.com, a University of Texas of player is worth the most in America, with a Fair Market Value of $578,000.
Here's the rest of the top 10:
In news that should shock no one, six of the top 10 teams come from America's richest and most high-profile conference, the SEC. But in news that should shock most, the average player at every school in the top 25 is worth more than $190,000.
Here's how Business Insider came up with the Fair Market Value metric, in the words of report author Cork Gaines:
Fair Market Value1 was calculated for each of the 25 football programs that generated the most revenue in 2012. Using the NFL's most recent collective bargaining agreement in which the players receive a minimum of 47% of all revenue, we then divided that value by the 85 scholarship players.
Using this method we can estimate that the average college football player at the University of Texas is worth $578,000 per year. Now consider that in 2010-11, Texas spent $3.2 million on scholarships for football players, just 3.2% of all revenue, or about $37,600 per scholarship player.
Sufficient to say, college football players generate a lot of money.
But for whom? That's the big and unsettling question. Tracing the money trail of all that cash is a long and tedious process; all we really know is that none of it ends up with the players.
If and when the NCAA finally does embrace the notion of player compensation, it will, obviously, not deal with numbers of this magnitude. Nobody—not even the staunchest, most radical supporter of pay-for-play—is suggesting that college athletes should see six figures for their effort.
But with that much money being generated by the football players at these schools, it seems more and more ludicrous that none of it ends up in their pocket.
They get a comped education, which shouldn't be taken for granted in the slightest, but their sacrifice creates disproportionate revenue for people who contribute far less to the final product.
These numbers only help fuel the argument for NCAA reform.