A March 2014 study conducted by Drexel University and the National College Players Association has found that the annual fair market value of an average college football player between 2011 and 2015 is $178,000, per Mark Coba of NBC News:
The March survey, from the National College Players Association and Drexel University, said that the projected fair market value of the average college football player is $178,000 per year from 2011 to 2015, while the projected market value for the average college basketball player for the same time is $375,000.
The report also said that football players with the top 10 highest estimated fair market values, like Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, might be worth as much as $547,000, during the year 2011 to 2012.
The NCPA was founded by Ramogi Huma, who joined forces with Kain Colter to form the College Athletes Players Association earlier this year and recently won a huge victory when the National Labor Relations Board deemed Northwestern football players were employees of—not just students at—the university, according to ESPN.com.
However, it is important to note that pay-for-play is not one of CAPA's primary, explicit goals. The organization argued in January for "cost of attendance" stipends and the right to "be compensated for commercial sponsorships consistent with evolving NCAA regulations," per Teddy Grenstein of the Chicago Tribune.
"A lot of people will think this is all about money; it’s not,” Colter said at the time. "We’re asking for a seat at the table to get our voice heard."
These newly published numbers are staggering, however, and given Huga's connection to both the NCPA and CAPA, it is reasonable to think they might be used in pro-compensation arguments in the near future.
Here are some other important findings from the report, published on the NCPA's official website:
- The average full athletic scholarship at an FBS school left “full” players with a scholarship shortfall (out-of-pocket expenses) of $3285 during the 2011-12 school year.
- FBS football and men’s basketball players would receive full athletic scholarships plus an additional $6 billion between 2011-15 if not for the NCAA’s prohibition of a fair market.
- The lost value over a four-year career for the average FBS football and men’s basketball player is $456,612 and $1,063,307, respectively.
- The lost value over a four-year career for the average football and men’s basketball player in the six BCS conferences is $715,000 and $1.5 million, respectively.
- University of Texas football players will be denied approximately $2.2 million, incur scholarship shortfalls of over $14,000, and live below the federal poverty line by $784 per year between 2011-15.
Like so many developments since the formation of CAPA in late-January, it remains to be seen how, exactly, these numbers will be used. The association is still in its early phases, teaching itself how it will operate and whom it will preside over.
Still, it seems like the days of unpaid college athletes are just about numbered. The earning potential is too big to ignore.
"The bidding war for athletes would likely be in the millions," said Ellen Staurowsky, a professor of sports management at Drexel University and co-author of the report, according to Coba's story.
For how long can we not address those numbers?
Follow Brian Leigh on Twitter: @BLeighDAT