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Report: Market value for college football player is $178,000 per year

Johnny Manziel

The latest buzz from the union movement sweeping the collegiate athletics nation has led to a new batch of fair market value numbers for college athletes at big time universities. The fair market value for an average college football player is $178,000 per year according to a report put together by the National College Players Association and Drexel University. That figure is estimated using data from 2011 through projected data for 2015.

“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. “However, I think it all depends on whether or not a players’ association ends up representing the teams and players. The salaries could be effectively bargained to have some sort of minimum guaranteed salary for all.”

The fair market value of a football player is almost $200,000 less than that of a basketball player. The NCPA and Drexel estimated the fair market value for a college basketball player is $375,000 per year. The numbers can vary depending on the player of course. Former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel would have been worth an estimated $547,000 in 2011 and 2012 according to this most recent report. The top ten athletes in football would command a higher value, which would make sense if free agency in professional sports is any indication.

Of course, getting paid is far down the list of goals for the College Athletes Players Association movement ignited by football players at Northwestern. The goals of unionization are more about getting a voice heard by the players, although being paid is certainly a more long-term objective. Regardless, the movement is opening eyes around the business world.

“People are missing the point on all this,” said David Hollander, professor of hospitality, tourism and sports management at New York University. “It’s not whether we should pay college athletes but that if you are an employee and your job is to play sports, than you should get paid.”

You can read the full report filed by NBC News.

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26 Responses to “Report: Market value for college football player is $178,000 per year”
  1. ttalarico says: Apr 14, 2014 2:53 PM

    So if they are employees and are compensated with a tuition and room and board paid and other expenses, they would need to pay taxes on that. So lets say if they played for Northwestern, they would be liable for the taxes on :
    The cost of attendance for the 2014-2015 academic year for students in university housing or off-campus apartments:

    Tuition: $46,836
    Fees (Health $200, ASG $168, Athletic $47): $415
    Room & Board: $14,389
    Books & Supplies: $1,914
    Personal Expenses: $1,965
    Loan Fee: $35
    Transportation: varies
    Total: $65,554

    This is off the NW website.

    Just saying…..

  2. dprouse says: Apr 14, 2014 2:59 PM

    So, what is a third string guard at Louisiana Tech worth?

    Inevitably, this discussion goes to players like Braxton Miller, Clowney, Johnny Football, etc., and neglects the vast majority of players who are in an entirely different boat. Those players benefit tremendously from the value of the free tuition, room and board, which runs 40k-50k a year at many FBS schools. There aren’t too many 18 year olds who can walk out of high school and start earning 50k a year.

    I’m not saying that the NCAA couldn’t use some reform, but there a lot of factors and moving parts to consider. This looks at only one of them.

  3. term3186 says: Apr 14, 2014 3:07 PM

    Depends on who you ask. According to some, 178K on average is too low. Check out the research paper “College Athletes Everywhere Just Wanna Be Free”. According to economists, the average major college football player is worth $435K, and the average college men’s basketball player is 587K. Obviously this number increases for bigger schools – Alabama football players are worth $992K, and at the top are Texas Longhorns with a value of $1.1M.

  4. 10kmp says: Apr 14, 2014 3:11 PM

    At Stanford, for e.g., that would be minus about 62k annually in tuition/room/board/fees. Add to that taxes on 178k, or about 40k. So far, out of 178K, players are left with approximately 75,000.00. Now, they have to attend class and stay eligible, pay for their own food/clothes/utilities/health insurance, etc. Why not just go to the CFL, play professionally, and not be concerned/bothered with the charade of school. Be careful what you wish for… you just might find that what you already have is better. Considering the VAST majority of these players will NEVER play a single down in the NFL, their current deal – a scholarship and a free life experience at the school of their choice – is the better option…

  5. thraiderskin says: Apr 14, 2014 3:12 PM

    Damn… good luck trying to walk on with that much money at stake

  6. thraiderskin says: Apr 14, 2014 3:28 PM

    Mr. McGuire, you don’t actually believe that getting paid is that “far down the list of goals,” do you? This was and is about money. While there are some good/admirable things, like health care protection, I’m confident they take a back burner to the money. At this point, all anyone is seeing is the money.

  7. friarjack61 says: Apr 14, 2014 3:33 PM

    What is the value of a senior, majoring in Marketing, having a GPA of 3.9 out of 4.0 ?

    Football player, starting Junior, majoring in Sports Communication, with a GPA of 1.6 ?

    Putting a dollar value on jocks, is a farce. If the NFL/NBA want to continue to draft uneducated classmen, let them but, the schools should increase the academic requirements for eligibility That would eliminate those who have no interest in attending classes, and thus ending with student athletes, instead of jocks. The playing fields would be level, if all schools raised their standards……
    IF the pros want jocks, let the start a minor league like baseball. NO English course requirements in the minors……

  8. germanflats13a38 says: Apr 14, 2014 3:40 PM

    What is the value of the sports trading they receive?

  9. germanflats13a38 says: Apr 14, 2014 3:40 PM

    Training not trading.

  10. psly2124 says: Apr 14, 2014 4:05 PM

    Union leaders are lower then politicians and lawyers. Scum of the earth. Dripping in Marxism an communism

  11. chc4 says: Apr 14, 2014 4:07 PM

    Hilarious. All this according to the union itself? That’s like asking Scott Boras what one of his clients is worth.

  12. auburntigers34 says: Apr 14, 2014 4:17 PM

    Their math is flawed. After men’s college football and basketball teams cover the expenses of Title IX and men’s sports teams that operate at a loss, what’s left? It sure isn’t anything close to the number that they’re throwing out.

    Are booster donations part of this revenue that they’re trying to divide? Those donations will dry up quickly when it’s allocated to payroll, instead of facilities and scholarships.

    NBC seems to really be pushing this union garbage. Florio’s even made it his latest and lamest crusade.

  13. musketmaniac says: Apr 14, 2014 4:36 PM

    University greed, and a good hitler dick joke.

  14. willjasper says: Apr 14, 2014 7:17 PM

    I just don’t see an issue with college players getting paid when there are coaches out there making millions and millions of dollars off of their dedication to the game.

    Nor do I see an issue with college players getting paid when school A.D.’s are getting bonuses for team and individual accomplishments from all sports.

    The NCAA has made this about money by derailing any chance the players have to make money off of their work while in college.

  15. beerbudsnbevo says: Apr 14, 2014 7:19 PM

    Once the players begin to use the lawyers to cut corners, the quality of college football will fall.

    I like college football way more than pros, but this is gonna hurt it.

    Could really see a lot of kids getting screwed also, kids that would have made the cut and got a ride, but won’t now due to budgets getting tightened…

    Kids that could have gotten that free education, but won’t now thanks to greedy Union lawyers.

  16. beerbudsnbevo says: Apr 14, 2014 7:20 PM

    I don’t mind the players getting a little bit of cheddar, but when the Unions get involved, it’s all down hill from there.

  17. willjasper says: Apr 14, 2014 7:31 PM

    beerbudsnbevo says: Apr 14, 2014 7:20 PM

    I don’t mind the players getting a little bit of cheddar, but when the Unions get involved, it’s all down hill from there.


    Do you honestly see the NCAA changing their rules without someone (Union/Government) intervening?

  18. normtide says: Apr 14, 2014 10:37 PM

    So this is what a back up long snapper is worth? I’m calling BS on this report.

  19. mashoaf says: Apr 14, 2014 11:03 PM

    If you’re going to be a union, you better be ready to collectively bargin. The universities are going to make the players sweat by making them take the worst deal possible. The schools can lock the players out and still be fine. Can the players take a year off and still be fine?

  20. tentennies says: Apr 14, 2014 11:29 PM

    Soon, lawyers will be all over this gravy train and title IX etc. If we don’t pay all college athletes the same we are discriminating against them, just watch that will be the silly logic.

  21. wabbitslayer says: Apr 15, 2014 2:17 PM

    If the NFL would drop this “three years out of high school” crap, that would solve all of this. If you can go from high school to the NFL, good for you (impossible, but whatever). If you want to skip out after your freshman/sophomre year, fine. Put a stop to all this “making money off the backs of players” talk and let ’em walk if they want.

  22. slickrick12 says: Apr 15, 2014 3:48 PM

    What’s going to stop the position coach for setting fees for one on one coaching? This whole thing will gather steam and destroy the game as we know it. Sadly, this is likely the only way to fix it because as I see it today, its all money and greed.

  23. ehaszj says: Apr 17, 2014 11:08 AM

    I agree that everyone is focused on the “money” part not benefits to starters and non starters. remember the non starters practice all week, go to meeting, film study etc. School work is filled into the day. Why wouldn’t there be a value applied to “non-starters”

    Now the tax issue, anyone that prepares their own taxes will understand that their son’s scholarship is “taxed.” The NCAA doesn’t mention this when your son is recruited nor do they mention this little known fact.

    Players are used until they cannot produce so the next 4 star recruit is plugged into starting lineup! Injuries are attended to only to make the player well enough to produce on the field and the future care is neglected. Players need future coverage and more than a piece of paper (degree) that usually will not provide a job per our national unemployment and if it does it will not come close to what the NCAA has made off this athlete.

    Wake up academia and liberals the reality is about to hit college sports and for the better.

  24. realphinsfan says: Apr 17, 2014 12:04 PM

    “It’s not whether we should pay college athletes but that if you are an employee and your job is to play sports, than you should get paid.”

    Employees are hired, meaning their employment was negotiated in exchange for money. My job interviewed me, offered me a certain wage, and I accepted. Offering a recruit money to get them to sign has been against NCAA regulations since the beginning. Are they planning on changing that?

  25. huskerzfan says: Apr 19, 2014 7:47 AM

    What “market”?

    If there was so much money to be made on college football players, wouldn’t we have somebody creating a league to profit “off the backs” of these enslaved players?

    I mean, we have had dozens of leagues prop up to compete with the NFL. Why hasn’t anybody tried to rally up a league to compete with the ridiculous NCAA/college football system?

    Obviously it shouldn’t be that difficult to offer up straight cash to these youngsters as opposed to the meaningless scholarships they receive from colleges, right?

    Surely a man like Donald Trump or Mark Cuban would see the value in starting up such a franchise and challenge the NCAA. Hell, there are plenty of billionaires that should see the value in creating a league that could actually pay players that could more than compete with college football for its very players.

    Then again…., likely not.

    “Market”. What fu@king market?

  26. normtide says: Apr 19, 2014 4:38 PM

    Huskerz- I haven’t heard it said any better. People watch college football for the programs. Minor league football has been proven to be a bust.

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