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.