Infographic: How Much Does Your Alma Mater Owe Its Top Athletes?

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This week’s cover story makes the case that powerhouse college sports programs ought to pay the student athletes who attract millions of dollars in revenue to the school. The morality of doing so is knotty, but the math is not. The amount of money each college football or men’s basketball player brings in to a major program is almost always far greater than the value of his scholarship.

In March, a report coyly titled “The $6 Billion Heist” laid out these calculations for each of the 120+ schools in the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision, providing figures for both football and men’s basketball teams. The report, produced by a group called the National College Players Association in partnership with the Drexel University Sport Management Department, poses the following hypothetical: If these two college sports operated under the same revenue sharing agreements as their pro counterparts, how much would each athlete earn after subtracting the value of his scholarship?

At Virginia Tech, for example, the football program brought in $32,989,216 in the 2011-2012 season. In the NFL, college bargaining agreements dictate that 46.5 percent of revenue goes to players. (In the NBA, it’s 50 percent.) By the NFL margin, each of the 85 scholarship Hokie players would get $180,470. When you deduct the $18,669 value of a year of attendance at Virginia Tech, you’re left over with $161,801 arguably owed to the players.

The economics of college are different from the NFL and NBA, of course. College sports programs have many worthy smaller sports that do not pay for themselves with lucrative TV deals and a run on merchandise. But using the professional figures as a starting point, the report produces some damning figures.  In the following interactive, you can select any FBS school and see how this calculation plays out.

Make sure you try Texas and Louisville.

49 comments
OhioGabe
OhioGabe

@ZekeJMiller @TIME Illustrates exactly why it's a bad idea. $275k diff. b/w Ohio St. & Kent St. How much do student trainers get? Band?

Balter
Balter

God I am so sick of these articles.

First of all, did it ever occur to you that more needs to be funded than the scholarships of the athletes? How about salaries for coaching staff, stadium upkeep, training facilities for the athletes, their housing, food, books, tutors. M god its easy to say college A made X dollars last year and scholarships cost Y dollars and since X > Y, zomg they are taking advantage ofthese poor kids!

Next, "these poor kids" are not poor kids at all. They've been given a free college education, something people go into debt for 20 years just to afford. They get free lodging, free food, beautiful women and fame. All for doing what they love. Oh yeah, and he prospect of a potential multi million dollar career that'll set them for life with even more fame than they had in college.

Finally, don't sully one of the only sports that athletes compete solely for PRIDE and not for a paycheck. You start paying these kids, you have no idea how the quality, the sportsmanship and the game itself will decline.

Stop writing this crap and enjoy the game. Enough with your bleeding heart for these athletes who don't need any more than they've been given.

Mike93434086
Mike93434086

@TIME need only alllow athletes to earn $ off their names. Colleges shld have accredited "athletic studies" (ie learn to be coach, gm)

rintwin
rintwin

@TIME I went to Columbia so I'm pretty sure the answer is nothing

MolllyMack
MolllyMack

@TIME Your "scholarship" amounts are a little off, Time. A non-resident at UCLA pays upwards of 60k and you have the value at 28k.

kerildecoster
kerildecoster

@TIME shouldn't that be the othr way around? Top athletes should owe their alma maters

sonsofaureus
sonsofaureus

The various trophies like the Heisman or championship rings have a dollar value - just check on ebay.  When a player receives one, doesn't that mean he/she just got paid (in goods and services) for playing in the eyes of the NCAA?  How does this make them amateur athletes? 

CTrumbower
CTrumbower

@TIME so are we throwing out the whole "women are equal/Title IX" thing?

ColtAinsworth
ColtAinsworth

If you could have a whole pie and not split it with anyone, why would you offer. No university presidents support this because they may have to take a pay cut and the NCAA controls their program. Do you want to disagree with someone who governs your sports? Any other "amateur" profession other than sports can get paid and become a start up at any age and get paid for their talents. The NCAA restricts that for athletes because they are greedy. I don't think they should get hundreds of thousands though. I mean a thousand a month for basic stuff like those that have to pay their own cell phone bills, buy groceries or put gas in their cars would be enough with all the money the get from the sports. Even if you don't get paid by the school, what about endorsements? I bet Nike, Reebok, or Adidas would jump all over Manziel, McCarron, or any other high profile college athlete to promote their gear instead of having a deal with the college itself.

derekpatterson33
derekpatterson33

Look at the tremendous amount of money these sport departments are making off these young students. The education amounts to a free bowl of soup at luby's in comparison.The unknown factors are how many really good athletes have to leave college early for professional sports without finishing college and  have their money and life managed unsuccesfully.Many are pressed to help family and other circumstances before the degree comes...Wake up America..This is corporate college greed that  doesnt want to share the wealth it inherits to athletes and their participation.

DanBruce
DanBruce

Are we going to require that the athletes pay for stadiums, coaches, educational opportunities, using the brand of the university, training facilities, medical expenses, insurance, public relations, and so on? If all of that is factored in, I will bet the athletes would no better than break even, and that only at the colleges with top-rated programs. It is a privilege to play for a university. Room, board, and educational opportunity, plus coaches and facilities to equip the player for a possible pro career, are more than enough compensation. After all, computer majors don't get paid until they are hired by Microsoft or whomever. Why should we pay college athletes while they are studying their craft? 

STILT
STILT

Boo Hoo! Poor Johnny doesn't get paid to play football at his university. Ask any student or their parents if they wouldn't jump at the chance to receive free tuition and board typically equaling six figures, while being treated like conquering heroes.  No worries about trying to pay college bills over decades like other classmates.

Sure some larger universities realize substantial revenues for their football and basketball programs (although many don't break even). But they also spend hundreds of millions in coaches, staff, equipment, promotions and world-class facilities while supporting all athletic programs. 

Those complaining about not being paid won't be satisfied with a few thousand dollars a year; only substantial compensation will do. Of course paying only a select few football or basketball players would open up a Pandora's box regarding compensation for other male and female athletes or (heaven forbid) top scholars. 

If certain athletes believe their skills alone are so valuable, why not bypass universities all together and start their own minor league teams? Of course, the simple answer is without a huge intercollegiate infrastructure they would just be a few guys playing pickup games in a sand lot.

Omagus
Omagus

@CTrumbower@TIMEAs it stands now, the efforts of football and men's basketball players are subsidizing the scholarships of athletes of every other sport. Why is that better?

DanBruce
DanBruce

@derekpatterson33 You make a good argument for banning "professional" athletics at educational institutions. It corrupts everything.

Omagus
Omagus

@STILT"Ask any student or their parents if they wouldn't jump at the chance to receive free tuition and board typically equaling six figures, while being treated like conquering heroes.  No worries about trying to pay college bills over decades like other classmates."
--

This is a pretty stupid argument. College athletes aren't the only students on campus receiving full scholarships. But they typically ARE the only ones generating millions of dollars for their schools. They are also the only ones expressly forbidden from making money elsewhere. Universities give out scholarships for ALL kinds of things. If those students and parents are complaining then they (or their children) should have been better at something.

_yungkoala
_yungkoala

@TylerIAm it's so weird to me having this much coverage. I was there while we had Franchione & Sherman & Slocums last year. :(

Omagus
Omagus

Funny how everything about collegiate athletics is treated as "professional" until the topic turns to paying the players.

BKdoc
BKdoc

@DanBruce Universitys do not make millions of dollars off of their computer science majors.  Nor do video game companies, sporting goods companies, magazines, ESPN, any conference-tied network (Big Ten Network, etc.) There is a lot of money being made off of these athletes by a lot of people, none of whom are the actual athlete. 

odpdavid
odpdavid

@OhioGabe @ZekeJMiller Football & Basketball revenue subsidize the entire athletic program. NFL & NBA should provide the extra revenue.

OhioGabe
OhioGabe

@odpdavid @ZekeJMiller Asking the NFL for money isn't needed. The claim that pay is need comes from an alleged surplus of college money.

_yungkoala
_yungkoala

@TylerIAm funny enough Franchione is now head coach at my grad school now lol. I think this is more his level tho. We shall see

BKdoc
BKdoc

@DanBruce And actually, if a computer science major in college happened to come up with a great idea for an app, he/she could sell it and make money without any sort of controversy.  In fact, they would be encouraged to make money and applauded for providing something that was able to be sold and profited on. The university would say hey look we have a genius computer science major who sold their idea to apple.  But if you have a Heisman Trophy winning QB who is generating millions in ticket sales and merchandise sales they will be reprimanded for making a couple bucks from selling jerseys they autographed.  Does not make any sense.

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