Paying College Athletes (A Complete Breakdown)

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That’s how much NCAA schools made last year, but the players didn’t touch a penny.

The Numbers Behind Paying College Athletes

NCAA schools earn ~ $18.9 billion in revenue/yr.

58% percent of that comes from: — men’s football — men’s basketball

And the leading organization (NCAA) does $1B in revenue a year.

total revenue from NCAA athletic departments is $19B
NCAA Revenue Is Growing

From 2008 to 2018, the combined revenue of Power 5 conferences grew by 260%.

But what’s interesting?

Over the same stretch, revenues for the NFL and NBA increased by approximately 90 and 110%.

Ticket revenues for NCAA FB & MBB exceeded pro: – baseball – football – hockey

Salaries Across Sports

College coach salaries are rising as revenues increase.

Average football salaries: NFL coach: $5.5m NFL player: $2.5m P5 college coach: $2m P5 player: $0

Average basketball salaries: NBA coach: $4m NBA player: $7.4m P5 college coach: $2m P5 player: $0

Revenue Sharing in College Sports

The NBA and NFL do a 50-50 revenue share split between players and owners.

The average salaries reflect that:

average pro athlete salary across sports
What would a 50-50 revenue split look like for college athletes?

Average D1 football player: — $360,000 / per year

Average D1 MBB player: — $500,000

Starting P5 MBB player: — $800k-$1.2 million

Starting P5 QB: — $2 million

Athletic Scholarships vs. Paying Athletes

But athletes get scholarships!

Yes, however…

Less than 7% of the total NCAA revenue goes to athletes in the form of: • athletic scholarships • stipends for living expenses • academic bonuses

athletic department revenue vs athletic scholarship expenses chart
2x more money is spent on coach/athletic dept. salaries than on scholarships.

College sports are often described as being played by amateurs. But… The economic reality is that it’s a business model that looks far more like a professional sports organization.

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