Report: Top NCAA Players Worth Over $100,000


September 13, 2011

This is according to a provocative new report from the National College Players Association [NCPA], an advocacy group for college athletes. “The Price of Poverty in Big Time College Sports” calculated the fair market value of college athletes and found that, on average, Football Bowl Series [FBS] players would be worth $121,048; basketball players at top programs would be worth $265,027.

But because of the league’s strict student-athlete stipulations, the report calculates that 85 percent of full-scholarship athletes (receiving room and board) at FBS schools are living below than the federal poverty line.

The study’s authors, NCPA President Ramogi Huma and Drexel Sports Management Professor Ellen J. Staurowsky, put forth a series of recommendations that range from setting up an “educational lockbox” that players could tap into; forcing schools to pay players for “the shortfall for the full cost of attending college — when such things as clothing and emergency trips are added in”; and asking Congress to step in to enact rules “because college presidents aren’t in a position to take meaningful reform.”

While NCAA President Mark Emmert has addressed the issue of scholarship reform, he has thus far been quite clear about his position on paying athletes: “I am adamantly opposed to the notion of paying student athletes to play their games,” he told David Greene on NPR’s Morning Edition a few weeks ago. “That converts them to employees. This is entirely about students playing the games.” According to the Associated Press, neither Emmert nor the NCAA have commented on the NCPA report except to say that “Dr. Emmert has been … clear that paying student-athletes a salary is in no way on the table.”

For more on the controversy about paying student-athletes, view our March 2010 report Money and March Madness, which includes interviews with President Emmert and leading sports economist Andrew Zimbalist, as well as in-depth info on how much the NCAA basketball tournament really rakes in.


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