Tag Archives: College Football Premier League

How much money are college football players worth?

A few months ago, my friend Jeff and I worked out how much University of Florida athletes are worth to the school for ESPN the Magazine. The key to our approach — in contrast to other studies — is that we looked at profits generated by each player, rather than revenue. Revenue is not so relevant if it is outrun by costs. What matters is profit (before subtracting player compensation). Profit tells you how much schools could actually pay their players.

The numbers at Florida

The short answer: the best college football players at Florida are worth millions per year, the best basketball players are worth a few hundred thousand, and all other athletes cost the school quite a bit of money. If you have ESPN insider, you can view the full article online. How much of this profit do football and basketball players see? Very little. Player compensation in the form of scholarships is between $15,000 and $50,000 per year per player at most schools. By contrast, other athletes are getting a great deal. Not only do they get a free education, but Florida spends tens of thousands more on each player to ensure that they have awesome coaching, facilities, and equipment.

Football profits across the FBS

Today, Jeff and I have a related project at ESPN, which will also appear in ESPN the Mag soon. We argue that college football players should be paid. Why? Average profit generated by FBS football players — before scholarships — is about $164,000. The average scholarship payout is just $27,000 by our estimation. So, “non-profit” schools are making an average of $137,000 in profit per player. And if that’s not enough, look at the breakdown by conference (all numbers are from the U.S. Department of Education for the 2010-2011 season):

The SEC and Big Ten are making over $300,000 per player! It’s no wonder we see recruiting scandals every year. They won’t disappear until schools are allowed to pay players closer to what they are worth.

For the curious, here’s the top 10:

Paying players is the right move

We thought about the arguments against paying Continue reading

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Another unsatisfying season in college football

I’m more unsatisfied than usual with college football this year. What if the SEC wasn’t that good, meaning that Alabama and LSU were overrated? This is not likely, but the intra-conference BCS final didn’t feel like a national championship game at all. I’m boycotting analysis of the BCS title game until further notice. Instead, I’ll use the opportunity to promote my idea for a better system: the College Football Premier League.

It’s a bowl game vacation!

A couple weeks ago I wrote about my alternative to the college bowl system: the College Football Premier League. The majority of the bowls get no attention, and the CFPL would give the top schools a way to keep all the revenue and make fans happy.

However as I sit in Los Angeles watching the Rose Parade, I’m reminded why these top schools will probably not go for my CFPL. Wisconsin and Oregon could be in the CFPL playoffs right now, Continue reading

No one watches bowl games — let’s evolve to the College Football Premier League

There’s another nice summary piece by Tyler Cowen (Marginal Revolution) and Kevin Grier at Grantland this week (thanks to my PhD buddy Felipe for passing it along). Their topic: the college football bowl system. Their conclusion:

In sum, we have a system where the games are not designed to produce the best on-field matchups, the competitors often lose money [since no one watches most bowl games] but fight fiercely to participate, outsiders and observers complain vehemently, and the organizers amass and waste a great deal of money with little oversight.

They also note Continue reading

That darn BCS

The BCS just won’t go away. Since the majority of this post will be about conflict of interest, let me give full disclosure. I hate the BCS. I think it’s a big marketing device designed to generate a bunch of empty discussion without giving fans an exciting post season.

This year we get a rematch of LSU and Alabama for the national championship. This makes me pretty angry, since my Michigan Wolverines could have been given another chance against Ohio State in 2006 after losing 42-39 in a one versus two match up. I think Michigan was penalized more because it was the last game of the season and it was a shootout. No one wanted to see them play twice in a row (except me of course).

And big surprise, there’s controversy surrounding the rematch. This year is worse than usual BCS arguments about who is better than who; part of the controversy is about Nick Saban rigging the standings Continue reading