Every once in a while you’ll see studies come out that estimate the value of collegiate athletes to the program that they are a part of, and Business Insider did exactly that this week.
The way they broke it down was to take the total revenue generated by a school’s football program and multiply it by 47%, the minimum value that NFL players must receive of the league’s total revenue. Then, BI divided that number by 85, the number of scholarships that a football team is allowed.
You have the average value of a college football player. Tops on their list? Texas, who checks in at $578,000 per player.
Now, this study isn’t exactly precise and the math isn’t all that in-depth — it doesn’t take Albert Einstein to tell you that the players on that Texas roster have a different market values — but it’s a good way to start the argument.
The reason I bring that up is a note that Rush The Court made this morning. Using that same formula, college basketball players have significantly more value that college football players:
Louisville‘s hoops revenue of $42.4 million in 2012 is divided in half given the NBA’s rough 50/50 split with the players, leaving $21.2 million to be split 13 ways. The result: a Cardinals’ basketball player is worth $1.63 million to the university (if you buy into this methodology). This is the mistake that many of these gridiron-centric analyses don’t realize — while it’s definitely true that football provides more aggregate revenue to the schools, the players in college basketball are individually much more valuable.
And there’s your headline: “Louisville basketball players are three times more valuable than Texas football players.”
Think that will generate some clicks?
While much of that has to do with the sheer number of players needed to fill out a college football team, it’s worth noting that basketball players are more marketable than football players. They’re visible, not buried behind a helmet and pads, each and every time they take the court, and the NBA in general is a league built on stars; the NFL markets more toward the team and the organization.
If you want to argue about the math and the process behind these stats, feel free. I don’t disagree with you. It’s topical.
But, after realignment unmercifully shredded so much of what makes college basketball great, I support anything that makes college hoops seem more important.