Business Insider Lists CFB Players' Worth by School

Submitted by Morto on October 19th, 2016 at 4:52 PM

Business Insider recently calculated the average CFB player's worth by school, listing the top 20. Their methodology:

We calculated the Fair Market Value of college football players at the 20 most profitable programs using data provided by the Department of Education. Using the NFL's most recent collective bargaining agreement in which the players receive a minimum of 47% of all revenue, each school's football revenue was split between the school and the athletes with the players' share divided evenly among the 85 scholarship players.

Notable ranks:

#1 Texas - $671,173

#4 Michigan - $487,979

#8 Notre Dame - $476,226

#9 OSU - $461,968

#20 MSU - $327,495

It was crazy to me to see such a massive disparity between Texas and everyone else, despite Texas being in a slump for quite some time. Any ideas where that disparity comes from? It must have something to do with the Longhorn Network, but I doubt having their own network creates that much more revenue. Also, what do you think are the greater implications for these numbers? The higher the number, the higher the expectations?

I'm a little new to posting things, so I apologize for any poor formatting.




October 19th, 2016 at 4:58 PM ^

This is totally bogus. Revenue for the school is driven by the goodwill of the brand, not by the collection of individual players -- hence why Texas being bad the last few years can still lead to the highest revenue number.


October 19th, 2016 at 5:51 PM ^

This is a far too simplistic reading of the matter, given that the goodwill of the brand is intrinsically tied to the collection of individual players over time. Michigan isn't filling up a 110K stadium on Saturday if the school had been fielding EMU-level teams for the last 60 years.


October 25th, 2016 at 5:37 PM ^

That is essentially my point.  You can't just take revenue in a given year and allocate it out to the current players -- it is way more complex than that.  They didn't create all of that revenue.  It was created in large part by the goodwill in the brand built up over decades.  


October 19th, 2016 at 6:14 PM ^

Not bogus if they use total revenue driven by the football program excluding football donations. If they include donations, then it wouldn't be on an equal level with pro football.

But, assuming they exclude donations, then its the 47% of the football revenue for a year divided by the 85 scholorship players.  No players, no football, no revenue - same as the pros. 


October 19th, 2016 at 10:23 PM ^

They have no idea what the "total revenue driven by football" really is, so these are swags.  Also, the CBA distribution numbers they use are for a different sport, NFL football, so that part of the equation is also less sure than it is taken to be.

A better comparison is CFL salaries.  The average CFL player makes about $80,000 a year.  


October 19th, 2016 at 5:03 PM ^

All you need to do is look at the fact that Michigan lead the nation in attendance up until 2013 despite being a dumpster fire. People came because of the school, not specifically the players. It wasn't until there was gross incompetence that attendance declined, again because of the university not the players.


October 19th, 2016 at 5:18 PM ^

If the team sucked for 20 years fans wouldn't show up.  Everyone knows that to be true.  Michigan has a strong fanbase because it is the winningest program of all time.  Sure the michigan brand matters a lot but it matters because of winning.  If we stop winning fans stop showing up, see the later brady hoke years.  The brand is driven by winning, winning is driven by the players, the players drive the continued value of the brand.


October 19th, 2016 at 5:56 PM ^

Disagree. I'll put forth the counter example of the RichRod years. Winning is not the cause of attendance or value. Michigan successfully packed the stadium during some pretty awful years going back to the 1950s. The variable seems to be how much of a sense of community people have at games. During the Brandon era, it decreased, and attendance followed.


October 19th, 2016 at 8:29 PM ^

Winning driven by players - disagree.

See later Hoke years, as you suggest, see now with many of the same players. Also the RR to Hoke transition. 

If just raw talent was the key, then the pro bowl would be the best game of the year - not the superbowl. Preperation, motivation etc are driven by the coaching staff. 

Team does poorly - everyone blames the coaches. The coaches get fired. The players don't get fired or expelled.




October 19th, 2016 at 5:08 PM ^

In response to more than one comment up-thread:

Presumably, the revenue that NFL teams bring in is partly due to brand goodwill as well. Which might be why the article above used the 47% standard from the NFL's collective bargaining agreement. Obviously this won't be exact given the huge differences between the NFL and the NCAA, but it's a workable enough heuristic in place of employing an army of accountants to figure out precise figures.


October 19th, 2016 at 7:32 PM ^

Unless all the schools did it. College sports isn't about the true quality of the play on the field (if it was no one would watch, they'd all watch the NFL only). It's about relative quality. As long as our engineers were better than the other school's the stadium would be full just as it has been for decades.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad

Avon Barksdale

October 19th, 2016 at 8:50 PM ^

He doesn't get paid Stafford type money which lies one of many problems of paying student athletes. If high school football players want to be paid to play, they have options (Japan, Arena, Etc. Etc.)

Schools should not be obligated to pay them on top of their $50,000+ scholarship packages that out of staters get to attend most P5 schools.

Furthermore, are we supposed to feel bad for eighteen year old student athletes getting into the University of Michigan with 18s, 19s, and 20s on their ACTs? Please. Give me a break. Sure, I'm all for paying you $450,000 if you can get into Michigan with the general population and pay for your own schooling, clothes, food, shelter, etc. etc.


October 19th, 2016 at 5:20 PM ^

I think it's simpler than that.

Texas does not engage in any revenue sharing with the B12.  It is in part why Nebraska was so desperate to leave and why the recent B12 expansion talks failed.  In the SEC and the B10, schools like UM and OSU spread the wealth whereas Texas does not, and that includes the revenue from the Longhorn Network.

To me it's just the basic math calculation that starts with higher revenue because Texas isn't sharing any of it's with the other schools.

"In 2014-15, according to the report, Texas earned approximately $15 million from its Longhorn Network, while KU received more than $6 million with its local broadcast deal. Kansas State also got about $4 million from third-tier rights.

In the SEC, schools have their own multi-media contracts and receive SEC Network money on top of that."…



October 19th, 2016 at 5:35 PM ^

Shouldn't things like top of the line coaching and spring break in Florida be subtracted from these values. I was looking through the UM athletics financial report and saw that while they brought in a ton of money they nearly spent it all profiting only 2 million dollars

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad


October 19th, 2016 at 6:03 PM ^

It's interesting that the student at an average school is worth about $160k. That's the amount Nigel Hayes says a Wisconsin degree cost. So it appears that the system works for the average school, but seems unfair at the top end.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad


October 19th, 2016 at 6:18 PM ^

Agreed. The NFL has reveune sharing, so the average or median revenue is what everyone should be looking at.


That said, it is annual revenue, not revenue over a four year education.  Nigel Hayes is getting 1/4 of what he is worth (according to this metric).


October 19th, 2016 at 6:57 PM ^

I've seen reports over the years on AD revenue and Texas is always near the top along with MICHIGAN and OSU. The funnier stat is the Gross vs Net number and how O$U's Gross is off the charts but Net is minimal. School is good at bringing in the money, just not keeping it.


October 19th, 2016 at 7:27 PM ^

It's because of how much they pour into their non-revenue sports. Michigan has a bit of the same issue and it's also why Texas is at the top - they don't field near the same number of non-revenue sports that UM and OSU does (last time I checked OSU fielded the most non-revenue teams of any school). I think that's actually a great thing and give my UT friends crap for not sharing the wealth and just sitting on it like a bunch of Scrooge McDucks

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad

Ghost of Hoke

October 19th, 2016 at 8:09 PM ^

Most useless and pointless information ever. What's the worth of the women's back up coxswain on the rowing team? O it's worth $-200,000? Unfortunately their can't be a football program without 20 other sports that aren't worth a damn.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad


October 20th, 2016 at 8:44 AM ^

$488/4 = $122 / year

Taxes on that about 30% = $85K net

Out of state cost of attendance = $60K leaving $15K (How much do they get for stipend now?)

In state cost of attendance = $29K leaving $56K

Paying the players makes the case for staying in-state stronger. Anybody want to compete with  just Michigan in-state players? This would result in Texas, Florida, Ohio, and California teams dominating college football. I also think it would cause issues with Title IX because non-revenue sports would go unfunded which may further reduce the number of paid players allowed.