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How Much is a College Athlete Worth? [POLL]

As the debate continues over whether college athletes should be paid, a new question comes up. How much should these athletes be paid?

Kevin C. Cox

An analysis conducted by the National College Players Association, and Drexel University determined that the fair market value of the average college football player from 2011 through 2015 would be $178,000. The average pay for a college basketball player for the same time is $370,000.

Top tier football players, with the top 10 highest estimated fair market values, like Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, might be worth as much as $547,000, from 2011 to 2012.

Basketball players with the top 10 highest estimated fair market values, such as Kansas Jayhawk forward Andrew Wiggins, might be worth more than $1.6 million for the same year.

The report states that the fair market value was calculated using the revenue sharing percentages defined in the NFL and NBA collective bargaining agreements, and team revenues as reported by each school to the federal government. The NCPA is headed by Romagi Huma, who is leading the effort to unionize the Northwestern football players.

Take these numbers, and compare them to the cost of a scholarship, which doesn’t guarantee a degree. Now, factor in the amount of money these athletes generate for the NCAA. Also consider UCONN player Shabazz Napier’s statement about ‘going hungry on his way to the National title.’ After hearing all of the above, one might think: ‘How can you not pay College athletes, or at least give them the option of taking the money instead of the scholarship?’

As the movement to unionize college athletes grows, it would behoove the NCAA to adjust their business model and allow the players to make some extra money. It could come from selling autographs, possibly, participating the exploitation of their names and likenesses by the schools, or even allowing them to accept a meal so that players like Napier can win championships on a full stomach.

“People are missing the point on all this,” David Hollander, professor of hospitality, tourism and sports management at New York University told Mark Koba of NBC News, “It’s not whether we should pay college athletes, but that if you are an employee and your job is to play sports, then you should get paid.”

What do you think? Should college athletes be allowed to unionize?

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