With the whole pay-or-not-to-pay debate raging in college athletics, there are many articles and even more pieces of data trying to swing the argument one way or the other. This is not one of them. I simply saw a cool chart and wanted to see what it would look like with Marquette involved.
Said chart came from the Business Insider who concluded that a football player at Texas is worth $578,000 per year, topping all NCAA schools. They got there by dividing the overall revenue from football a university claimed, multiplying by 47 percent, which is what the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement mandates as a minimum, and then divided by 85, the number of scholarship players on a team.
Who cares about football, though. Basketball is what we at Paint Touches care about. Rush the Court tweaked the calculation a bit, multiplying revenue by 50 percent per the NBA’s standard. The result is eye-popping as each Louisville player is worth $1.63 million to the university, almost triple the number each Texas football player is worth.
Obviously these are rough calculations and not scientific data. You have to take into account that every school has its own accounting tricks so its not a uniform measure of revenue. Also noteworthy is that not all players are “worth” the same, as a freshman bench-warmer is much less valuable than an All-American star.
Nevertheless, using this admittedly flawed model and inserting the U.S. Department of Education’s most recent numbers (from 2011-’12), each Marquette basketball player is worth $553,450.
As you can see in the chart above, that number would be more than all football schools but Texas. Again, this doesn’t mean Jake Thomas is more valuable than Johnny Manziel, only that on average, a generic basketball player is worth more to a school than a generic football player.
One useful measure comes from comparing basketball schools to one another. Louisville blows everyone out of the water, but how does Marquette compare to its peer Big East institutions (with the caveat that three of the schools weren’t in the Big East in 2012)?
The answer is in the chart below.
Marquette is head and shoulders above the competition, with each player worth almost $100,000 more than the next closest competitor, Xavier.
The results pretty much follow logic. The top eight are roughly organized by success that season (not last year but the year before). Xavier has been slept on nationally due to a down year, but they truly have the potential to be a top dog in the conference year-in and year-out. They have great support from both the fans and administration and have had consistent postseason success in a mediocre league for a decade now.
Also of note is what a bump the Big East will be to Creighton and Butler. They are at the end of the line here simply because their conference affiliation wasn’t worth much in terms of revenue. With a nice $2 million or so bonus upcoming thanks to the FOX Sports contract, they will have more to offer both on and off the court. Whether that translates to consistent success is another story.