New study says UT football players would make big money if paid like pros

A new study calculates how much a UT football player is worth to the Longhorns. Spoiler alert: it's a lot. Tim Warner/Getty Images

Originally appeared on CultureMap/Austin.

College athletes don’t collect paychecks the way their counterparts in the pros do. But if they did, University of Texas at Austin football players would score big.

New data from Business Insider indicates the average Longhorn football player would rake in an estimated $666,029 a year, based on the UT football program’s average annual revenue of $120.5 million over the past three years. That’s the highest per-player market value among the country’s 20 most profitable college football programs.

In case you were wondering, UT’s head football coach, Tom Herman, is poised to pull in $28.75 million in basic compensation under his current five-year contract.

Using figures from the U.S. Department of Education and Ellen Staurowsky, a professor at Drexel University’s Center for Sport Management, Business Insidercalculated how much the typical player in each of the top 20 football programs would be worth if he were compensated like an NFL player. Business Insiderarrived at the estimates by applying the current minimum that NFL players receive and splitting that share evenly among each team’s 85 scholarship players.

On average, a player who competes at a school in the NCAA’s Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (the top tier of college football programs) is worth $163,087 a year, according to Business Insider.

At No. 2 on the list is the University of Alabama, where the average football player is worth $545,357 a year. Next is the University of Michigan ($510,153), followed by the University of Tennessee ($501,260) and the University of Notre Dame ($488,833).

Down the list are two of UT’s most despised foes: the University of Oklahoma and Texas A&M University. OU ranks eighth, with a per-player value of $450,185, and A&M ranks 14th, with a per-player value of $356,875.

While UT’s standing on the Business Insider list may offer bragging rights for the Longhorns, the university’s football players shouldn’t be banking on a six-figure paycheck, at least in the foreseeable future.

UT President Greg Fenves has been quoted as saying that he “cannot comprehend” how student-athletes could be paid beyond their scholarships. If UT athletes were paid, Fenves fears that alumni would perceive the university as “just another professional sports team.”

State Rep. John Kuempel, a Seguin Republican who played football at UT, sides with Fenves. At a 2015 panel discussion about paying student-athletes, Kuempel said:

“I disagree with having paid players. What is the percentage of people who go on to make money in professional sports? It’s miniscule. Once you start paying athletes, they will not pay attention to what’s going to keep them afloat for the rest of their lives. In the end, sports are there to teach you what to do with the rest of your life.”

Toward the other end of the field on this issue is the National College Players Association. A 2013 study by the association and Drexel University argues that student-athletes — especially football players — aren’t fairly compensated for their market value.

“The business practices of the NCAA and major conferences governing big-time football suggest that they … own the players,” the study says. “Findings from this study offer an indictment of the principle of amateurism used by the NCAA to enforce a system that distributes the wealth generated by big money college sport programs away from the players and redirects it to coaches, administrators, conference commissioners, bowl executives, colleges and universities, and corporate entities.”

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Another win for the Coogs! Photo by Getty Images.

The Cougars were supposed to play a game in Tampa against The University of South Florida on Jan. 14th, but this contest was postponed due to positive COVID-19 tests and contact tracing within the USF program. Houston was able to take advantage of the extra time off to rest their players and prepare for their next game against UCF.

Their previous game against the Knights in Orlando on December 26th was a close matchup which saw UCF and the Cougars tied at halftime. The second half was a back-and-fourth contest between the two teams, but Houston was able to come away with a nine point victory.

This game however was nowhere near as close and their previous meeting.

Houston immediately got off to a 12-0 start thanks to four straight 3-pointers from DeJon Jarreau (2x), Marcus Sasser & Quentin Grimes.

The Cougars continued to surge past the knights and at one point led 38-9 with 3:43 left to go in the contest.

Houston led 45-19 at halftime, their largest first half lead of the season.

The Cougars were able to maintain their commanding lead with both efficient scoring early on and elite level defense. Houston forced UCF to commit 20 turnovers that resulted in 22 points for the Cougars.

The Cougars won most of their games this season with commanding defense, dominating the boards and superior guard play. All three boxes were checked as Houston was able to secure a 75-58 victory.

UCF did outscore Houston in the second half 39-30, but the Cougars' lead proved to be an insurmountable obstacle to overcome for the Knights. Essentially, Houston was on cruse control the second half of the game and never saw their lead drop below double digits.

Grimes scored in double figures for his 11th straight game after opening the season with eight points against Lamar. Senior forward Justin Gorham scored a season high 15 points as well.

Houston has now won its fourth straight game since its loss to Tulsa and now remain in sole position of 1st place in the AAC.

The Cougars moved up from No.11 to the 8th ranked team in the country as multiple top-ranked teams suffered losses over the week.

Kelvin Sampson passed former Houston coach Tom Penders as he earned his 650th career win. This also moves him into sole possession of 41st place on the NCAA wins list. He is also the second winningest coach in Houston Cougars Men's Basketball history behind only the great Guy Lewis.

UP NEXT: Houston looks to exact revenge against the only team to defeat them this season as they host Tulsa at the Fertitta Center on Wednesday at 7pm.

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