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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Houston loses first game to Oakland

A's end losing streak against Astros with late homers

Lance McCullers Jr. went five innings of one-run ball Friday night. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

After maintaining their stronghold against the A's in Thursday's home opener, the Astros had the chance to lock up the three-game series victory against Oakland with a win on Friday night. On the mound, Lance McCullers Jr. hoped to improve upon his first start against this same team, a five-inning one-run outing.

Instead, he would have the same outcome, once again lasting five innings while allowing one run, before a big tie-breaking home run late in the game would push Oakland out of their losing skid against the Astros.

Final Score: A's 6, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 6-2, tied for first in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Yusmeiro Petit (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Bryan Abreu (1-1)

McCullers Jr. makes it through five

McCullers Jr. looked sharp through the first three innings, allowing just two baserunners, one on a second-inning single, then a walk in the third. Oakland did better against him the second time through their order in the fourth, with Jed Lowrie leading the inning off with a solo home run to put Oakland in front 1-0.

They went on to load the bases with one out on an error and two walks, but McCullers would strand them all. He returned for the fifth, a much cleaner inning where a caught stealing by Martin Maldonado would help him face just three batters. His final line: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 88 P.

Oakland gets homer-happy to even the series

McCullers Jr. would leave the game without being eligible for the winning or losing decision, as an RBI-groundout by Kyle Tucker in the fourth would have it tied 1-1. Bryan Abreu was the first out of Houston's bullpen, and he would attempt to eat up multiple innings. He had perfect innings in the sixth and seventh, retiring six A's in order to maintain the stalemate.

Abreu remained in the game in the top of the eighth, allowing a single before getting a strikeout, ending his run as Dusty Baker would bring in left-handed Blake Taylor. Taylor would give up a single against his first batter, then a loud go-ahead three-run home run to Matt Olson to push the A's back in front 4-1. They'd add two more insurance runs off of Joe Smith in the top of the ninth, getting a two-run home run by Mark Canha to extend the lead to 6-1.

Oakland's bullpen would hold on to the newly created lead, allowing just one run on a sac fly by Jose Altuve in the bottom of the ninth, finally ending their losing streak against Houston and setting up the rubber game on Saturday to be for the series victory.

Up Next: This series's finale will be a Saturday afternoon start, with first pitch scheduled for 3:05 PM. For the Astros, Jose Urquidy (0-0, 4.15 ERA) will look to get a win on the board, while Oakland will hand the ball to Frankie Montas (0-1, 23.63 ERA).

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