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College Sports, Education

NCPA-Drexel University Study: Top Student-Athletes Generate More Than $100,000 Annually

The National College Players Association (NCPA) and Drexel University Department of Sport Management conducted a joint study concerning the financial value of student-athletes. The study concluded the nation’s best college football and basketball student-athletes are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to their respective athletics programs. However, the study claimed the student-athletes live below the poverty line at 85 percent of the institutions providing full athletic scholarships. The report “calculates athletes’ out-of-pocket educational related expenses associated with a ‘full’ scholarship, compares the room and board portion of players’ scholarships to the federal poverty line and coaches’ and athletic administrators’ salaries, and uses NFL and NBA collective bargaining agreements to estimate the fair market value of FBS football and basketball players.”

The NCPA-Drexel study comes during a time of debate and analysis concerning how to close the gap between the current athletics aid limit (the NCAA’s full grant-in-aid amount) and the full cost of attendance. The report calculated the difference between a grant-in-aid and cost of attendance varies by college from $952 to $6,127.

The full report can be found on the NCPA website. The NCPA provides the following highlights of the study:

  • The average scholarship shortfall (out-of-pocket expenses) for each “full” scholarship student-athlete was approximately $3,222 per player during the 2010-11 school year.
  • The room and board provisions in a full scholarship leave 85% of players living on campus and 86% of players living off campus living below the federal poverty line.
  • The fair market value of the average NCAA Division I Football Sub-division (FBS) football and basketball player was $120,048 and $265,027, respectively.
  • University of Texas football student-athletes’ fair market value was $513,922 but they lived $778 below the federal poverty line and had a $3,624 scholarship shortfall.
  • Duke University basketball student-athletes were valued at $1,025,656 while living just $732 above the poverty line and a scholarship shortfall of $1,995.
  • The University of Florida had the highest combined football and basketball revenues while its football and basketball student-athletes’ scholarships left them living $2,250 below the federal poverty line and with a $3,190 scholarship shortfall.

The Michael L. Buckner Law Firm cannot verify NCPA’s analyses and conclusions, but anticipates the NCAA and its member institutions will dispute the study’s findings.


About Michael L. Buckner, Esquire

An attorney who provides clients with internal investigation, civil litigation, estate planning and compliance services.


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