Study: “How the NCAA’s Empire Robs Predominantly Black Athletes of Billions in Generational Wealth”

Data and analysis on how NCAA sports deprives college football & basketball players of $10 billion in generational wealth. in 2018, the average football & basketball player at FBS colleges had a fair market value of $208,208 and $370,085, respectively.

July 31, 2020

Study: “How the NCAA’s Empire Robs Predominantly Black Athletes of Billions in Generational Wealth”

NCPA Executive Director Ramogi Huma and Drexel University professor Dr. Ellen Staurowsky published a study exposing how NCAA sports uses amateurism as an excuse to deny college football and men’s basketball players approximately $10 billion in generational wealth over a 4-year period.  

Staurowsky stated, “Shortly after the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis, NCAA president Mark Emmert issued a statement decrying the continuing existence of racial inequality and injustice in America.  The truth that the leadership of the NCAA and college conferences cannot escape, however, and must come to terms with is the fact that the college sport industry is built on racial inequality and injustice”.

Huma stated, “There is no better example of NCAA sports’ racial exploitation than colleges marching their football players into the COVID-19 pandemic without the enforcement of any health and safety standards in pursuit of football revenue that players themselves will never see”.  

Black FBS football and Division I men’s basketball players, many of whom are from low-income households, shoulder a disproportionate amount of the physical risks and negative economic impact as they comprise the majority of their rosters (see Table 5 below).  

The study uses financial information that colleges report to the US Department of Education and revenue sharing agreements in the NFL and NBA to estimate the fair market value of football and men’s basketball players at FBS colleges.  The study found that, during the 2018-19 academic school year, the average football and basketball player at an FBS college had a fair market value of $208,208 and $370,085, respectively.  Over the course of four years, football and basketball players’ estimated fair market value in the highest revenue conferences range from an average of $1 million – 2.7 million (See Tables 1 & 2 below).

The study points out the economic fallout of denying athletes compensation that could otherwise ensure opportunities for homeownership, retirement, and in turn, benefit players’ children down the line.

“Imagine a scenario where 100% of these athletes have a clear path to homeownership, retirement, and degree completion by the time they’re done with their college eligibility.  Instead, NCAA amateurism imposes a serious shift in wealth – from predominantly Black football and basketball players suffering the lowest graduation rates to predominantly White coaches, ADs, and commissioners”, stated Huma.

Huma and Staurowsky will be releasing another study exposing how reducing excessive expenditures could free up funds to compensate college athletes in a fair manner while preserving nonrevenue sports.

“College sports doesn’t have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem.  The ADs and college presidents are responsible for that.  College athletes deserve their fair share of the revenue they generate,” Huma stated.

The report recommends that state and federal lawmakers enact new laws to bring forth comprehensive college sports reform to protect college athletes’ physical, financial, and academic well-being.  The NCPA will be sending this report to key members and committees in the US Senate and US House of Representatives and state lawmakers who are pursuing college athletes’ rights legislation.  

Read full study: “How the NCAA’s Empire Robs Predominantly Black Athletes of Generational Wealth”

(See Tables 1-5, Coach & Commissioner Salaries Below)

Table 1.  1-Year & 4-Year Average Football Player Value By Conference

Table 2.  1-Year & 4-Year Average Men’s Basketball Player Value by Conference

Table 3.FBS Athletic Director Average Compensation - 2020

2019 average salaries for head football coaches in the Power Five conferences:

  • SEC – $4,978,859.50
  • Big Ten - $4,425,241
  • Big 12 - $4,179,897
  • ACC - $3,692,292
  • PAC-12 - $3,153,713

For the 2017-2018 academic year, Power Five conference commissioner & NCAA President compensation:

  • Big Ten Commissioner, Jim Delaney - $5.5 million
  • PAC-12 Commissioner, Larry Scott - $5.2 million
  • Big 12 Commissioner, Bob Bowlsby - $4.1 million
  • ACC Commissioner, John Swofford - $$3.5 million
  • NCAA President, Mark Emmert – nearly $4 million
  • SEC Commissioner, Greg Sankey - around $2 million

Table 4.  Racial Composition of NCAA Division I Campus Administrators with Responsibility for Athletics

Table 5.  Racial Composition of Coaches & Players in NCAA Division I Football & Men’s Basketball