What’s a top college football player worth to a university?

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Past research indicates that top college football players generate over $500,000 annually in team revenues, well beyond the effective compensation of an athletic scholarship. This article supplements past empirical literature using the most comprehensive, detailed financial information yet compiled on college athletics. An alternative method estimates an equations system to account for the endogeneity of both a team’s premium players and its overall performance. Estimates show that the marginal revenue product of a premium college football player—one drafted into the National Football League (NFL)—exceeds $1 million in 2004-2005 football revenues, over 30% higher than in previous estimates from 1988-1989 revenues.

Source: “Estimates of College Football Player Rents” from Journal of Sports Economics

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