The 4 Biggest College Basketball Schools Could Pay Players $US500,000 And Still Be More Profitable Than The Average NBA Team

Mark Coomes of Insider Louisville wrote
an interesting articlelast week about the vast disparity between fair market value for college athletes and the value of a scholarship.

The main point: Even if all 13 players on the top basketball teams were paid above market value ($500,000 per year), the programs would still be wildly profitable.

Let’s take that a step further.

According to Forbes, seven schools made more than $US12.4 million in profit off their basketball teams last year. Of those seven, four (Louisville, Kentucky, UNC, and Kansas) made $US19.9 million or more in profit.

The average NBA team made $US11.89 million in profit last year, according to the annual Forbes list of team valuations.

This really isn’t a fair comparison. NBA teams have to give 50% of total revenue to players. Kobe Bryant alone makes more money in salary (~$30 million) than the most lucrative basketball team made in profit (~$24.6 million).

But as a thought exercise, let’s say the country’s biggest, most profitable college hoops teams started paying players $US500,000 per year (way more than anyone is talking about right now, mind you).

Here’s what the four top schools would make:

  1. Louisville, $US18.1 million
  2. Kansas, $US13.4 million
  3. UNC, $US13.4 million
  4. Kentucky, $US13.4 million

They’d all still be making more profit than the Clippers and Mavericks, and Louisville would be making more than the Heat.

This is a pretty elementary analysis. But the point is that these schools are making tons of money because of free labour.

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