Student Life

USA Today Reports NCAA Basketball Players Earn $120K

Kathryn Knight Randolph

March 31, 2011

USA Today Reports NCAA Basketball Players Earn $120K
College basketball athletes are making $120K a year. Photo: Rudy.R on Flickr
For years, college basketball fans and March Madness enthusiasts have been saying that college basketball players should get paid for what they do. But yesterday, USA Today revealed that they already do. In fact, college basketball players are making roughly $120,000 a year. The data was pulled and analyzed from the 120 schools in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). Here is USA Today’s breakdown of the FBS median: Grant-in-aid: $27,923 – Defined as scholarships players receive to help fund tuition, room and board, books, travel expenses, etc.
Coaching: $70,000 – Determined by dividing a coach’s salary into fifteenths; a fifteenth for each player. Think you don't qualify for an athletic scholarship? Think again. General support: $11,607 – Includes administrative support, uniforms and equipment as well as media and public relations services.
Medical: $970 – Figure seems low but payoff is huge. For example, an injured player typically has all medical related and rehab expenses paid for by the school. USA Today says the average student at that school “wouldn’t get such care.” Game tickets: Players receive up to four free tickets for regular season games. This can amount to as much as $2,000 for popular programs and grow to six-figures during tournaments, according to USA Today.
Future earnings impact: $6,500USA Today reports that U.S. Census data indicates workers with “some college” earn an average of $6,500 more than workers with only a high school diploma. While many athletes in the programs don’t actually graduate, they do fall into the “some college” category. While these college basketball players aren’t depositing $120,000 into their bank account each year, this figure is going a long way to pay for their education, top-notch training and skills they’re learning from coaches, and futures as professional or minor-league basketball players or employees. Seen your scholarship matches recently? Check them out now. Matt Howard, Butler’s basketball star, was quoted in USA Today’s piece saying, “Forty thousand dollars – plus a year to play, that’s a pretty good salary for an 18-year-old that has no college education, if you think about it that way.” But USA Today goes on to say that college basketball programs are getting a real bargain for their players. “Assuming that each player receives $120,000 in value, that means a team of 13 scholarship athletes captures $1.56 million a season in total value,” claims USA Today. The most recent data from the NCAA’s revenue-and-expense report revealed that 56% of those outstanding FBS programs make $2.9 million a season after paying coaches. With that in mind, even though college basketball players are "making" $120,00 a year, are they getting shortchanged in this deal?

Fastweb makes finding scholarships a breeze.

Become a member and gain exclusive access to our database of over 1.5 million scholarships.

By clicking, I agree to the Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.