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Alabama athletic revenues last year exceeded all 30 NHL teams


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#1 grcenter47

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 05:44 PM

Interesting read....

 

http://www.cbssports...n-any-nhl-teams

 

The movement at Northwestern to unionize college athletes has (no surprise) sparked fierce debate -- particularly in the big-money fields of college football and men's basketball -- over what those athletes deserve, and don't deserve, and what the best method of getting them what they do deserve might be.

 

But one thing that's not really up for debate any more: there's no removing the "big money" factor from the equation any more. In this story analyzing the potential impact of the unionization movement, Associated Press reporter Antonio Gonzalez quotes an expert with an eye-opening piece of context for college athletics finances (emphasis added):

"Revenues derived from college athletics is greater than the aggregate revenues of the NBA and the NHL," said Marc Edelman, an associate professor at City University of New York who specializes in sports and antitrust law. He also noted that Alabama's athletic revenues last year, which totaled $143 million, exceeded those of all 30 NHL teams and 25 of the 30 NBA teams.

Texas is the largest athletic department, earning more than $165 million last year in revenue — with $109 million coming from football, according to Education Department data. The university netted $27 million after expenses.

First things first: gross revenue figures from the Department of Education aren't necessarily 100 percent accurate, and public figures for privately-held NBA and NHL franchises might not be 100 percent accurate either.

But it's hard -- bordering on impossible -- to see how a juggernaut like Alabama couldn'tgenerate revenues above and beyond your average NHL team. The Tide sells out its 100,000-seat-plus football stadium several times a year, and sells plenty of basketball and other tickets to boot; it takes in millions upon millions in television receipts every year; it sells and licenses truckloads of merchandise and memorabilia every day of the year; and on top of all of that, like every other major program in the country, it also boasts a cadre of boosters whose largesse boosts the bottom line thanks to the athletic department's sheer existence. In terms of pure gross revenues, it's not hard at all to envision the Carolina Hurricanes or Ottawa Senators struggling to match that.

But here's the catch, at least where the unionization movement is concerned: the NHL's current minimum salary is $550,000. An 85-man football roster is very different from the NHL's 23-man equivalent, quite obviously, and the football roster plus the men's basketball roster plus the baseball roster and women's hoops roster and track roster, etc. is so different that any comparison might be considered useless.

The bottom line, though, is that the NHL's revenues have at least some relationship with the amount of compensation its athletes receive. The revenues at Alabama and across college athletics' power conferences mean better coaches, better facilities, better academics for its athletes, yes ... but the athletes' direct compensation is nonetheless a function of whatever the school charges for tuition and is unreleated to revenue.

Of course, there's no shortage of arguments, good ones, that an athletics scholarship to a place like Alabama represents a fair deal for the athletes all the same. But when the revenues generated by those athletes have grown into the same rough stratosphere as 55 of the 60 professional teams in two of the U.S.'s "Big Four" sports leagues, it's no surprise that the question is about to be settled in serious legal fashion.


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#2 Devils Pride 26

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 08:51 PM

Football and Mens basketball pay for other sports. I don't see how other sports stay afloat if those guys are paid.


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#3 Devilsfan118

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 09:26 PM

Yeah the big football programs keep those volleyball, golf, swimming...etc teams alive.

 

Although this does bring up the question...do these student athletes deserve some sort of compensation?  Is free tuition enough?

I personally think they don't, but it's been debated countless times..


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#4 devils102

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 10:14 PM

Really interesting, thanks for sharing.


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#5 Triumph

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 10:46 PM

Football and Mens basketball pay for other sports. I don't see how other sports stay afloat if those guys are paid.

 

Those sports go away, or the athletes who play those sports contribute money towards playing them.

 

Anyway the title of this is misleading - Alabama's revenues are higher than any one team, but not the entire NHL.  Apparently in Alabama the most popular radio show discusses Alabama football 52 weeks a year.


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#6 lazer

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 10:53 PM

fvck auburn


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#7 Chuck the Duck

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 09:51 AM

Yeah the big football programs keep those volleyball, golf, swimming...etc teams alive.

 

Although this does bring up the question...do these student athletes deserve some sort of compensation?  Is free tuition enough?

I personally think they don't, but it's been debated countless times..

 

For me, the problem isn't the free tuition they get with their scholarship.  That's $250k+ that they have the ability to take advantage of by gettng a great education.  That's plenty of money for their services as student athletes.  The fact that some of these guys major in bull sh!t programs like general studies and don't take advantage of what is being handed to them because they don't value their education is an often overlooked or easily dismissed factor in all of this debate. 

 

For me, the biggest issue is the NCAA rules that prohibit them from basically earning any income while on scholarship.  IMO, if you are going to prohibit them from getting a part-time/summer job like a ton of other college students get to make ends meet in school, then you have to provide them with a stipend for living expenses.  Problem is, who do you pay?  How much do you pay?  Do you pay only the revenue generating athletes, or all college athletes regardless of their sport?  Title 9 requires equality for mens and womens sports.  Does that mean if you pay a football player, you have to pay a womens' soccer player the same amount of money?  And what about health insurance and future payments for health coverage of college athletes?  There are soooooo many issues that needed to be addressed should colleges start paying players, it's mind boggling. 


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#8 Triumph

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 10:34 AM

For me, the problem isn't the free tuition they get with their scholarship.  That's $250k+ that they have the ability to take advantage of by gettng a great education.  That's plenty of money for their services as student athletes.  The fact that some of these guys major in bull sh!t programs like general studies and don't take advantage of what is being handed to them because they don't value their education is an often overlooked or easily dismissed factor in all of this debate. 

 

For me, the biggest issue is the NCAA rules that prohibit them from basically earning any income while on scholarship.  IMO, if you are going to prohibit them from getting a part-time/summer job like a ton of other college students get to make ends meet in school, then you have to provide them with a stipend for living expenses.  Problem is, who do you pay?  How much do you pay?  Do you pay only the revenue generating athletes, or all college athletes regardless of their sport?  Title 9 requires equality for mens and womens sports.  Does that mean if you pay a football player, you have to pay a womens' soccer player the same amount of money?  And what about health insurance and future payments for health coverage of college athletes?  There are soooooo many issues that needed to be addressed should colleges start paying players, it's mind boggling. 

 

College coaches at top schools make millions of dollars a year.  Most states' highest paid public official is an athletic coach.  This is what happens when you turn the world completely upside down.


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#9 dmann422

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 11:28 AM

College coaches at top schools make millions of dollars a year. Most states' highest paid public official is an athletic coach. This is what happens when you turn the world completely upside down.

really it's what happens when you mix a "free market" with a regulated one. Colleges are free to do whatever they want to make money, but the labor force is ridiculously over regulated. Personally I think the easiest (albeit unlikely) solution is to just lower the minimum age of all pro sports to 18, then those athletes who feel they have earning power can go try their luck in the pros and leave collegiate athletics to who it should be- student athletes. Problem is this requires cooperation from the pros and the NCAA wants to be greedy and force these player to stay for a few years.
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#10 Triumph

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 12:05 PM

really it's what happens when you mix a "free market" with a regulated one. Colleges are free to do whatever they want to make money, but the labor force is ridiculously over regulated. Personally I think the easiest (albeit unlikely) solution is to just lower the minimum age of all pro sports to 18, then those athletes who feel they have earning power can go try their luck in the pros and leave collegiate athletics to who it should be- student athletes. Problem is this requires cooperation from the pros and the NCAA wants to be greedy and force these player to stay for a few years.

 

The pros don't want it that way either.  Right now the NCAA are providing them with a free service.  In the NFL, almost no 18 year old would be ready for the pro game, and few 18 year old basketballers are.

 

The best solution I saw proposed paying a salary and withholding the student part until their athletic career is over.  So basically an athlete would get a scholarship after he was done playing and can choose to use it or not use it.


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#11 dmann422

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 12:19 PM

The pros don't want it that way either. Right now the NCAA are providing them with a free service. In the NFL, almost no 18 year old would be ready for the pro game, and few 18 year old basketballers are.

The best solution I saw proposed paying a salary and withholding the student part until their athletic career is over. So basically an athlete would get a scholarship after he was done playing and can choose to use it or not use it.

that's one way to handle it I suppose but there would still be issues with who gets paid and how much. Really this issue is so convoluted and has so many angles that I find it hard to believe it ends in much other than the status quo.
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#12 Daniel

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 12:38 PM

As Chuck noted, Title 9 could prove to be the biggest hurdle to NCAA athlete pay. 

 

While I used to be firmly in the players camp on this issue, with the exception of football, where there is a much bigger injury risk, I've taken more of a meh attitude.  As Tri noted, there are maybe a handful of players below the NFL/NBA age limits that would get contracts below the current age cutoff anyway.   It's even less of a problem in basketball, where you only have to go to college for the one year before being draft eligible, or, I suppose, they could play in Europe for a year. 

 

The ideal situation though, especially since I think the idea of obsessing over college sports to be ludicrous (students at SEC schools are basically bragging to one another that our thugs that take joke courses are better than yours), would be for a few really rich guys to start junior leagues similar to what hockey has, where anyone below the pro age limit can negotiate whatever kind of deal he can, subject to things like salary caps, drafts and the like. 


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#13 Triumph

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 01:00 PM

As Chuck noted, Title 9 could prove to be the biggest hurdle to NCAA athlete pay. 

 

While I used to be firmly in the players camp on this issue, with the exception of football, where there is a much bigger injury risk, I've taken more of a meh attitude.  As Tri noted, there are maybe a handful of players below the NFL/NBA age limits that would get contracts below the current age cutoff anyway.   It's even less of a problem in basketball, where you only have to go to college for the one year before being draft eligible, or, I suppose, they could play in Europe for a year. 

 

The ideal situation though, especially since I think the idea of obsessing over college sports to be ludicrous (students at SEC schools are basically bragging to one another that our thugs that take joke courses are better than yours), would be for a few really rich guys to start junior leagues similar to what hockey has, where anyone below the pro age limit can negotiate whatever kind of deal he can, subject to things like salary caps, drafts and the like. 

 

Junior players get stipends - there's rumors of under the table payment for certain players but basically the Canadian system is not much different.


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#14 Chuck the Duck

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 01:06 PM

that's one way to handle it I suppose but there would still be issues with who gets paid and how much. Really this issue is so convoluted and has so many angles that I find it hard to believe it ends in much other than the status quo.

 

That's just it.  There are no easy answers here at all.  Every proposed solution just bring up a whole new set of problems with respect to how college sports are run and regulated.  Title 9 is going to play much more of a role in all of this than most people realize as non of the major women's sports generate any revenue for the university, but they will likely be entitled to an equal amount of whatever the men get.  That likely will lead to mens and womens sports like swimming, track, lacrosse, tennis, golf, etc. getting the ax.  That's not right. 

 

I personally am of the opinion that some sort of money should be flowing to the players because the business of college sports has gotten out of control with big money TV and endorsement deals for schools and coaches, conference realignment (almost exclusively for the sake of TV $$ for football), etc.  However, I can't think of a way to do it without ceding control over college sports (football and basketball in particular) to agents and major boosters at certain schools who will essentially buy players with either direct payments, no-show summer jobs, or lucrative "endorsement" contracts.  I know there are a lot of problems with this and it likely would never work, but I've been thinking that maybe it becomes a situation where 30-40 major colleges in the big conferences break away from the NCAA and form a superconference.  Then the NFL and NBA pay these schools to serve as a minor league system for them, with the money trickling down to the athletes at each school.  The kids would get a scholarship that could be used concurrently with their playing the sport, or within a defined period thereafter.  The incentive to create parity amongst the teams would be immediate playing time their freshman and sophmore season, with the draft for both sports occurring after their sophmore year. 

 

If nothing else, it will be interesting to see how this all shakes out over time.


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#15 Daniel

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 02:57 PM

Junior players get stipends - there's rumors of under the table payment for certain players but basically the Canadian system is not much different.

 

Yeah, I recall hearing something about Patrick Kane getting something like that.  But otherwise didn't mean to suggest  that Junior hockey clubs gives players actual salaries. 


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#16 dmann422

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 03:52 PM

That's just it. There are no easy answers here at all. Every proposed solution just bring up a whole new set of problems with respect to how college sports are run and regulated.

Snip

If nothing else, it will be interesting to see how this all shakes out over time.

yeah, even your proposed solution sounds nice but is way too far out in left field for many NCAA traditionalists.

Which brings me to another point that I think may get lost in this- I highly doubt the vast majority of players are truly worth a lot at all, I would argue that most of the high revenue programs sustain their revenues based on tradition more than the actual in field talent (ie Alabama, Ohio state, Florida, etc will still take in the bucks even if the team stunk).
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#17 Neb00rs

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 10:23 PM

But do they get the privilege of playing in Newark?


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#18 Triumph

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 10:37 PM

yeah, even your proposed solution sounds nice but is way too far out in left field for many NCAA traditionalists.

Which brings me to another point that I think may get lost in this- I highly doubt the vast majority of players are truly worth a lot at all, I would argue that most of the high revenue programs sustain their revenues based on tradition more than the actual in field talent (ie Alabama, Ohio state, Florida, etc will still take in the bucks even if the team stunk).

 

if this is true why are they hiring coaches for millions of dollars?  doesn't add up at all.


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#19 Chuck the Duck

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 09:19 AM

if this is true why are they hiring coaches for millions of dollars?  doesn't add up at all.

 

Because if those programs win, they take in even more money (BCS Bowl payouts, merchandising, TV rights deals, endorsements, etc.).  They may sellout every home game and make a huge profit no matter how bad the program is, but it doesn't change the fact that those schools want to win and make a lot more money when they do.  It makes perfect sense.


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