Kentucky fans know firsthand just how valuable elite players can be. After going back-to-back seasons suffering a roller coaster of emotions, it comes without saying that the players with the most value equal wins. Kentucky went from the best team in basketball and hoisting a new banner in Rupp Arena in 2012, to an off-season of shaming, thanks to a first-round NIT loss the following season.
Valuable players are hard to come by… Well, maybe not so much for John Calipari. But this season may be the most valuable of them all. Time Magazine writer Sean Gregory had an idea to apply the business model in the NBA where the collective bargaining agreement provides 50 percent of the revenue generated by the league, and he applied it to college sports. He used Syracuse University as an example, and calculated Orange star C.J. Fair is worth close to $1 million to his team.
Finding how much Kentucky players are worth is easy by simply applying the same formula.
Last season Kentucky men’s basketball reported a revenue of $21,598,680. Take 50 percent of that and divide it by 13, the number of scholarships offered on an NCAA basketball team, and then subtract $10,200 for the University of Kentucky’s current room and board.
What do you get? Aaron Harrison, Andrew Harrison, Julius Randle, Alex Poythress, Willie Cauley-Stein, and each individual member of the Wildcats on scholarship are worth $820,518 a piece.
Consider this money doesn’t even include potential endorsement deals, which a number of the current Kentucky players would surely have if it were legal, and that bonuses for being star players versus the last guy off the bench would bump the total as well.
It is simple, but it demonstrates just how far the NCAA has to come to allow college athletes to get paid. These guys are worth a lot of money, and surely dividing the cash out to the estimated 420,000 Division-I college athletes will take a hit on Mark Emmert’s pocket book.