The statistical geniuses at the FiveThirtyEight blog jumped into the debate over paying college athletes by taking a look at the worth of college football quarterbacks and the results are quite astonishing.
The blog looked at the stats for the top 10 rated college quarterbacks of the last season and found that if they were to receive a fair salary for their effort (fair meaning more than zero), they would draw anywhere from $1.7 million to $3 million. The top quarterback Florida State’s Jameis Winston earned the highest salary level beating out LSU’s Teddy Bridgewater by less than $200,000, even though Bridgewater is actually headed to the Minnesota Vikings. The blog also looked the best and brightest from the last six years of college football and found that their financial worthiness ranked even hired with names such as Stanford’s Andrew Luck worth at least $3.4 million for his 2010 season.
The process for determining each quarterback’s financial worth was a complicated one but here’s the basic breakdown. First, they compiled nine seasons worth of stats from each quarterbacks’ games and coupled them with the financial income of the schools they played for each year. Then they threw in the players’ win percentages and coupled it with each players’ “Total Quarterback Rating” using stats collected by ESPN analysts. Finally and just to sum up, they sprinkled some magic math dust over the whole thing and their salaries magically appeared.
This does change the debate over playing athletes quite a bit. We’re all for the notion that players should get something for their time considering the fact that they barely get an education given all the time they spend preparing for the big game and most end up quitting school to join the pros anyway. However, can you imagine the kind of damage that a single, reckless college quarterback can do with $3 million a year?