Skip to main content

Study: Five-stars are worth $650,000 per year

A study attempting to isolate the value of blue-chip recruits found that a 5-star recruits is worth, on average, $650,000 per year to his college program.

The study, led by Ohio State economics professor Trevon Logan and to be published in Journal of Sports Economics, examined Rivals recruiting classes and attempted to parcel out what each recruit was worth to his school's revenue from 2002 through '12.

“There have been a lot of numbers put out there about how much college athletes should get under various compensation proposals,” Logan said. “But it’s hard to do that when you don’t know how players affect the bottom line. That’s what we’re trying to do here.”

The study found that each 5-star was worth .437 wins per season, but allowed that an individual 5-star may be worth more to Rutgers than Alabama. Four-stars were worth .159 wins, finding that one 5-star was worth more than two 4-stars.

The study found that even when removing team factors -- essentially, controlling for the fact that Alabama's roster isn't that different with 10 5-stars versus 11 -- the study found each 5-star "increase revenue by nearly $200,000, while four star recruits increase revenue by nearly $90,000."

Conversely, the study found that each 2-star recruit cost his school $13,000 per year.

If non-star players -- guys one would expect to become backups and depth players at a school like Alabama -- one would have to imagine how much each athlete in non-revenue sports "cost" his or her school.

The study will certainly join the discourse currently floating around the name, image and likeness conversation, one that appears to be nearing something resembling a conclusion. In a way, the Ohio State study will benefit both sides' arguments: that, clearly, college athletes could not be salaried employees, but that there is real market value that star players could capitalize upon on the open market.