Should UGA Football players earn $154,000 per season? Some fans think so

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Following the Georgia Bulldogs epic win in Monday’s National Championship Game, Georgia football fans clearly believe their players should also be rewarded for their efforts financially. 

Indeed, any college football fan would have picked up on the Supreme Court’s landmark decision last year, which upended a decades-old NCAA model that considered college athletes as strictly amateurs, unable to be remunerated for playing their chosen sport. While the ruling still forbids salaries, it does allow college athletes to benefit financially in other ways. This could end up meaning athletes capitalizing monetarily on their celebrity status. Supreme Justice Kavanaugh described it as “an important and overdue course correction.”

While the court’s decision did categorically rule out salaries, it does beg the question—hypothetically, if they were to receive salaries, how much would be fair? posed this question to 3,000 college football fans in a poll, which revealed some interesting results.

The study revealed that, on average, fans believe college football players should receive a yearly salary of $170,815. Not a bad salary for a 20-something-year-old, but some may be surprised that it is a little on the low side, considering that many of these athletes play in front of huge audiences, and have celebrity status themselves. However, when comparing against a median NFL salary, the survey result starts to make more sense. In fact, many are surprised to learn that the median NFL salary is “just” $860,000. Many fans’ perceptions of NFL salaries are perhaps swayed by the big money contracts offered to starting quarterbacks, the average being a cool $5,766,000. And a few have contracts of over $30 million a season! For context, the median salary for a running back in the NFL is $630,000—not a shabby income, but these guys tend to only last around 3 years playing in the league.

However, different college football fans have different perceptions on what their players should be paid. The survey found that Florida fans of teams such as the Florida State Seminoles, the Florida Gators, and the Miami Hurricanes topped the salary expectation league. Fans think their players should receive an average salary of $228,920 per season.

The survey found that fans of the Georgia Bulldogs would want their players to earn $154,800 per season. Those supporting the Nebraska Cornhuskers, however, think their players should only receive a salary of $91,160 per season—still not bad!

Infographic showing a breakdown of salaries per college team

ALABAMA: Alabama Crimson Tide + Auburn Tigers – $190,429

ARIZONA: Arizona Wildcats + Arizona Sun State Devils – $215,000

ARKANSAS: Arkansas Razorbacks – $152,889

CALIFORNIA: California Golden Bears + UCLA Bruins + USC Trojans + Stanford Cardinals – $203,273

COLORADO: Colorado Buffaloes – $132,909

FLORIDA: Florida State Seminoles + Miami Hurricanes + Florida Gators – $228,682

GEORGIA: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets + Georgia Bulldogs – $154,800

ILLINOIS: Illinois Fighting Illini + Northwestern Wildcats – $144,593

INDIANA: Indiana Hoosiers + Purdue Boilermakers + Notre Dame Fighting Irish – $181,297

IOWA: Iowa Hawkeyes + Iowa State Cyclones – $137,600

KANSAS: Kansas Jayhawks + Kansas State Wildcats – $201,563

KENTUCKY: Louisville Cardinals + Kentucky Wildcats – $188,863

LOUISIANA: Louisiana Tigers – $219,778

MARYLAND: Maryland Terrapins – $138,710

MASSACHUSETTS: Boston College Eagles – $174,263

MICHIGAN: Michigan Wolverines + Michigan State Spartans – $154,800

MINNESOTA: Minnesota Golden Gophers – $180,323

MISSISSIPPI: Ole Miss Rebels + Mississippi State Bulldogs – $152,889

MISSOURI – Missouri Tigers – $144,024

NEBRASKA – Nebraska Cornhuskers – $91,160

NEW JERSEY: Rutgers Scarlet Knights – $223,600

NEW YORK: Syracuse Orange – $205,444

NORTH CAROLINA: Duke Blue Devils + North Carolina Tar Heels + NC State Wolfpack + Wake Forest Demon Deacons – $221,973

OHIO: Ohio State Buckeyes – $200,115

OKLAHOMA: Oklahoma State Cowboys + Oklahoma Sooners – $113,029 

OREGON: Oregon Ducks + Oregon State Beavers – $172,000

PENNSYLVANIA: Pittsburgh Panthers + Penn State Nittany Lions – $155,619

SOUTH CAROLINA: Clemson Tigers + South Carolina Gamecocks – $174,966

TENNESSEE: Tennessee Volunteers + Vanderbilt Commodores – $154,800

TEXAS: Baylor Bears + TCU Horned Frogs + Texas Tech Red Raiders + Texas Longhorns + Texas A&M Aggies – $181,096

UTAH: Utah Utes – $166,267

VIRGINIA: Virginia Cavaliers + Virginia Tech Hokies – $152,581

WASHINGTON: Washington Huskies + Washington State Cougars – $164,412

WEST VIRGINIA: West Virginia Mountaineers – $176,914

WISCONSIN: Wisconsin Badgers – $147,813

“While salaries for playing football at college are still not permitted under the NCAA model, should this rule ever be changed, our survey at least provides a good benchmark of what college football salaries should be,” says a spokesperson for “We had a lot of fun working on this hypothetical study!” 

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