With the success of Alabama’s football program in the past decade, the school has brought in millions of dollars. In fact, the entire Alabama athletic department earned $143 million last season. That total, according to Marc Edelman, an associate professor at City University of New York, is more than all 30 NHL teams and 25 of the 30 teams in the NBA.
With the National Labor Relations Board’s ruling that Northwestern football players could unionize, the potential for the revenue structure in major college athletics to change is very real. Edelman spoke to the Associated Press regarding the potential for that change and the enormous quantities of money involved.
Texas earned even more than that – reportedly pulling in a whopping $165 million. $109 million of that profit came from football alone, but some schools are spending as much, if not more, than they earn. If the efforts for unionization are successful, the revenue streams will change and that could impact the way programs spend money and what they spend it on.
"If athletes make any gains through organization of unions and collective bargaining, it's going to come at the expense of other spending that's going on in the athletic department. Most of that extra money goes to coaches' salaries, facility upgrades and recruiting," Rod Fort, a sports economist and co-director at the Michigan Center for Sport Management, told the AP. "It's precisely that spending that makes the university the attractive place that it is to come and play in the first place."
Northwestern’s players will vote on April 25 to decide whether or not to authorize a union to represent them in collective bargaining with the school.
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