A study conducted by The Ohio State University shows that five-star college football recruits are worth an average of $650,000 to their schools.
Using data from the Rivals recruiting rankings from 2002-12, the study also determined that four-star and three-star recruits increased their schools’ revenues by $350,000 and $150,000, respectively, while two-star recruits decreased revenues by $13,000 per year.
“There have been a lot of numbers put out there about how much college athletes should get under various compensation proposals,”said Ohio State economics professor Trevon Logan, who co-authored the study with former student Stephen Bergman. “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 figures were calculated by the team’s regular-season performance and postseason revenue, with a five-star prospect increasing a program’s chances of making the Bowl Championship Series — the predecessor of the College Football Playoff and the New Year’s Six bowl games, which were introduced for the 2014 season — by more than four percent, thus bringing additional revenue to the school.
“The best recruits had a significant impact on team performance and their ability to appear in the most lucrative postseason bowls,” Logan said.
That said, the revenue value of a top-rated prospect wouldn’t be as high at a program like Alabama or Ohio State as it would at other schools because those the Buckeyes and Crimson Tide attract top talent every year. In those cases, each five-star prospect increased revenue by nearly $200,000, while four-star recruits netted the school $90,000 per year.
Ohio State’s 2019 team — which reached the College Football Playoff semifinal — featured 14 former five-star players, including quarterback Justin Fields; wide receiver Garrett Wilson; offensive linemen Wyatt Davis, Nicholas Petit-Frere and Harry Miller; defensive linemen Zach Harrison, Antwuan Jackson, Taron Vincent and Chase Young; linebackers Baron Browning and Justin Hilliard; and defensive backs Tyreke Johnson, Jeff Okudah and Shaun Wade.
Okudah and Young are now off to the NFL, but the Buckeyes added a trio of five-star players in the last recruiting cycle in offensive tackle Paris Johnson and wide receivers Julian Fleming and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, meaning the 2020 team will be even more talented — and bring even more revenue as a result.
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