Back in January, two Democratic senators introduced federal legislation called the College Athlete Bill of Rights.
Among a long list of reforms, there was one item that jumped out as a potential game-changer to college sports: Schools would be required to share 50% of their profit with athletes from revenue-generating sports after accounting for cost of scholarships.
“How does that even work?” Boston College athletic director Patrick Kraft said.
In an Associated Press survey sent to 357 Division I athletic directors, 69% said they would strongly oppose “being required to give college athletes a share of university revenue derived from sports.” Another 19.6% said they somewhat oppose sharing athletic department revenue with athletes.
Almost 77% of athletic directors said many fewer schools would be competitive in sports if schools had to share revenue with athletes and another 13% said somewhat fewer schools would be competitive.
An overwhelming majority of respondents in the survey that granted athletic directors anonymity in exchange for candor said sharing revenue with athletes would make it more difficult for their departments to comply with Title IX and provide equal opportunities to men and women. More than 75% said it would be much more difficult and almost 19% said somewhat more.
“What little revenue 95% of institutions realize through revenue sports, goes toward supporting other sports,” one respondent said. “Paying those 5% of students will devastate the other teams that rely on that revenue to survive....”
Most of the survey respondents came from schools outside the Power Five conferences — only 11 of the 99 ADs who participated in the survey were from the Power Five — the wealthiest and most powerful in college sports that include the Atlantic Coast Conference Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and Southeastern Conference.