Conducted by Drexel University and the National College Players Association (which is helping Northwestern in its unionization push), the March survey found that the projected fair-market value of both college football and basketball players could reach into the six figures and beyond.
"The bidding war for athletes would likely be in the millions," Drexel sports management professor and report co-author Ellen Staurowsky told CNBC. "However, I think it all depends on whether or not a players’ association ends up representing the teams and players. … The salaries could be effectively bargained to have some sort of minimum guaranteed salary for all."
According to the report, the projected fair market value of the average college football player is $178,000 per year from 2011-2015, while the average college basketball player’s projected worth is $375,000 for the same period.
Though the report went on to state that higher-profile college athletes were calculated to be worth much more. Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel was projected to be worth as much as $547,000 in 2011-2012 while Kansas basketball star Andrew Wiggins was placed near the $1.6 million mark.
The fair market value of college football and basketball players was determined using "revenue-sharing percentages defined in the NFL and NBA collective bargaining agreements and team revenues as reported by each school to the federal government," according to an NBC News report.
Both the NCAA and Northwestern have said they’ve resolved to fight any attempt to change the status of college athletes to university employees.