U of M Plans to Pay Gophers Athletes (Mostly Football Players) $21 Million Per Year

Photo courtesy of the University of MinnesotaCredit: Photo courtesy of the University of Minnesota

Thanks to a historic settlement agreed upon by the NCAA and its five major conferences, we are on the verge of seeing college athletes get paid by the schools that they represent for the first time in history. That includes the University of Minnesota.

Minnesota Gophers athletes will soon be paid ~$21 million by U of M

According to Chip Scoggins (Star Tribune), U of M athletic director Mark Coyle and the Board of Regents are preparing to pay Gophers athletes a total of ~$21 million per year, payments that could start being dispersed as soon as fall 2025.

…the Gophers will start paying their athletes, if the new system gains approval… that move would cost the athletic department a projected $21 million annually.

Chip Scoggins – Star Tribune

But not every U of M athlete is going to see a portion of that cash. Most of the money is likely be paid out to football players, which makes sense since football is the only sport on campus that generates significant amounts of revenue.

Gopher football makes the money, so their players will get paid

Minnesota Gophers Football
Photo: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Last year, for example, the University of Minnesota athletic department generated a total of $102 million in operating revenue. $77.2 million of that (about $75%) came from the football team. Closest to football was men’s basketball, which brought in $17.4 million. From there, it goes to men’s hockey ($5.8 million), then women’s volleyball ($1.3 million).

According to Scoggins, the only thing left to be figured out is how they will pay mostly football players (and a little bit to men’s basketball probably) when Title IX says that money needs to go to every student athlete on campus? Well, let’s just say that is about to be worked out in court.

College leaders are waiting for direction on how this new revenue-sharing system will mix with the principles of Title IX. This is a critical piece in understanding how that $21 million gets distributed. Will schools be required to split athlete payments evenly between male and female athletes? The many Title IX-related questions likely will be answered in court.

Chip Scoggins – Star Tribune

Chip won’t say it, but Title IX will likely be thrown out of high level college athletics. Title IX only existed because athletes were not being paid like professionals. With that changing, it only makes sense that Title IX will go by the wayside.

Once the Title IX thing is figured out, and that $21 million is allocated to each team accordingly (mostly football), each program that receives funding will get to decide how they go about spending it on talent. In other words, PJ Fleck will operate as the football team’s GM. Unless, of course, he and Coyle decide to hire someone else for that role.

Coyle said disbursement responsibility will fall to coaches or possibly a newly created position. “What does our department look like a year from now?” Coyle said. “Do we have to hire a GM-type of person?

Chip Scoggins – Star Tribune

This money will not be related to NIL. In fact, this is the beginning of the fix for the wild west world of NIL that is trying to ruin college athletics. Pretty soon, NIL contracts will be nothing more than “sponsorship deals”, just like they were prior to this “Name, Image and Likeness” era.

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