Before the start of the college football season, theBig Ten signed a series of massive new media rights deals that will generate an average of at least $1.1 billion per year for the conference. While the athletes won’t see any of that money directly, a few prominent figures in the conference are calling for that to change – and you can add Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh to that chorus.
During his weekly media availability on Monday, a reporter asked Harbaugh whether he believed players should get a cut of the multi-billion-dollar television contracts. The Michigan coach offered a blunt and straightforward response.
“I think you know exactly where I stand on that. Well-documented that I do believe the players should receive a revenue share from the massive TV deals that have been worked out,” Harbaugh said, according to Wolverines Wire. “As I said back in the summer, a large piece should come the ones who are negotiating those TV deals. It’s seven-point some billion? It’s a lot. It’s a lot of money. Yeah, I think players should receive a revenue share.”
Harbaugh is certainly not alone in this stance. Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud said last month that he believes revenue should be shared with athletes. But perhaps most notably, Big Ten Conference commissioner Kevin Warren has said he’s open to the idea of revenue sharing.
At Big Ten Media Days in July, Warren said he has begun conversations about revenue-sharing with a newly-formed student-athlete advisory and advocacy committee.
“I’ve already started some dialogue with our student-athletes,” Warren said in July. “I want to be a great listener to figure out what is important to them. It’s so easy to talk about money and share money, but what does that really mean? I want to make sure that I listen and learn to be able to have big ears and a small mouth to truly understand what’s important to them.”
During the Aug. 23 edition of Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel, Warren reiterated that stance, telling Gumbel he could foresee the conference or individual teams directly paying athletes one day.