College football winners, losers in historic NCAA vs. House settlement that will pay players

It's finally happened: the NCAA and schools will start paying players in college football and other sports after the historic settlement that puts them on the hook, big time.
College football's winners and losers after the historic House vs. NCAA settlement
College football's winners and losers after the historic House vs. NCAA settlement / USA Today Sports | IMAGN

History was made this week as the House vs. NCAA settlement has forever changed college football and other collegiate sports, as the landmark court ruling is set to comprehensively change the landscape in college athletics and, for the first time in 100-plus years, actually pay players.

Not only will the NCAA hand out around $2.8 billion in back-pay to former athletes, but the case will also create a framework that implements an official revenue-sharing plan with athletes in the future.

Granted, there is still a mountain of details to be sorted out, but this is the first enormous step in what amounts to a revolution in the relationship between the NCAA, schools, and athletes.

It's a historic moment in college football and other sports that will completely change things in the years to come. Who came out ahead in the settlement? And who got left behind?

College Football's Winners, Losers in NCAA vs. House Settlement

1. Winner: The Players

A no-brainer here as for the first time ever, in more than 150 years of college football history, the players on the field will actually get a piece of the billions of dollars that schools, conferences, and the NCAA have been making this whole time. NIL already made this a fact of sorts, but that was through boosters and donors; now, schools themselves will be handing out cash, and in the future, far more than the $2.8 billion this settlement demands.

2. Loser: The NCAA

The amateurism model that the NCAA has relied on for its legitimacy is out the window, and while the body will still exist, its enormous power over college football and other sports will be diminished not only in the hearts and minds of everyone involved, but financially, too: the NCAA has to fork over more than $1 billion of this price tag, meaning there are big cuts to come in the future at the office.

3. Loser: Assistants & Administrators

Universities love to spend money on assistant football coaches and other hefty salaries for administrative personnel, coaching buyouts, and other expenses like the arms race of upgrading and outdoing rivals when it comes to facilities. They could do that in large part because of the gigantic reserve of money the schools weren't sharing with the players. That's over.

Which means schools will have to be far more careful about how they direct those resources. Don't expect big assistant salaries to go away entirely, though, as a lot of that money still comes from boosters with deep pockets. And likely now from private equity firms, which are expected to join the party for a piece of the profits, and also want some power in how programs are run.

4. Winner: Realigned Conferences

Namely, the SEC and the Big Ten. College football's decision makers saw something like this day coming down the pike, and the smart ones got ahead of the trend and beefed up their memberships in part to help offset the cost of what's to come.

According to Yahoo Sports, schools are expected to pay up to $30 million each over the next decade to cover revenue sharing and back damages, among other costs. By adding new members, increasing their value, and signing nice, fat media contracts, those leagues have a surer financial foundation to weather this storm now and in the future.

But while the SEC and Big Ten will have north of $70 million per school to pay out of, the ACC and Big 12 will only have about $44 million per school to work with. Which is why Florida State and Clemson are currently looking for a way out.

5. Loser: Smaller Sports

While the big-time college football and basketball programs should be able to find the money to hand out to players, that question remains open for sports that don't make anything like that kind of revenue.

The financial implications of the settlement are enormous and schools could embark on major staffing and coaching cuts, and will likely delay or completely put off upgrades. In time, that could mean the end of many smaller sports that, while they don't get on primetime on ESPN, still do have local, long-time, passionate followers and traditions of their own.


More college football from SI: Top 25 Rankings | Schedule | Teams

Follow College Football HQ: Bookmark | Rankings | Picks

James Parks


James Parks is the founder and publisher of College Football HQ. He previously covered football for 247Sports and CBS Interactive. College Football HQ joined the Sports Illustrated Fannation Network in 2022.