"A handoff, Gibbs, a give-back, a look for Artino, they look for McDermott. He's outside the arc. McDermott gets a screen. For three! Goes in! Yessir!" The voice of John Bishop, Creighton's play-by-play man, rang over the radio broadcast. There was brief silence. In the background, the public address announcer told an already deafening crowd that Creighton star Doug McDermott had just gone "for threeeeee thousand" in his illustrious career. "He has done it! History has been made in Omaha, Nebraska!" Bishop shouted. Moments later, Doug McDermott's father called a timeout. He could do that, of course, because he's also Doug's coach. Doug buried his head into Greg's shoulder. Doug McDermott scored points No. 2,999, 3,000 and 3,001 all at once, a 3-pointer from NBA range with 11:27 left during Saturday's game against Providence. The likely National Player of the Year finished the game with a career-high 45 points, the perfect ending to a Senior Night for the most prolific player of this era. During his four years as Bluejay, McDermott has scored 3,011 career points, seventh on the all-time Division I men's basketball scoring list. He's done that by shooting 55% from the field, and it's put him in position to become a first-team All-American for the third consecutive season, the first player to earn that distinction since Patrick Ewing and Wayman Tisdale in 1985. Creighton has long boasted a deep basketball tradition and a loyal following in the Missouri Valley Conference — but there was a shift in the past four years. The already large home crowds in this city of 420,000 grew bigger and more boisterous. The Bluejays won games and kept winning, amassing a 104-36 record and reaching the NCAA tournament's round of 32. Last spring, they were tapped to join the Big East, drastically increasing their exposure and revenue. It's crazy to credit McDermott for Creighton's recent, swift rise to national prominence, but it's even crazier not to. *** Measuring a college athlete's true value can be difficult — and somewhat uncomfortable, considering it stands in stark contrast to the bedrock of amateurism on which the NCAA stands. But in McDermott's case, it's relatively simple to calculate a figure. Jason Belzer, a sports attorney and Forbes magazine contributor, suggests adding two numbers: McDermott's impact on the team measured by scoring proportion and NCAA tournament appearance payout. Creighton basketball brought in about $5.5 million in 2012-13, according to the Equity in Athletics Disclosure database. Typically, one would divide that number by 13 scholarship players to determine how much each is worth — but McDermott has contributed more than his fair share to the program. McDermott has scored approximately 28.1% of the Bluejays' points since the fall of 2010; crediting him with 28% of Creighton's four-year total basketball revenue would mean that he has accounted for $6.2 million. The revenue numbers include a significant uptick in ticket sales during McDermott's career — Creighton's attendance rose from 13,507 his freshman season to 17,155 and climbing the past two seasons. Assuming Creighton would not have made the NCAA tournament and advanced to the round of 32 the past two seasons without him, one also can attribute the four NCAA tournament units awarded to him. That's about $1.5 million per unit ($250,000 per year, over six years). Belzer argues that the financial value McDermott has brought to Creighton starts at $12.2 million over his four-year career, at least in tangible numbers, and goes up from there. One could also speculate that McDermott has brought in millions of dollars in media exposure to both his school and the Big East this season as a potential national Player of the Year, and that a deep NCAA tournament run this month could net millions more. An Elite Eight appearance alone would earn $6 million (four NCAA tournament units). "He might be, in financial terms at least, an outlier (because of) the fact that he stayed for four years," Belzer said. "His financial impact at the University this year at least is no different from, say, a great All-American or National Player of the Year. But the fact that he's been there for so many years, that he's taken them to multiple NCAA tournaments, that really puts his value at a different echelon." Add in part of Creighton's share of the Big East's media rights contract — the 10-team league signed a 12-year deal with FOX worth approximately $500 million — and the figures start to look astronomical. It's hard to argue that McDermott played no role in the conference upgrade, even when considering all of the other factors involved. "I don't know why the Big East chose us over a lot of other schools — I've never been told specifically," Creighton athletic director Bruce Rasmussen said. "The overall athletic program, our fan support, the facilities, but certainly you could say if we didn't have the success in the previous three years in men's basketball that we've had, maybe we wouldn't have gotten in. I think it was an accumulation, but certainly our men's basketball success in the last three or four years helped." Said Greg McDermott: "A potential Player of the Year candidate (plus) all of those things, it created a perfect storm for us to be attractive enough to be selected." Tom Shatel, a columnist at the Omaha World-Herald, wants to see Doug in bronze. He penned a column last week begging for Creighton to erect a statue, a way to not only commemorate but immortalize a player he called a "shooting star." "What are the odds that there will be another player like McDermott, with his impact on the program and community, anytime soon? If ever?" Shatel wrote. "Let's not kid ourselves that Creighton's emergence as a national name could have happened without him. The instant credibility that comes with a former mid-major finishing second in the Big East in its first year doesn't happen without No. 3."
Is Doug McDermott worth $12.2M to Creighton?
USA Today | Mar 12