Don't Pay College Athletes, Sports Fans Say

Marist Poll/Center for Sports Communication Survey Finds Little Support for Compensation Beyond Scholarships

Poll also Addressing Coaching Pay and Other Ethical Questions in College Sports Receives Broad National Attention

POUGHKEEPSIE - As the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, one of the nation’s biggest and richest sporting events, heads to Atlanta for this weekend’s Final Four, a new Marist poll concerning fan sentiment on important ethical issues in college sports is receiving national attention.

Since it was released last week, the survey of 754 sports fans conducted by the Marist Poll in conjunction with the Marist College Center for Sports Communication has been covered in Sports Illustrated, The Washington Post, NBC Sports, USA Today, and dozens of other print and radio news outlets nationwide. 

Among the poll’s key findings:

  • Only 27 percent of respondents feel top college athletes deserve a salary/stipend above a scholarship
  • Nearly half feel top college coaches should be paid as much as (45 percent) or more than (3 percent) professional coaches
  •  95 percent feel college athletes should go to class like all other college students
  •  67 percent feel colleges regularly cheat and break NCAA rules, up from the 55 percent that believed that last year
  • When athletes get in trouble, 70 percent of sports fans believe that athletes themselves are to blame as opposed to coaches (16 percent) or college presidents (12 percent)
  • Most college basketball fans (77 percent) think the NCAA men's basketball tournament is just the right size, while only 3 percent want it expanded to include more teams

"I have expected that, over the years, people would start to recognize the athletes work very hard and it's kind of an unstable, unpaid labor force, and you would start to see those numbers creep up a little bit more,'' Center for Sports Communication Director Keith Strudler told the Associated Press, referring to the lack of support for paying college athletes.  "And we saw kind of the opposite happen this year. Overwhelmingly, people thought that a scholarship was all that people really deserved.”

 Strudler’s take: "Increasingly, people seem to want to kind of buy back into this myth of amateurism.''

 For more analysis, please visit the Center for Sports Communication’s research page and YouTube channelFor full poll results and methodology, please visit the Marist Poll.

About the Marist College Center for Sports Communication                                                                                                                          Founded in October of 2011, the Marist College Center for Sports Communication promotes the study of and practice in sports communication, helping to prepare an enlightened and engaged group of future leaders in one of society's most far reaching disciplines. The center, first and foremost, serves Marist students, but also affiliated Marist faculty and staff, working professionals in sports media and communication, and the greater community with interests in the field through curricular development in sports communication, research and creative activity in sports communication, presentations by leaders in the field, and community service as relevant to the discipline. In fulfilling this mission, the Marist College Center for Sports Communication forges relationships with external agencies in the field of sports communication, including Marist alumni working in the field. The center maintains an advisory board and a network of affiliate members, all of whom provide guidance and support for the center's activities.