Reason-Rupe

Poll: Americans Say College Basketball Players Deserve Share of NCAA's TV Money and Merchandise Sales

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With the Final Four coming up, 64 percent of Americans tell Reason-Rupe that student-athletes should receive money if a college or company sells gear containing their likeness or jersey number. And 50 percent of Americans say college basketball players should share in the more than $700 million in television revenues the NCAA takes in for the basketball tournament each year. 

The latest Reason-Rupe poll asked a series of question about the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) and its revenues. Initially only 42 percent of Americans said college basketball players should be allowed to receive a portion of the revenues generated from NCAA basketball tournaments. But among African-Americans, that number jumped to 66 percent—while only 35 percent of whites said players should get paid.

The Reason-Rupe poll, however, showed that respondents' approval of student-athlete pay increased after they learned more about NCAA profits from the popular March Madness tournament.

After being informed that the NCAA will receive over $700 million this year for college basketball broadcasts for tournament games, 50 percent of Americans said that college basketball players should receive some portion of the television revenue.

And when it comes to college merchandise, a multi-billion dollar a year business, a majority of Americans—64 percent—said that student-athletes should receive money if a college or company sells gear containing their likeness or jersey number.

The disparity in racial attitudes over college athlete pay could be attributed to the fact that an overwhelming majority of basketball players are African-American—57.2 percent of NCAA men's basketball players and 76.3 percent NBA players identify as black, according to recent data.

But the gap in approval highlights the undercurrent of race as an issue in the latest battle over student-athlete pay—a battle that culminated with the National Labor Relations Board's historic ruling last week that said full-scholarship football players at Northwestern University are school employees and have a right to unionize.

What makes the student-athlete pay issue potential racial tinder is the fact that the revenue producing sports of basketball and football are predominantly played by minority athletes. As Dave Zirin over at The Nation explains:

It does not take Cornel West to point out that the revenue producing sports of basketball and football are overwhelmingly populated by African-American athletes. The population of the United States that is most desperate for an escape out of poverty is the population that has gotten the rawest possible deal from an NCAA, which is actively benefiting from this state of affairs.

Nationwide telephone poll conducted March 26-30, 2014 interviewed 1,003 adults on both mobile (503) and landline (500) phones, with a margin of error +/- 3.6%. Princeton Survey Research Associates International executed the nationwide Reason-Rupe survey. Columns may not add up to 100% due to rounding. Sign up for notifications of new releases of the Reason-Rupe poll here.

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  1. I expect to get savaged for this but…

    Can we get a separation of college and sports? Please?

    1. Why? College athletics end up allowing more people to go to college that would otherwise not afford it. The fact that 100 or so a year in two sports are being denied rightful entry into the professional marketplace by the unions of those sports shouldn’t be allowed to fuck it up for the rest of the tens of thousands of kids I. College sports, many of which would otherwise not be able to afford college.

      1. You know, they could give those scholarships to academically talented students instead. Besides big football and basketball schools, do sports really bring in money for schools?

        Not that I think that there should be any laws or regulations about it. Well, besides ending the massive subsidies for college that drive up prices and dilute the quality and rigor of the education.

        1. The football and basketball programs at the big schools pay for the rest of the athletic program. If it weren’t for them, many of the students getting a free ride couldn’t afford to go to school. Those scholarships wouldn’t be going to kids for academics in lieu of sports. They wouldn’t exist.

          I 100% agree with every word of your second paragraph.

          1. “The football and basketball programs at the big schools pay for the rest of the athletic program.”

            That’s only true for a handful, most schools lose money on athletics, even with footbal and basketball.

            http://espn.go.com/college-spo…..-more-make

            That’s one article, there are many others.

    2. There’s no point in doing so unless you’re going to make it illegal for a college to have athletics. So I guess my question is: how would you go about ensuring this separation?

    3. Why should it be illegal for a college to have a sports program? And if it shouldn’t be, then why should you care about separating colleges and sports?

    4. I like the idea, but there is no good way to make it happen without a lot of force. I’d like to see college be about academics and not campus life, football and silly activism. But it’s not going to happen.

    5. I think separation of schools and goverments is way more important. Then we can leave it up to each individual school what kind of resources they put into their sports.

      I realize that isn’t happening. Just sayin.

  2. Ok, and?

    Most Americans also probably think corporations should have to give more profits to their workers and that CEO salaries should be tied to performance.

    What Americans think the relationship between two private and consenting parties is of no concern to me. And those players are free to not enter college if they believe they will not be fairly compensated for their athletic ability.

    A better question would be: “Do you believe it is fair for the NBAPA and NFLPA to bar entry to their leagues for people that are old enough to go fight in a war?”

    1. A better question would be: “Do you believe it is fair for the NBAPA and NFLPA to bar entry to their leagues for people that are old enough to go fight in a war?”

      Yes.

      1. Really? Would you be equally fine if a union said “no black people can work here” or “no Atheists are allowed to work in our profession”?

        1. that would be their right. Regardless of that, the NFL and the NBA rightly wager that the iterative transactions they have with the NCAA are way more important than finding that occasional Lebron James. That’s a completely rational decision to make.

        2. What NK said. You guys don’t believe in the CRA and government mandated benefits in any other context, why do you get so stupid in this context?

          1. Here’s what I will say: I have no opinion on whether what the NFL or NBA does is fair, because that’s meaningless to me. What I do know is that it’s not comparable to excluding blacks or atheists because those are irrational prejudices. The NFL and NBA have completely rational justifications for excluding high schoolers – they’d rather have a good relationship with their free farm teams than mess that up. AND THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT.

            1. No there is not. All they are doing is using the NCAA to train their employees. The NBA and the NFL don’t want to go to the expense of taking players out of high school and paying them to learn how to play at the pro level when they can have the NCAA do it for free. The NFL and NBA would be breaking their duty to their owners and investors if they didn’t take advantage of the NBA.

              1. If the NFL and NBA had some level of consistency in their implementation of age restrictions then I might agree with you. But since they have changed the age/years out of school to enter with some regularity, then your argument is invalid.

                This is the union protecting union jobs, pure and simple.

                As for your “you guys hate the CRA” comment above, I guess I should have given the SLD in my original statement. Iam comparing the two situations that exist under current law, not what the ideal is.

                1. no, they’re protecting their interactions with the NCAA, which makes sense because that’s where most of their talent comes from.

                2. “But since they have changed the age/years out of school to enter with some regularity, then your argument is invalid.”

                  What? Am I missing something or is this just a bald, baseless assertion.

                  Nothing you said there invalidates anything.

    2. What Americans think the relationship between two private and consenting parties is of no concern to me.

      Why isn’t it? Ideas have consequences, and what people in a democracy believe might wind up being forced by law. And you probably think that’s a bad thing, so why aren’t you concerned about influences that might lead to a bad thing?

  3. Getting a free education and fucking co-eds just isn’t enough reward for throwing a rubber ball through a hoop from 25 feet away.

    1. If you can jack it in from 25′ out with consistency, you ought to be in the NBA…fucking co-eds.

      1. When you go pro, you can afford the hookers and blow.

    2. I had to attend PT five times a week, go on FTXs for a couple of weeks and then deploy to two wars for my “free” education, so here’s a fucking sympathy card for the poor players.

      1. So you entered into a voluntary transaction with the Army to be a soldier and these kids entered into a separate voluntary transaction based on their willingness to play a sport as a representative of the school. In my eyes, both of you are winners.

  4. I’m amused they think the fans are there to see them. they kind of admit to it when they want to claim jersey numbers too.

    1. The fans are there to see the laundry. When the NBA was accepting players straight out of high school, college basketball didn’t miss a beat despite no longer having the best players.

  5. Most Americans might think fast food workers deserve $15 an hour. So fucking what? To the extent that members of the NCAA are public schools and the voters get the final say over what they do, voters’ opinions matter, WITH REGARDS TO THOSE SCHOOLS. The private schools and the NCAA itself are private organizations. Who gives a fuck what you or I or anyone else thinks they should be doing for athletes? It is their business and they can run it how they like.

    Why the hell does Reason get their minimum wage supporting Progressive on whenever this topic is discussed?

    1. I dunno man. I don’t get it either.

      And it isn’t like those players who don’t win the NFL lottery have shitty lives. Here in Columbus I can reel off about three dozen players who are all successful in the city doing something else based on their name like running restaurants, selling insurance, cars, whatever.

    2. Where does Reason say that colleges should be forced to pay players?

      1. It’s straightforward factual reporting *this time* that seems to support the magazine’s thrust on this subject.

        1. So nowhere.

          1. Yes, I agree. The thrust of John’s point is that reason goes Social Justice on this issue when it doesn’t in many other places (e.g. minimum wage at McDonald’s).

          2. They only report this because they think people’s opinion is somehow relevant.

            1. And it isn’t? The NCAA and big athletic schools have a lot of interest in the goodwill of college sports fans, I would think.

  6. It’s a free market. An owner is never obligated to share profits with it’s employees.

    If the player doesn’t like the pay, he’s free to play for another team or get a job doing something else. There’s thousands , if not millions, of young tall men that can entertain people on TV with a basketball.

    1. It’s a free market. An owner is never obligated to share profits with it’s employees.

      Profession sport team owners run on vanity, not profits. Vanity is underrated. God bless our vainglorious sport team owners.

      1. This is true. Just as with newspapers, there are money-losing ballclubs. For example, owners of many women’s tackle football clubs have lost money over years.

    2. “If the player doesn’t like the pay, he’s free to play for another team or get a job doing something else. ”

      If you were aware of the NCAA rules, you’d realize that this is not the case.

    3. Million? I love how talentless people depreciate how difficult it is to play a sport at a professional level. You have to have a lot more talent, ability, heart, and drive to play professional basketball.

      WAY more than to be an actor, television hostess, or god knows PhD in Women’s Studies.

      1. She’s talking about college not professional, hero. Other than that…well that invalidates your entire point.

        She’s right that there are probably literally millions of kids who would play for a scholarship in a heartbeat.

  7. The disparity in racial attitudes over college athlete pay could be attributed to the fact that an overwhelming majority of basketball players are African-American?57.2 percent of NCAA men’s basketball players and 76.3 percent NBA players identify as black, according to recent data.

    Alexis Garcia:

    First you wrote “African-American”, then you wrote “black”. Welcome, but your deprogramming is incomlpete.

    1. Maybe those players don’t identify as “African-American”.

      1. Yes, there are some “African-African’s” in the NBA as well as at least one “African-Frog” that I can think of.

        1. African Fuck Frogs? Wow, that Arnold Cunningham is really making a difference.

  8. Dude seems to lnmpw what time it is, thats for sure.

    http://www.GotzAnon.tk

  9. No one ever went broke underestimating the stupidity of the American Public.

    If these kids want a share of what the NCAA is making, fine, just give back your free ride that you are glomming off the taxpayers to State U and pay for your own damn tuition.

    1. I wouldn’t have an issue with partial scholarships if the players were getting paychecks. Plenty of students do work-study programs where they are paid through the school, and this is one option that can be looked at. Hell, the players have so much of their time taken up by the coaches it might as well be a part-time job as it is.

      But yeah, I agree that if they are getting NCAA cheddar, there’s no point in giving them a free ride anymore.

  10. Since only a fraction of schools make a profit on their athletic programs, with the remainder being subsidized by the government, I’m wondering what most of these players think is going to happen when it comes to salary negotiation time?

  11. After being informed that the NCAA will receive over $700 million this year for college basketball broadcasts for tournament games, 50 percent of Americans said that college basketball players should receive some portion of the television revenue.

    And when it comes to college merchandise, a multi-billion dollar a year business, a majority of Americans?64 percent?said that student-athletes should receive money if a college or company sells gear containing their likeness or jersey number.

    Why should they receive it? Just because they were given a free education, housing, and access to training facilities and equipment in exchange for playing a sport for the university?

    As far as the NCAA is concerned, I wouldn’t be sad if it disappeared tomorrow. The NCAA has turned American colleges into the NBA and NFL’s farm league. University admins go along with it because, as the poll points out, $700 million + TV licensing + merchandise. As far as the athletes who are getting this free education, how many full ride basketball and football players would be in college but for their ability to play football or basketball?

    1. It wasn’t the NCAA that did that in any but a very formal sense. It was the colleges themselves. They’d’ve probably wound up doing it no matter how they wound up organizing. You think the NAIA or NJCAA is any better in that regard?

  12. I see a lot of assuming in this thread that these kids are getting an ‘education’ at all.

    If this were true we wouldn’t have documentaries like “Broke”.

    1. With a piece as good as Broke, you’ve got to post a link to it.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okFEZCgE5ag

      Spending money is easy. Making money is hard.

  13. Having never seen the contract that these kids sign, it’s hard to necessarily feel bad for them. However, I would say if there isn’t some language in their about licensing their likenesses and such, they’d at least have a point on that front.

  14. To my knowledge, no school sells a player’s name on a jersey. Texas A&M doesn’t sell Manziel jerseys. They sell Texas A&M jerseys with a 2 on it. And very few college jerseys are retired to where no more incoming players may wear that number, and those that are retired are of players who are no longer students who would have more of a claim on the sales of THAT numbered jersey than anyone who can wear any number.

    I think the Northwestern students unionizing are going to find out pretty quickly that they’d lose their NCAA eligibility if Northwestern paid them, and anything they might make is going to quickly be sucked up by other expenditures. $700M divided by over 300 schools whose teams are eligible for the Big Dance ends up not being much when the ~$2M per school gets a cut taken by everyone who works at the NCAA as an actual employee, shares divided by member schools, and then distributed to all the various sports that are operating in the red. And the same goes for all the money from the other NCAA revenue streams. Like all unions, they forget the money actually does get spent/reinvested/donated/stolen-by-the-IRS.

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