Findings at Same Time as Yesterday’s NLRB Ruling Re: Northwestern
Americans show support for benefits to student/athletes apart from
adding salaries to scholarships, according to a poll conducted this week
by the Seton Hall Sports Poll.
While only 29% support the addition of salaries (vs. 66% opposing),
the findings also showed that 45% said the athletes should receive
additional spending money, (49% said no), that 36% said that athletes
should receive medical benefits after they graduate, (57% said no), and
that 42% said athletes should receive free post-graduate education at
their university (49% said no).
The poll, conducted this week, comes at the same time as the ruling
yesterday by the National Labor Relations Board in Chicago that
Northwestern University football players were employees of the school,
with a right to form a union and enter into collective bargaining.
While there is a trend toward salaries - those favoring a salary are
up 4% from last year and 8% from 2007, when respondents were asked a
similar question, the overwhelming majority favor the status quo.
The poll of 665 respondents (with a 3.9% margin of error), was based
on random phone calls to landlines and cellphones across the U.S.
between March 24-26.
"Given that there has not been much discussion of these issues, there
appears to be the potential for public support for some increase in
benefits over and above scholarships", noted veteran pollster Murray
Edelman, Ph.D., a consultant to the Seton Hall Sports Poll, which is
conducted by The Sharkey Institute.
Respondents Favor Two Years Of College Before Turning Pro
On the question of how many years a college basketball player must
stay in school before being eligible for the NBA draft, 54% supported
Commissioner Adam Silver’s proposal to increase the minimum age for
eligibility from 19 to 20 (in effect, two years), with 19% supporting
one year, and 18% supporting no limits. 73% felt that requiring another
year of school is a good thing for the student/athletes, even if they
lose a year of a pro salary. (21% responded no).
"Commissioner Silver's proposal hits at a wide sentiment towards staying in school," said Edelman.
NCAA Tournament Questions
While half the respondents have watched coverage of this year's NCAA
Basketball Tournament (49% yes, 51% no), only 14% filled out a set of
brackets for the tournament, and only 7% said they participated in pools
52% prefer to watch a competitive game between two high seed teams,
with 33% opting for an upset by a low seeded team over a highly seeded
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