Bucknell poll shows mixed opinions on whether to pay college athletes

  • Rachel McDevitt/WITF

(Harrisburg) — A poll from Bucknell University shows 4 out of 10 people believe college athletes should be paid, if they bring revenue into the university.

But nearly 3 in 10 people had no opinion.

The poll asked 1,000 voters nationwide how they feel about colleges paying their athletes and about California’s new law that will allow players to make money from their own image and likeness.

Of people with an opinion, the majority support the law and paying the athletes.

Nearly half of all people who responded said they support the California law.

“Support for paying college athletes from university funds was a little bit lower, but we still found that a plurality of people thought that that was a good idea,” said Chris Ellis, director of Bucknell’s Survey Research Laboratory. “About 55 percent of people who had an opinion on the issue thought that paying college athletes from university funds was a good idea.”

Ellis said an interesting aspect of the results is the divide between members of different political parties.

“Because we know from other data that…Republicans are more likely to watch sports on TV, certainly Republicans more likely to be college football fans, but it turned out to be Democrats that were more supportive of both the California law and of paying college athletes in general,” Ellis said.

Men and people under 30 were also more supportive of pay for college athletes then women and people over 30.

The poll’s margin of error is +/- 3.1 percent.

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