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Should College Athletes Be Allowed to Be Paid? A Public Opinion Analysis

Chris Knoester and B. David Ridpath

Traditionally, public opinions have largely opposed further compensation for U.S. college athletes, beyond the costs of going to school. This study uses new data from the National Sports and Society Survey (N = 3,993) to assess recent public opinions about allowing college athletes to be paid more than it costs them to go to school. The authors found that a majority of U.S. adults now support, rather than oppose, allowing college athletes to be paid. Also, the authors found that White adults are especially unlikely, and Black adults are especially likely, to support allowing payment. Furthermore, recognition of racial/ethnic discrimination is positively, and indicators of traditionalism are negatively, associated with support for allowing college athletes to be paid.