3/26: Race Impacts Decision Not to Pay College Athletes, Say More than Three in Ten

March 25, 2014 by  
Filed under Featured, Special Events, Sports, Sports Bench

Despite the money top college men’s basketball and football programs generate, college athletes are not paid, and 31% of Americans believe there is some truth to the argument that this is because many student athletes are African American.  This includes 4% who believe there is a lot of credence to that claim and 27% who say there is probably some legitimacy to it.  17% report there is not very much truth in it, and a majority — 53% — says the argument that race plays into the decision not to pay college athletes is false.  Similar proportions of college sports fans share these views.

This HBO Real Sports/Marist Poll has been conducted in conjunction with the Marist College Center for Sports Communication

Click Here for Complete March 26, 2014 USA HBO Real Sports/Marist Poll Release and Tables

“When the majority of revenue generating college athletes are unpaid African-American players and the majority of coaches are often white and well compensated, it almost compels the public to raise the question of race,” says Dr. Keith Strudler, Director of The Marist College Center for Sports Communication.  “It is a complex issue.  While sports often act as a true melting pot, it feels less apparent when financial compensation in college sports doesn’t reflect that ideal.”

Race matters.  More than six in ten African Americans — 61% — think top college athletes are unpaid because many of these athletes are African American.  About one-third of Latinos — 33% — and one in four whites — 25% — agree.  Looking at income, Americans who earn less than $50,000 annually — 38% — are more likely to say race factors into the decision to pay college athletes.  This compares with 24% of those who make $50,000 or more.  Women — 34% — are also more likely than men — 27% — to think there is some truth to the argument that race plays a role in determining whether or not college athletes are paid.

Looking at age, adults under thirty years old — 38% — are more likely to say there is some accuracy in the claim that top college athletes are not compensated because of race than are residents who are older.  29% of those 30 to 44, 25% of Americans 45 to 59, and 33% of those 60 and older share the view that race is a factor.

Do Americans think college athletes should be paid for their time practicing, travelling, and playing on the team?  67% do not think they should be monetarily compensated.  29% think they should be, and 4% are unsure.  The views of college sports fans reflect the opinions of residents, overall.

While more than seven in ten whites — 72% — and Latinos — 71% — think college athletes should not be paid, a majority of African Americans — 53% — believe college athletes should be compensated for their time.  Men — 35% — are more likely than women — 24% — to say student athletes should be paid.

If college athletes were paid a salary, nearly three in four U.S. residents — 73% — say it would make no difference in how much they enjoy watching college sports.  23% think it would make watching the games less entertaining while only 4% say it would increase their enjoyment.  Among college sports fans, 68% believe it would make no difference in their enjoyment while 27% think it would take something away from the pleasure they get from watching college sports.  Five percent think it would increase their enjoyment.

Table: Truth in Argument that Top College Athletes are not Paid Because Many are African American

Table: Should Top College Athletes be Paid?

Table: Amount of Enjoyment Watching College Sports if College Athletes were Paid

To Unionize or Not to Unionize?

75% of Americans, including the same proportion of college sports fans, think college athletes should not be allowed to join a union since they are not college employees.  More than one in five — 22% — believes student athletes should be able to join a union so they can receive payments and benefits.  Four percent are unsure.

Non-white residents — 28% — are more likely to support unionizing by college residents than white residents — 19%.  Nearly eight in ten white residents — 78% — compared with 67% of non-white Americans believe college athletes should not be able to join a union.

When it comes to special treatment by local authorities, about two-thirds of adults nationally — 66% — think top college athletes receive special treatment by town police in their college community.  One in four — 25% — reports student athletes are treated the same as their fellow students, and 9% are unsure.  Similar proportions of college sports fans share these views.

Table: Should College Athletes be Allowed to Unionize?

Table: Do Top College Athletes Receive Special Treatment?

Overemphasis Placed on College Sports, Say More than Six in Ten 

61% of Americans think college and universities with top men’s football and basketball programs put too much emphasis on athletics over academics.  34%, however, say these schools strike a good balance between education and sports.  Five percent are unsure.  The views of college sports fans reflect those of U.S. residents.

While older Americans are more likely to think colleges put too much emphasis on athletics, majorities in all age groups agree.  54% of those 18 to 29, 59% of residents 30 to 44, 61% of Americans 45 to 59, and 67% of those 60 and older say too much importance is put on sports.  Regardless of region, at least a majority of adults say colleges prioritize athletics over academics.  However, those in the Northeast — 63%, Midwest — 63%, and South — 61% — are slightly more likely than those in the West — 55% — to believe this to be the case.  

What is more important to Americans?  Most — 90% — care more about the academic reputation of their local colleges and universities.  Just 7% are more concerned with the athletic success of their local schools, and 3% are unsure.

Table: Do Colleges Put Too Much Emphasis on Athletics over Academics?

Table: Do You Care More about Athletic Success or the Reputation of College or University?

Bracket Bragging Rights? 

While 85% of Americans do not fill out a March Madness bracket, 15% say they do.  Of residents who fill out a bracket, most — 91% — do so just for fun.  Five percent fill out a bracket both for fun and for money.  Three percent play for the money, and 1% is unsure.

Not surprisingly, college sports fans are more likely to try to predict the winner of the NCAA Men’s College basketball tournament.  22% of college sports fans say they put together a bracket while 78% don’t participate.  Income matters.  More than one in five Americans who earn $50,000 or more — 21% — fills out a bracket.  This compares with only 8% who make less annually.  Men — 23% — are more than three times as likely as women — 7% — to make their picks.

Do Americans bet on college sports?  88% of residents report they have not placed a wager on college sports in the past year.  12%, however, say they have.  College sports fans are slightly more likely to bet on college sports.  17% of fans have done so in the past year while 83% have not.

And, when it comes to the number of college sports fans, about two-thirds of Americans — 66% — say they follow college sports at least a little bit.  This includes 12% who watch these sports a great deal, 18% who follow them a good amount, and 36% who catch a small amount of the games.  34% do not follow college sports at all.

Table: March Madness Bracket?

Table: Have You Bet on College Sports in the Past Year?

Table: College Sports Fans 

How the Survey was Conducted

Nature of the Sample

About Keith Strudler, Ph.D.

Keith Strudler, Ph.D., is the director for the Marist College Center for Sports Communication.  Dr. Strudler founded Marist’s popular concentration in sports communication in 2002, now one of the nation’s largest in the discipline.  He studies and teaches in the areas of sports media, sports and society, and sports reporting and information.  Dr. Strudler also writes weekly sports commentary for WAMC, an NPR radio station in Albany, NY.

 

 

 

1/22: Marijuana Use in Pro-Sports: Keep it Banned, Say More than Six in Ten

January 21, 2014 by  
Filed under Featured, Special Events, Sports, Sports Bench

Many Americans, including more than six in ten sports fans, think marijuana should continue to be banned in professional sports, regardless of state or federal laws which have legalized the substance.  62% of adults nationally believe the ban should stay in place.  36% of Americans think the ban on marijuana should be lifted, and 2% are unsure.  Similar proportions of sports fans share these views.

This HBO Real Sports/Marist Poll has been conducted in conjunction with the Marist College Center for Sports Communication.  The current edition of HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel explores the use of marijuana in the NFL.  The program replays multiple times on HBO and will also be available on HBO ON DEMAND and HBO GO.

Click Here for Complete January 22, 2014 USA HBO Real Sports/Marist Poll Release and Tables

There are age and gender differences.  Older Americans are more likely than younger residents to say that marijuana should be banned.  Seven in ten adults 60 and older — 70% — think marijuana should not be allowed for professional athletes.  This compares with 65% of those 45 to 59, 57% of residents 30 to 44, and 51% of Americans under 30. Looking at gender, women — 67% — are more likely than men — 57% — to think marijuana should be off limits for professional athletes.

“While marijuana is banned in the NFL, players tell Real Sports it is widely used, and for reasons that many might not expect,” says Joe Perskie, Senior Producer for HBO’s Real Sports.

Does marijuana use by professional athletes to relieve pain and anxiety trump its negative effects on performance?  Nearly two-thirds of Americans — 64% — say professional athletes should not be allowed to use the drug because of the negative effects it has on their game.  34%, however, believe they should be permitted to use the drug for medicinal purposes, and 3% are unsure.  The views of sports fans are in line with the overall population.

“Americans hold professional athletes to very high standards.  Smoking marijuana, even if legal, would likely shatter the image of excellence we demand from our sports heroes,” says Dr. Keith Strudler, Director of The Marist College Center for Sports Communication.  “In the end, we expect professional athletes to do three things: make physical sacrifice, care deeply about winning, and be role models for kids.”

Again, there are differences by age.  Americans under thirty — 55% — are more likely to say athletes should be allowed to use marijuana for medicinal purposes.  This compares with just 39% of residents 30 to 44 years old, 30% of those 45 to 59, and 23% of Americans 60 and older.

 

Table: Should Marijuana Continue to be a Banned Substance, Regardless of Federal or State Laws?

Table: Should Marijuana Use in Pro-sports be Allowed to Relieve Pain and Anxiety?

  How the Survey was Conducted

Nature of the Sample

About Keith Strudler, Ph.D.

Keith Strudler, Ph.D., is the director for the Marist College Center for Sports Communication.  Dr. Strudler founded Marist’s popular concentration in sports communication in 2002, now one of the nation’s largest in the discipline.  He studies and teaches in the areas of sports media, sports and society, and sports reporting and information.  Dr. Strudler also writes weekly sports commentary for WAMC, an NPR radio station in Albany, NY.

10/23: Youth Football Takes Hard Hit… One-Third of Americans Less Likely to Allow Son to Play Football because of Head Injury Risk

October 22, 2013 by  
Filed under Featured, Football, Sports, Sports Bench

Most Americans are aware of the connection between concussions suffered while playing football and long-term brain injury, and that information would influence some Americans’ decision to allow their son to play the sport if they had to make the choice.  About one in three Americans say this knowledge would make them less likely to allow a son to participate in the game.  In fact, nearly one in five Americans say this risk would be the key factor in deciding whether or not they would allow their son to step onto the gridiron.  About one-third of Americans has become more concerned because of the link between concussions suffered while playing football and long-term brain injury.

This HBO Real Sports/Marist Poll has been conducted in conjunction with the Marist College Center for Sports Communication.

Click Here for Complete October 23, 2013 USA HBO Real Sports/Marist Poll Release and Tables

“Historically, youth football has fueled the NFL,” says Dr. Keith Strudler, Director of The Marist College Center for Sports Communication.  “Parents’ concern about the safety of the game could jeopardize the future of the sport.”

Most U.S. adults — 86% — have heard at least a little about the connection between concussions inflicted while on the football field and long-term brain injury.  This includes 55% who have heard either a great deal or good amount and 31% who have heard a little about this link.  14% have heard nothing at all about it.

Awareness varies based upon a family’s income.  While about two-thirds of Americans who earn $50,000 or more annually — 66% — have heard a great deal or a good amount about the issue, 47% of those who earn less say the same.  There are also differences based on education.  While 63% of college graduates have heard a great deal or a good amount about the link between these head injuries and long-term brain trauma, 50% of those without a college degree are comparably aware.

33% of Americans say the link between head injuries in football and long-term brain trauma would make them less likely to allow their son to play football if they had to make that choice.  Only 7% report it would make them more likely to do so, and 60% say it would make no difference to their decision.  Just how many Americans would ultimately allow their son to play the game?  85% would while a notable 13% would not.  Two percent are unsure.

For almost one in five Americans — 16%, the risk of long-term brain injury due to youth football participation would be the deciding factor in whether or not to allow their son to play football.  And, a majority of U.S. adults — 56% — say it would be one of the factors that influences their decision.  28% report this information would play no role at all in making that choice.

Nearly four in ten U.S. residents — 39% — report the recent information about long-term brain injury as a result of concussions incurred while playing football hasn’t changed their level of concern about the game.  However, 32% say it has made them more  concerned because of the serious risk of long-term brain injury while 30% report it has made them less concerned because coaches, parents, and players are more informed and can take greater precautions.

Table: Awareness of Connection between Concussion while Playing Football and Long-term Brain Injury (U.S. Adults)

Table: Allow Son to Play Football (U.S. Adults)

Table: More or Less Likely to Allow Son to Play Football Knowing the Connection between Concussion while Playing Football and Long-term Brain Injury (U.S. Adults)

Table: Whether Connection between Concussion while Playing Football and Long-term Brain Injury is Key Factor in Deciding Youth Football Participation (U.S. Adults)

Table: Level of Concern about Connection between Concussion while Playing Football and Long-term Brain Injury (U.S. Adults)

Weighing the Pros and Cons

Seven in ten Americans — 70% — think the benefits of playing football outweigh the risk of injury.  However, about one in four — 24% — believe the risk of injury is too high.  Seven percent are unsure.

A similar proportion of adults nationally — 74% — think playing football is a good way to build character and boys should be encouraged to play the game.  However, one in five — 20% — say the risk of injury is too high to allow boys to play football.  Six percent are unsure.

“What will be interesting to watch is if other sports begin to recruit those kids whose parents keep them from football,” says Dr. Keith Strudler, Director of The Marist College Center for Sports Communication.  “Football’s loss could be the inevitable gain of lacrosse, baseball, or even soccer.”

Table: Do the Benefits of Football Outweigh Risk of Injury? (U.S. Adults)

Table: Is Football a Good Way to Build Character or is the Risk of Injury Too High (U.S. Adults)

More Than One in Ten Fans Less Likely to Enjoy Game 

The recent information about the link between concussions suffered while playing football and long-term brain injury makes watching the sport less enjoyable for a notable 14% of football fans.  Only 2% report it makes the game more enjoyable to watch, and 84% say it makes no difference to their viewing pleasure.

In their own communities, how big of a deal is football?  Nearly seven in ten Americans — 69% — report a lot of people follow and talk about the sport.  One in four — 25% — say some people are engaged in the game.  Only 7% do not follow or talk about football.

Table: Has Enjoyment of Football Changed because of Link to Injury? (Fans Nationally)

Table: Community Interest in Football (U.S. Adults)

How the Survey was Conducted

Nature of the Sample

About Keith Strudler, Ph.D.

Keith Strudler, Ph.D., is the director for the Marist College Center for Sports Communication.  Dr. Strudler founded Marist’s popular concentration in sports communication in 2002, now one of the nation’s largest in the discipline.  He studies and teaches in the areas of sports media, sports and society, and sports reporting and information.  Dr. Strudler also writes weekly sports commentary for WAMC, an NPR radio station in Albany, NY.