3/29: Majority Thinks Colleges Break NCAA Rules…Most Say Only Scholarships for Athletes

All eyes will be on the NCAA Final Four this weekend.  But, when it comes to recruiting and training practices, do college sports’ programs break NCAA rules?  A majority of sports fans nationally — 55% — think it is common practice to act outside of the regulations while 35% believe it is not common practice.  10% are unsure.


By Reisio (Own work) (Public domain), via Wikimedia Commons

This Marist Poll has been done in conjunction with The Marist College Center for Sports Communication.

Click Here for Complete March 29, 2012 USA Poll Release and Tables

There’s been a lot of debate about the type of compensation top college athletes should receive, and now, sports fans are weighing in.  Nearly seven in ten sports fans nationally — 68% — believe athletes should only receive scholarships.  27% think these athletes should be given both a scholarship and a salary while only 5% report college athletes should be given neither a scholarship nor monetary compensation.

What about college coaches?  Nearly six in ten sports fans — 57% — believe coaches of top college sports’ programs should be paid less than coaches in professional sports.  39% think they should receive about the same pay as coaches of professional sports teams while only 4% say they should be paid more.

“While paying college athletes isn’t largely supported, it seems that a majority also feel that college coaches shouldn’t be compensated as highly either,” says Dr. Keith Strudler, Director of The Marist College Center for Sports Communication.

Nearly six in ten adults nationally — 58% — are sports fans while 42% say they are not.  This is little changed from when Marist last reported this question in December.  At that time, 61% of residents said they were sports fans.

Table: College Sports’ Programs Recruiting Practices

Table: Compensation for Top College Athletes

Table: Salaries for Coaches of Top College Sports’ Programs

Table: Sports Fans Nationally

Number of NCAA Men’s Basketball Teams on Target, Say Fans

The NCAA basketball tournament may be heading into the Final Four, but the men’s tournament starts out with 68 teams, and according to 78% of college basketball fans, that number hits the mark.  18%, however, think there are too many teams while 4% believe there are too few.

Just how many adults nationally are college basketball fans?  43% follow the sport, at least, to some extent.  This includes 9% who watch a great deal of the sport, 9% who follow it a good amount, and 25% who tune in a little.  However, a majority — 56% — does not follow college basketball at all.

Table: Number of Teams in NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament

Table: College Basketball Fans Nationally

From the Court to the Field: College Football Fans Want a Playoff System

Could college football’s Bowl Championship Series become a thing of the past?  More than two-thirds of college football fans nationally — 68% — believe it’s a good idea to replace the current system with a playoff system.  One in five — 20% — says changing the system is a bad idea, and 12% are unsure.

46% of adults nationally, however, are not college football fans while 54% call themselves fans.  Included here are 15% who watch college football a great deal, 11% who follow the sport a good amount, and 28% who catch a little of it.

Table: Idea to Change College Football Bowl Championship Series to Playoff System

Table: College Football Fans Nationally

How the Survey was Conducted

Nature of the Sample

About Keith Strudler, Ph.D.

Strudler, Ph.D., is the director of 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, sport and society, and sports reporting and information.  Dr. Strudler also writes weekly sports commentary for WAMC, an NPR radio station in Albany, NY.