Poll: Blacks, whites split on players getting paid to play

Most Americans believe collegiate athletes earn adequate compensation through their scholarships, but the divide between African-Americans and white Americans on the topic is vast, according to an August poll conducted by The Washington Post and UMass Lowell.

Fifty-four percent of black respondents said college football and men's basketball players should receive compensation based on the revenue they generate for their respective programs, while 59 percent of the white respondents said scholarships are sufficient for collegiate athletes.

Hispanics offered a more balanced response with 41 percent favoring compensation for college athletes and 47 percent citing scholarships as adequate benefits, per the nationwide poll of 1,000 random people conducted by phone (cell and landline) August 14-21 and released Thursday.

Overall, a slight majority of 52 percent of those polled picked scholarships over additional compensation.

Also, 89 percent of African-Americans said college athletes should have the right to make money off their names and likenesses, compared to 60 percent of white Americans and 72 percent of Hispanics polled.

Overall, 66 percent of Americans said college athletes should be compensated when their names and images are used to generate profit.

The conversation about pay-for-play in collegiate sports has intensified in recent years and led to multiple class-action lawsuits against the NCAA, along with measures that give many athletes something above a scholarship but short of true compensation for their services.

In recent years, collegiate athletes have been granted unlimited meals and cost-of-living stipends at the Power 5 schools and other schools that can afford the additional costs.

But the poll illustrates the controversy that pay-for-play continues to fuel.

Forty-four percent of the respondents aged 18 to 29 said collegiate athletes should be compensated, while 70 percent of those over 65 said scholarships are enough.

College basketball fans (47 percent) outnumbered college football fans (43 percent) in their support for paying collegiate athletes. Fifty-five percent of women polled said scholarships were sufficient, compared to 49 percent of men.