College sports fans are seeing through shamateurism.
The sports business website Sportico in conjunction with The Harris Poll recently did some polling of college sports fans and the results probably came as a major surprise to the poohbahs, the school presidents, chancellors and trustees. The survey of 2,018 people was conducted by Harris between August 11th and August 13th. About two-thirds of the people who follow college sports have no problem with the schools paying athletes. Sixty-four percent of the participants said they would not have a problem if college athletes were employed by the schools that they are attending. About 59 percent of the responders thought a college athletes players association was not a bad idea and that the college athletes should enter into a collective bargaining agreement with some entity.
The NCAA and the college poohbahs probably want to ignore the poll numbers but college sports fans apparently understand that the NCAA’s stand that college athletes’ participation in various sports “should be motivated primarily by education” and “should be protected from exploitation by commercial enterprises” is a sham. The education and graduate rate of so-called “student-athletes” has never been all that important in the business of college football and college basketball, the revenue sports. College presidents, chancellors and trustees are plotting to get into conferences that have better revenue streams from TV and marketing partners. It is a business. But the business depends on an athlete taking a scholarship and doing whatever that athlete wants to do with it. Getting an education or getting ready for an NFL, NBA, MLB or NHL draft and accepting a scholarship. If student-athletes get paid from schools directly, it would upend the college sports industry because the colleges could not pay players and run a sports enterprise. The schools have to keep shamteurism alive.
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