Poll: Peo­ple in fa­vor of pay­ing ath­letes

Antelope Valley Press - - SPORTS - By RALPH D. RUSSO

As the NCAA grap­ples with how to pro­vide ath­letes op­por­tu­ni­ties to be com­pen­sated for their fame, about two-thirds of Amer­i­cans sup­port col­lege play­ers be­ing per­mit­ted to earn money for en­dorse­ments. That’s ac­cord­ing to a new poll from The As­so­ci­ated Press-NORC Cen­ter for Pub­lic Af­fairs Re­search. Sup­port for the NCAA al­low­ing col­lege ath­letes to cash in on their names, images and like­nesses is es­pe­cially high among young adults.

As the NCAA grap­ples with how to pro­vide ath­letes op­por­tu­ni­ties to be com­pen­sated for their fame, about two-thirds of Amer­i­cans sup­port col­lege play­ers be­ing per­mit­ted to earn money for en­dorse­ments.

That’s ac­cord­ing to a new poll from The As­so­ci­ated Press-NORC Cen­ter for Pub­lic Af­fairs Re­search. Sup­port for the NCAA al­low­ing col­lege ath­letes to cash in on their names, images and like­nesses is es­pe­cially high among young adults, as well as black Amer­i­cans and His­pan­ics, though ma­jori­ties of white Amer­i­cans and older adults are also in fa­vor.

NCAA of­fi­cials and col­lege sports lead­ers broadly agree, too.

“The opin­ions of the pub­lic in gen­eral are very im­por­tant be­cause they are re­flected in the at­ti­tudes of uni­ver­si­ties, who are the ones that ac­tu­ally make the rules,” NCAA Pres­i­dent Mark Em­mert told AP.

How to make this work within the cur­rent frame­work of col­lege ath­let­ics while also guard­ing against cor­rup­tion in re­cruit­ing is what they are try­ing to sort out.

“That’s the chal­lenge that we have,” At­lantic Coast Com­mis­sioner John Swof­ford said.

The NCAA board of gover­nors voted in Oc­to­ber to per­mit ath­letes to ben­e­fit from their names, images and like­nesses, and di­rected its 1,100 mem­ber schools to have leg­is­la­tion ready for im­ple­men­ta­tion by Jan­uary 2021.

The vote came a month af­ter Cal­i­for­nia Gov. Gavin New­som signed into a law a bill that would make it il­le­gal for col­leges in the state to pe­nal­ize ath­letes for tak­ing money for en­dorse­ments.

That law is sched­uled to go into ef­fect in 2023, but it sparked a flurry of ac­tiv­ity in other states to adopt sim­i­lar leg­is­la­tion. Law­mak­ers in at least 20 other states have said they want to pass sim­i­lar bills — some with the goal of hav­ing laws in place later this year.

“You can’t have mul­ti­ple state reg­u­la­tions and com­pete for the same cham­pi­onships na­tion­ally and within the same rules na­tion­ally,” Swof­ford said.

The NCAA has turned to fed­eral leg­is­la­tors for help. Demo­cratic Sen. Chris Mur­phy of Con­necti­cut and Repub­li­can Sen. Mitt Rom­ney of Utah have started a con­gres­sional work­ing group to ex­am­ine col­lege ath­lete com­pen­sa­tion and re­lated is­sues. Em­mert met with them last month in Wash­ing­ton and has said he be­lieves fed­eral leg­is­la­tion that sets na­tional pa­ram­e­ters for what is per­mis­si­ble com­pen­sa­tion for ath­letes seems likely.

“I started talk­ing about the in­equities in col­lege sports al­most a year ago, and now we’re on the cusp of sig­nif­i­cant re­forms with bi­par­ti­san back­ing that put col­lege ath­letes’ rights front and cen­ter,” Mur­phy said in a state­ment to the AP. “This kind of strong pub­lic sup­port will con­tinue to spark much needed change, and it’s clear the groundswel­l of sup­port for ath­letes is grow­ing.”

Em­mert and other col­lege sports lead­ers say they are con­cerned about al­low­ing col­lege ath­letes to en­ter the free mar­ket with no re­stric­tions on how and by whom they can be paid for en­dorse­ments.

But, Em­mert told AP, pub­lic opin­ion has helped drive home the need for change.

As­so­ci­ated Press

NEW LAW Gov. Gavin New­som speaks at a news con­fer­ence in Sacra­mento on Sept. 16. New­som last year signed into a law a bill that would make it il­le­gal for col­leges in Cal­i­for­nia to pe­nal­ize ath­letes for tak­ing money for en­dorse­ments.

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