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College Pay for Play

In partnership with the Washington Post, the UMass Lowell Center for Public Opinion surveyed 1,000 American adults on their attitudes about sports. This, the fourth release in a series, focuses on college athletics, their popularity and whether athletes should be paid.

Majority of Americans Do Not Think College Athletes Should Be Paid

Hand holding basketball with arena in background.


  • College football and basketball have fan bases that rank in the top five of all American sports, ahead of professional auto racing, soccer, boxing and mixed martial arts.
  • Only pro football eclipses college football's fan base, which is equal to that of Major League Baseball.
  • A majority of Americans view scholarships as adequate compensation and do not believe that college football and basketball athletes should be paid additional money based on any revenue generated for their schools by those sports.