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While most Ohio voters consider themselves sports fans, they are not in favor of college athletes forming unions or receiving salaries, according to a poll released yesterday.

"Ohioans may love their Buckeyes, and they have a favorable view of unions, but they don't think the two should meet," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

The Connecticut university's survey showed that 55 percent oppose unionization of college athletes, while 38 percent are in favor. Voters oppose paying salaries to college athletes by 62 percent to 32 percent.

Northwestern University football players moved to unionize early this year, a step that would lead to them being considered university employees. The National Labor Relations Board ruled in March that the players had the right to collectively bargain, a decision that could have a major impact on college athletics.

The university has appealed the decision.

Ohio State University football coach Urban Meyer said in April that he doesn't view college athletes as employees but that "improvements need to be made" to ensure that athletes' needs are being met.

The survey also asked Ohio voters about same-sex marriage, with 50 percent supporting it, the same number as in the last poll, in February.

More support for the issue comes from younger voters, with 72 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds in favor. Among voters 35 to 54, it is supported by 52 percent. It is opposed by 52 percent of voters 55 or older.

"The future of same-sex marriage in Ohio is now before the courts, but if it were up to voters, the issue would be close to a tossup, with support just hitting 50 percent," Brown said.

A voter-approved constitutional amendment in 2004 restricts marriage to one man and one woman.

Freedom to Marry, the nation's major financial backer of gay marriage, is opening offices in Ohio and starting a campaign in favor of same-sex marriage. The group, which is working with a coalition, wants to win in the courts rather than take the issue back to the ballot.

U.S. District Judge Timothy Black ruled that the state must recognize marriages of gay couples legally performed in other states but has delayed the final ruling pending appeals.

The telephone poll -- which included land lines and cellphones -- of 1,174 registered Ohio voters from May 7 through Tuesday has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

Dispatch Reporter Alan Johnson contributed to this story.

 

May 17, 2014

 

 
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