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Survey: D-I ADs Overwhelmingly Against Paying Players

Andy Berg Headshot

College athletic directors are doing the math and compensating players isn’t something they see as a feasible part of a complicated equation.  

According to a new survey from the Associated Press of 357 Division I athletic directors, 69 percent said they would strongly oppose “being required to give college athletes a share of university revenue derived from sports.” Another 19.6 percent said they somewhat oppose sharing athletic department revenue with athletes.

The ADs survey said that paying players would impact the number of competitive programs in Division I sports. Almost 77 percent of athletic directors said many fewer schools would be competitive in sports if schools had to share revenue with athletes and another 13 percent said somewhat fewer schools would be competitive.

Fully 75 percent said that paying players would make “much more difficult” for them to comply with Title IX requirements ensuring equal opportunities for men and women.

“What little revenue 95 percent of institutions realize through revenue sports, goes toward supporting other sports,” one respondent said. “Paying those 5 percent of students will devastate the other teams that rely on that revenue to survive….”

The survey comes on the heels of federal legislation introduced by senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) back in January. Among other provision of the College Athlete Bill of Rights, schools would be required to share 50 percent of their profit with athletes from revenue-generating sports after accounting for the value of their scholarships.

“How does that even work?” Boston College athletic director Patrick Kraft said. “I’m funding 31 sports here. I’m trying not only to get the best experience for our football players but for our swimmers and our sailors and our skiers. We’re all in this together. So football ticket revenue helps fund that.”

Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said he doesn’t see anything wrong with paying student-athletes.

“College sports revenues have exploded exponentially in the last 15 years, but none of that money has gone to the actual players. To act like the sky will fall if athletes receive a fair share of the money their labor produces is downright disingenuous and fails to acknowledge the major civil rights inequities inherent in the industry,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said in a statement to the AP.

One question from the survey asked ADs about what entities should be responsible for regulating college sports and respondents were nearly unanimous in agreeing that the NCAA should hold the clout.

Almost 90 percent said the NCAA should have a lot of responsibility and 74 percent said the conferences should have a lot of responsibility. As for Congress, 36 percent said it should have a little responsibility regulating college sports and 55 percent said it should have no responsibility at all.

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