Early last week, the Supreme Court handed down what many may consider a surprising decision: NCAA student-athletes must be made eligible for certain forms of compensation related to their education. Things that were once off the table, such as paid internships, study abroad opportunities, or even money for books or a computer are now available to student athletes. 

The court’s decision also makes clear that future challenges to NCAA rules about athlete compensation could easily be made, opening the door for legal arguments in favor of athlete pay and other compensatory practices, especially for the use of their names, images, and likenesses (such as in commercials, sponsorships, and video games).

In response to the decision, CivicScience looked into the general population’s sentiment regarding college athlete compensation. 

It turns out that over three-fifths of U.S. adults support the Supreme Court’s decision in this instance. 

The general rise in support for college athlete pay has been coming for quite some time. Just about a year and a half ago, CivicScience first pulsed the Gen Pop’s attitudes towards NCAA athlete compensation, the results of which demonstrate a clear growth in the support of collegiate pay (54% to 58%). 

People between 25 and 34 are the least supportive compared to other age groups. Thirty-one percent say they oppose paying college athletes

Interestingly, the more a person watches NCAA basketball or football, the more likely there are to support collegiate athletes receiving some form of compensation, and by a fairly strong margin.  

The Supreme Court decision has the potential to dramatically alter the organization and make-up of the NCAA and collegiate athletics as a whole. CivicScience will continue to monitor how sentiment shifts with any upcoming changes.