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Poll indicates most Ohioans don’t think college athletes should be paid

by Marc Kovac | Capital Bureau Chief Published: May 16, 2014 5:50 PM

COLUMBUS — Ohioans don’t want to pay college athletes salaries or allow them to form unions to negotiate working conditions.

And more than half of 1,174 voters questioned by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute earlier this month think colleges are focusing too much on sports and not enough on academics.

“Ohioans may love their Buckeyes, and they have a favorable view of unions, but they don’t think the two should meet,” Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the polling institute, said in a released statement. “Only Democrats and voters under 35 favor allowing college athletes to unionize. But not even they support the idea of college athletes receiving salaries in addition to the value of their scholarships. A majority think colleges are losing sight of their academic mission with the emphasis on athletics, but don’t expect any empty seats in the ‘Horseshoe’ in the fall.”

The student-union question arose from an out-of-state court case and an amendment added to a mid-biennium budget bill last month to preemptively block athletes from forming unions.

Fifty-five percent of registered voters questioned said they opposed allowing college athletes to form unions, and 62 percent those athletes shouldn’t be paid salaries.

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Additionally, 55 percent said “colleges are losing their sight of their academic mission because of sports.”

Connecticut-based Quinnipiac regularly gauges Ohioans’ views of candidates and issues. Its latest poll has a margin of error of about 3 percentage points.

Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at mkovac@dixcom.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.

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