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Support for payment of college athletes split along racial lines, poll finds

  • An HBO Real Sports/Marist poll says 65% oppose paying athletes
  • Those under 30 and African-Americans more supportive of idea
  • Majority believes athletes should get insurance after graduation

Nearly two-thirds of Americans continue to oppose the idea of paying big-time college athletes, though a majority support providing health insurance to student-athletes after they graduate, according to an HBO Real Sports/Marist poll released on Wednesday. But support for payment was supported by a majority of African-Americans.

By a nearly two-to-one margin – 65% to 33% – Americans believe top college football and men’s basketball players should not receive monetary compensation beyond the value of a scholarship and opportunity to earn a degree (2% of respondents said they were unsure). The findings represent a slight increase in support for payment from this time last year, when 29% backed the idea.

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