Florida Voters Say 'No' to Unions for College Athletes

By: Allison Nielsen | Posted: May 5, 2014 9:10 AM
florida state football team 2013

College sports in Florida made headlines this year when Florida State University's football team won the BCS National Championship, but Florida voters are sharply divided on whether college athletes should be allowed to form a union or be paid salaries beyond scholarships.

A new Quinnipiac University poll released Monday found more than half of voters -- 51 percent -- oppose allowing college athletes to form a union. Forty-one percent said they oppose unionization for college athletes.

Football players at Northwestern University voted last month on whether they wanted to unionize or not. Supporters of unionization say it would help college athletes be better off and would allow them to more easily obtain compensation as well as medical care for injuries. Some also argue athletes are essentially employees of the university and deserve to be compensated appropriately.

But some opponents contend players already get plenty of “awards” for their athletics, including free tuition.

“Florida voters are all over the map when it comes to which college team they root for. But with few exceptions, they are against unionizing college athletes, and they are even more set against paying the athletes,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll.

When it came to paying college athletes extra beyond scholarships, a higher percentage were against such a measure, with 63 percent of Florida voters opposing it.

Only 31 percent favor paying athletes salaries.  

The poll found a stark racial and age divide among respondents to both questions. Black voters were the only listed group to support paying salaries to college athletes, with 68 percent in favor. Blacks also overwhelmingly favored allowing college athletes to form a union, with 76 percent in favor.

“The overall findings should not be terribly surprising given the relatively low level of union membership throughout the state,” said Brown.

Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen at or follow her on Twitter at @AllisonNielsen.

Comments (5)

5:13AM AUG 27TH 2014
The cheapest store to buy the fairing kits for your bike:
9:52AM MAY 6TH 2014
"Beaseball beeen berry, berry gude too mee", bud I macke mooch moor muney az proofessioal beasball playa. Mie colidge ejukation iz helpin me veree, veree mooch. Muey grasias Flordor skules !
9:16AM MAY 6TH 2014
I wonder if the athletics know they will have to pay city, state, federal income tax, social security tax, medicare tax, etc on their union salaries? They will be getting w2 statements each year. Revenue from college football pays for many college sports. If the revenue is used to pay football players, what happens to the smaller sports. How will they be supported, or will they just be dropped by the schools? If players are paid, will scholarships be a thing of the past for athletics? This could open one huge can of worms for everyone associated with college sports.
8:11AM MAY 6TH 2014
What does that say about the school when they are basically saying we are thinking about briving people to come here?
7:53AM MAY 6TH 2014
I am 100% opposed to any collective bargaining. Everyone must earn their way and scratch and claw their way to the top on their own merit. If I had a say, I would rather cancel the football program rather than yield to mob extortion. They can go to another school to play if any school is dumb enough to take them. They will be branded as union organizers and so be it.

For the record, who gives a $#!7 what Quinnipiac says? If the the public was aware of the unintended consequences and costs the numbers would be vastly different. It would not even be close.

The claim that the athletes would be better off is rhetoric. If I reached into your pocket and took $50, I would be better off so I guess that is the premise of the statement.

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