Fifty-three Percent Say TV Revenue in NCAA Tournament Detracts from Academic Goals of a University

Two Years of College vs One?
41% Favor Raising the Age Limit for NBA Eligibility;

Number who Say ‘Scholarship is Sufficient’ for Student-Athlete Compensation Trending Down

 South Orange, NJ, March 23, 2017 — A clear majority of the American public believes that television revenue generated by the NCAA Basketball Tournament has turned collegiate athletics into too big a business, detracting from a university’s academic goals.

Fifty-three percent (53%) responded “yes” to that question in a Seton Hall Sports Poll conducted this week among 739 adults across the country.  Thirty-five percent (35%) responded “no.”  The poll has a +/- 3.7% margin of error and is conducted with both landline and cellphone users.  The poll is sponsored by The Sharkey Institute.

When asked, however, how much importance universities place on graduating basketball players – 58% said they believed the schools placed either a high or medium importance on graduation.  This is about even (59%) from a similar Seton Hall Sports Poll taken five years ago.

Both the NBA Commissioner and the president of the NCAA have suggested raising the minimum age for eligibility in the NBA draft from 19 to 20.  That essentially raises the commitment to college basketball from one year to two years.  19% thought it should remain at one year, but 41% favored two years.  26% said there should be no limits.  When asked this question two years ago, 12% favored one year, and 56% two years with 23% saying no limits.

63% felt requiring an extra year of eligibility in college was a good thing, even if it meant losing a year of professional salary.  26% said no to the extra year requirement.  When asked this question in 2014, 73% favored staying in school, a significant drop.


“Yes” Responses, 2012, 2013, 2017

45% of the nation felt student/athletes should not share in TV revenue or receive a salary for participating, with 40% saying they are exploited by not sharing in the revenue and should receive compensation.   Men are more likely than women to believe that the students are being exploited, and people 18-44 are much more likely to believe that the students are exploited than those over 45.

60% felt providing a scholarship was sufficient for athletes, whereas 69% (2012) and 71% (2013) in previous Seton Hall Sports Polls felt providing a scholarship was sufficient.  35% believe the athletes should receive some form of salary or salary/scholarship.

“The public seems to be more sympathetic to increasing fees to student/athletes above scholarship,” noted Rick Gentile, Director of the Poll.  “This is in sync with major conferences beginning to offer additional ‘cost of attendance’ aid to student/athletes.”

On the matter of whether people fill out a set of brackets or participate in a poll over this year’s tournament, 13% said they did.  35% of the nation says they follow the tournament either closely or very closely.

Interest in the tournament vs. the NBA playoffs is virtually even, with 30% saying they are more interested in the NCAA and 29% the NBA.  But when asked the same question in 2014, 39% said the NCAA and only 22% said the NBA.  In 2011, 44% said NCAA and 29% said NBA.

46% of respondents felt that most (or all) colleges break the rules in recruiting athletes, the same number as when the question was asked in 2013.

Asked who makes better role models and given a choice of five options, 52% said teachers, 17% said coaches, 9% said college athletes, 9% said pro athletes, and 3% said politicians.

A podcast in which Seth Everett interviews Rick Gentile can be downloaded at


One of the country’s leading Catholic universities, Seton Hall University has been a catalyst for leadership — developing students in mind, heart and spirit — since 1856. Home to nearly 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students and offering more than 90 academic programs, Seton Hall’s academic excellence has been singled out for distinction by The Princeton Review, U.S.News & World Report and Bloomberg Businessweek.

Seton Hall, which embraces students of all religions, prepares its graduates to be exemplary servant leaders and global citizens. Its attractive main campus is located in suburban South Orange, New Jersey, and is only 14 miles by train, bus or car from New York City, offering a wealth of employment, internship, cultural and entertainment opportunities. The university’s nationally recognized School of Law is prominently located in downtown Newark.

For more information, visit

About the poll:

This poll was conducted by telephone March 20-22 among 739 adults in the United States. The Seton Hall Sports Poll is conducted by the Sharkey Institute.

Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard landline and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus 3.4 percentage points. The error for subgroups may be higher. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The Seton Hall Sports Poll has been conducted regularly since 2006.

Media: Media: Marty Appel Public Relations;
Seton Hall University Associate Director of Media Relations, Michael Ricciardelli; 908-447-3034



The results:


  1. The commissioner of the NBA and the president of the NCAA have suggested raising the minimum age for eligibility to the NBA draft from 19 to 20. In effect this means players would have to attend two years of college instead of one year as it is now. Do you think the rule should be left as it is now at one year, change to two years, or have no limits for when a player can be drafted?

One year  19%

Two years 41

No limits   25

Don’t know 15


  1. Do you think requiring another year of school for student/athletes is a good thing for them even though they could lose a year of pro salary?

Yes 63

No 26

Don’t know 11

  1. Do you think student/athletes who participate in revenue generating sports should receive a salary from their school, a salary plus scholarship or do you think a scholarship is enough compensation?

Salary   6

Salary plus scholarship 29

Scholarship 60

Don’t know   5

  1. Which of the following statements do you most agree with:


  1. Student/athletes are given a great opportunity to be able to participate in the NCAA Tournament and should not share in TV revenue or receive a salary for their participation.                                                                                        45
  1. Student/athletes are exploited by the NCAA Tournament because they don’t share in the TV revenue and should receive a salary for their participation        40

Neither (DON’T READ)   3

Both (DON’T READ)   2

Don’t know                                                                                     11


  1. How closely have you been following this year’s NCAA Tournament, very closely, closely,

not closely or not at all?

Very closely 13

Closely 21

Not closely 30

Not at all 36

  1. Did you fill out a set of brackets or participate in a pool involving money for this year’s tournament?

Yes 13

No 83

Refuse to answer   4

  1. Do you think the selection process to participate in the tournament is fair to all division one schools or do you think schools from the major conferences have an advantage?

Fair                         24

Major conf. have advantg. 46

Don’t know                         30

  1. Which event are you more interested in, the NCAA Tournament or the NBA playoffs or are you not interested in either?

NCAA Tournament 30

NBA Playoffs 29

Neither 34

Don’t know   7


  1. Do you think the television revenue generated by the NCAA Tournament has turned collegiate athletics into too big a business that detracts from a University’s academic goals?

Yes 53

No 35

Don’t know 12

  1. How much importance do you think universities place on graduating basketball players, a high importance, medium importance, little importance or no importance?

High importance 25

Medium importance 33

Little importance 21

No importance   8

Don’t know 13

  1. How many college basketball programs do you think break the rules in recruiting athletes, all of them, most of them, very few of them or none of them?

All  9

Most 37

Very few 34

None   4

Don’t know 16

  1. Do you think it hurts the game when colleges recruit athletes they know won’t stay for the full duration of their eligibility?

Yes 48

No 40

Don’t know 13


  1. Who do you think make better role models, college athletes, pro athletes, coaches, teachers or politicians?

College athletes   9

Pro athletes   9

Coaches 17

Teachers 52

Politicians   3

Don’t know 10








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