The arguments against compensating college athletes are becoming less and less credible. Former CBS Sports President Neal Pilson, who is the go-to source for sports television executives from generations gone by, predicts that the television ratings for college football would decline around 15 to 20 percent if college athletes start receiving extra compensation in conjunction with their already-paid college fees.
Pilson, who served as president of CBS Sports for 14 years, released this statement as a part of the NCAA’s rebuttal to the Ed O’Bannon image and likeness lawsuit. As a former TV executive, Pilson now serves as a media consultant and professional witness in high-profile cases like this. The NCAA is paying him $825 an hour for his services. This just happens to be a bit more money than any college athlete makes per hour.
According to AL.com’s Jon Solomon, “Pilson’s estimate referred to a report by J. Michael Dennis, a market research expert the NCAA hired, that found 68.9 percent of respondents were ‘opposed to paying money to student-athletes on college football and men’s basketball teams in addition to covering their college expenses’…The survey also found that 37.7 percent of respondents would be less likely to watch, listen to, or attend college football and men’s basketball games if athletes were paid $20,000 per year.”