Racial Resentment and White Opinion toward Paying College Athletes

Presumably naked self-interest on the part of college coaches and other athletic department employees getting rich off the labor of college football and basketball players is the main explanation for their opposition to the idea of paying their “student-athletes”. Racism also has some explanatory power:

Prejudice or Principled Conservatism? Racial Resentment and White Opinion toward Paying College Athletes

Kevin Wallsten, Tatishe M. Nteta, Lauren A. McCarthy, Melinda R. Tarsi

Political Research Quarterly 2017, Vol. 70(1) 209–222


Despite its widespread use in studies of race and ethnic politics, there exists a long-standing debate about whether
racial resentment primarily measures antiblack prejudice or ideological conservatism. In this paper, we attempt to
resolve this debate by examining racial resentment’s role in shaping white opinion on a “racialized” policy issue
that involves no federal action and no government redistribution of resources: “pay for play” in college athletics.
Using cross-sectional and experimental data from the 2014 Cooperative Congressional Election Study and Amazon’s
Mechanical Turk, we find evidence not only that racial resentment items tap racial predispositions but also that whites
rely on these predispositions when forming and expressing their views on paying college athletes. More specifically, we
demonstrate that racially resentful whites who were subtly primed to think about African Americans are more likely
to express opposition to paying college athletes when compared with similarly resentful whites who were primed
to think about whites. Because free-market conservatism, resistance to changes in the status quo, opposition to
expanding federal power, and reluctance to endorse government redistributive policies cannot possibly explain these
results, we conclude that racial resentment is a valid measure of antiblack prejudice.


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7 Responses to Racial Resentment and White Opinion toward Paying College Athletes

  1. Anonymous says:

    “People prefer to in-group based on physical characteristics”
    This is news?

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    • Old Grey Mare says:

      “People prefer to in-group based on physical characteristics”

      This is grammar?
      Have to out-room and class-go now.

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      Rating: +9 (from 9 votes)
      • Leporello says:

        This is new-speak. I prefer to in-group for all fads trendy.

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        Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
  2. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    The article demonstrates no such thing as UOM claims!

    The study was not of coaches or athletic department personnel, was it? So it proves nothing about such personnel.

    The point of the article is that opposition to paying student athletes grows with racial resentment. Not surprising. But that shows nothing about the attitudes of athletic staff, because there is no way of knowing a priori whether they have racial resentment.

    UOM, where are your critical thinking skills? Have you honed them by attending college? Should you take the Collegiate Learning Assessment?

    But, as you frequently point out, you are no economist. So perhaps you can be excused!

    But seriously, UOM, whoever you are, if you want to go further in your studies, you must work on your reading comprehension and critical skills.

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    • UO Matters says:

      You’ve never used that trick to get your students to read a paper?

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      • Dog says:

        wait a minute, “students read paper” – I am unfamiliar with that concept, how does it work? Oh, maybe its that honors college class thing again …

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        • Old Grey Mare says:

          No, now they “in-paper.” Reading is sooo 2016.

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          Rating: +5 (from 5 votes)

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