How’s that whole “revered tradition of amateurism” thing going?

I forgot to mention this yesterday, but there’s a federal judge who just refused to dismiss out of hand the idea that college athletes are employees of the schools they… well, work at.

Here’s the money graf, so to speak.

Gasp!  You mean to say schools aren’t doing it for the kids?

Maybe this is a tempest in a teapot, sure, but, then again, it probably would be prudent at this point to remember Kavanaugh’s concurrence in Alston before jumping to conclusions.

Read the entire Twitter thread and judge for yourself whether this thing has real legs to it.

28 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, See You In Court, The NCAA

28 responses to “How’s that whole “revered tradition of amateurism” thing going?

  1. rigger92

    My “Observations from my recliner” tell me that he goes too far when he states that the athletic activities are not part of the education opportunities offered by the institution. Athletics, frats/sororities, clubs, music, theatre, art, it all contributes to the university experience/education. The rest of it? Yeah, it’s the sausage being processed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gaskilldawg

      The Judge did not rule that athletic activities are not part of the education opportunities offered by the institution. Let me explain.
      The defendants filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit on the basis that it did not state a claim for which relief can be granted. When the Judge considers sch a motion the Judge must assume that all facts alleged in the complaint are true. The Judge followed the law in approaching the motion by assuming that the allegation that “athletic activities are not part of the education opportunities offered by the institution” is true. That does not mean that the Judge will conclude after hearing evidence at trial that “athletic activities are not part of the education opportunities offered by the institution.”

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  2. SCDawg

    “We find…”. This a district court judge or a panel of some sort or what? Or just the royal “we?”

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    • 79dawg

      That was actually the first thing I noticed as well. Federal district court decisions are single-judge decisions, not panel decisions… It is usually “The Court finds….”

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  3. $74,406 – how much would Nova football and basketball players like to pay taxes on that if they were considered employees? I am guessing the IRS would be more than happy to make the value of their scholarship to be imputed income.

    Players at the top of the Power 5 would probably be happy to have some form of pay for play. I’m doubting the football players at Villanova would like the outcome if they were classified as employees.

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    • You do realize who the plaintiffs are, right?

      And let’s not forget where this whole thing started, with schools wanting to avoid responsibility for worker’s comp exposure. My bet is that those players would be quite happy with that being restored.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I admit I haven’t read the whole thing because I dumped Twitter. All I’m saying to the athlete is be careful what you ask for.

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        • debbybalcer

          Do you turn down your salary because it’s taxed?

          Liked by 6 people

          • 79dawg

            I’ve never seen anybody actually do it, but have heard lots of people flap their gums about it….

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            • Once again, imputed income is different. Would you want to figure out how to save $15k to cover the tax bill on a $75k scholarship that the IRS classified as compensation even though the student hasn’t received one dime from the university?

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          • Do you understand imputed income? If the IRS determined that the full cost of attendance is income to the employee/student-athlete, you end up being taxed on it whether you received cash or not. At a 20% rate, the typical Nova athlete would owe $15k even though, he/she didn’t receive one dollar of money for it.

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            • 79dawg

              Scholarship athletes get all sorts of cash compensation from the athletic departments (per diems, stipends, housing reimbursements, etc.) – they can just make the withholdings from those payments, just like millions of other employers do for their employees…

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              • They do not receive enough in those distributions to cover the taxes on the tuition much less the other components of the full cost of attendance scholarship. If the Congress passed an exemption that prevented the cost of attendance scholarship from being taxed by the IRS, I’m totally cool with that. Everyone seems to want to classify student-athletes as employees but then to treat their scholarship as not part of the compensation package. The benefits of being an employee without the obligations and accountability of an employee.

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                • mp

                  They might not now receive enough cash to cover taxes, but I would bet they sure as heck do the moment they have to pay taxes…at least at the FBS level.

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                • Tony BarnFart

                  Not a tax expert, but it seems something like that would be right within their wheelhouse and run through payroll taxing regimes. The FICA payroll tax for example has an exclusion for education payments that is unlimited if “related to the job.” Obviously that gets back into circular arguing if Congress isn’t deliberately generous about language (i.e. “our payment of his student tuition is related to the job because this job (football) requires him to be a student.”)

                  Of course maybe that’s where the old romantic ties to student-athletes come in–football is the marketing front door of the university and it’s reasonable that their business model would need that their football players be students, regardless of whether they’re paid for football. I can accept that. As has been said here from the beginning, JT Daniels can get money from whoever and still make A’s and go pro in something other than sports if he damn well wants to.

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      • bigjohnson1992

        Yes. Exactly that. Workers comp exposure, and disability. Partial, permanent, all of it. And the lawsuits from former injured college athletes as well. An attorney feeding frenzy. Curtain call for the whole thing.

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  4. Hogbody Spradlin

    Unsurprising. I know little about the law on the subject, but the money has clouded out and crowded out everything else.

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  5. theotherdoug

    I think it has legs. The players provide entertainment that the school profits from.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jcdawg83

      How long will schools continue to field teams that lose money every year if they have to classify the athletes as employees and pay payroll taxes, work comp premiums, etc. on those employees?

      I think this path is the ultimate “be careful what you wish for because you just might get it” situation.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tony BarnFart

        Very interesting question. Yeah, how would this work for a school like UCF ? They’ll be begging to make them shareholders, not employees, so their distribution can be $0. You can’t possibly expect to pay football players at programs whose revenue largely comes from the taxpayer, student fees and the university general fund. Think about all the other parties that might have interest in joining such a lawsuit…..and where it might lead. Would their be unforeseen consequences that force them from feeding from the non-operating trough….would they have to cap practice time to that of a club sports team ?

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  6. Guess this means my grandson, who plays high-school JV football, is actually an employee of his school, because people have to pay money to watch him play.

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  7. 69Dawg

    If I’m not mistaken a scholarship is already exempted from taxes by law. The law does not set forth who gets the scholarship makes a difference.

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  8. 69Dawg

    The rest of the stipends etc. would become taxable to the student but they involve actual money paid.

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  9. That was some compelling prose written by the judge. Or more likely, a very talented clerk. Maybe I’m way off here, but I think Kavanaugh will side with the market. Of course, the only thing less certain than handicapping college football outcomes is handicapping the vicissitudes of USSC precedent.

    I don’t know about you, Senator, but I have the same aversion to the collision of law and college football as George Costanza did to the “worlds colliding” of relationship George and independent George.

    A GEORGE DIVIDED AGAINST ITSELF, CANNOT STAND.

    Sigh.

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