Category Archives: Political Wankery

Today, in “stick to sports”

I’m sure those of you continually offended by political references in the world of sports will rise up to condemn Chris McDaniel, seeking any attention he can get as he runs for a US Senate seat a second time, who evidently objects to Ole Miss replacing Colonel Reb with a new mascot.

Fergit, hayul!

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131 Comments

Filed under Political Wankery, SEC Football

“Would you like to be the governor when HOPE dies?”

Unlike some of you, I firmly believe that casino gambling in Georgia is a question of when, not if.  There’s simply too much money to brush aside forever.  Not just for state government, either — those integrity fees are gonna look mighty attractive to the folks at Butts-Mehre.

Bonus consideration:  “Unlike other companies that require heaps of taxpayer-funded incentives, he added, casino magnates aren’t asking for major tax breaks.”  Talk about your win-win!

41 Comments

Filed under Bet On It, Political Wankery

Today, in “stick to sports” sticking to sports

I’m sure I’ll get some grief for linking to this, but it’s a perfect story as to why I’m so cynical about the whole uproar over players taking knees during the playing of the national anthem.

In the years following 9/11, professional sports took a healing gesture and transformed it into a way to make money. In 2015, Republican Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake released the report “Tackling Paid Patriotism,” which criticized the deceptive, taxpayer-funded contracts between the Pentagon and virtually every pro sports league. In 2012, the New York Army National Guard paid the Buffalo Bills $250,000 to conduct on-field re-enlistment ceremonies. In 2014, the Georgia National Guard paid the Atlanta Falcons $114,000 to sing the national anthem. In 2015, the Air Force paid NASCAR $1.5 million in part for veterans to shake hands with racing legend Richard Petty. Your tax dollars. At work.

“Yeah I hate to say it, but I wasn’t completely surprised,” Astore says. “But I was disgusted by it. Patriotic displays, they mean a lot more to me when they’re spontaneous. But to learn that these had been paid for — that corporate teams, teams owned by billionaires, basically, were collecting money from the military. Paid for, obviously, by you and me, by the American taxpayer. Well, it was sad.”

American flags are the ultimate Good Housekeeping seal. And thanking veterans for their service disconnects the public from what has been nearly two decades of war. The ballpark ceremony obscures the realities of war and, by focusing on soldiers, inoculates the government from antiwar criticism.

I have no sympathy for the NFL’s current dilemma.  It’s a problem those greedheads happily brought on themselves because the money was good, and now that they’ve reaped the whirlwind, they’re frozen on how to escape.

At least nobody’s tried to bribe their way into making college football players appear on the field for the anthem.  Hopefully, that’s one “be more like the NFL” tack even the morons running college football are able to resist.

45 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery, The NFL Is Your Friend.

From a head coach to a punchline

By the time the state of Tennessee gets done with Booch, I may wind up feeling sorry for the guy.

Words fail me.

40 Comments

Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Political Wankery

It pays to be the friend in high places.

Nice to be Scott Pruitt. (h/t)

One aide helped book his travel to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., where Mr. Pruitt had secured seats near the 50-yard line for the face value of $175 each, documents show. The tickets, for Mr. Pruitt and his wife and two children, were purchased five days before the sold-out New Year’s Day game this year.

Mr. Pruitt bought the tickets, the records show, from a special allotment for the University of Oklahoma, which appeared in the game against the University of Georgia. Tickets for equivalent seats were on sale on the secondary market for as much as seven times the price paid by Mr. Pruitt, data from two ticket companies show.

The aide who helped book his travel, Millan Hupp, told congressional investigators recently that Renzi Stone, a university regent who runs a large marketing firm with energy industry clients that include the American Petroleum Institute and GE Oil and Gas, had assisted Mr. Pruitt in getting access to the tickets.

Well, he may have had better (and cheaper!) seats than I did, but he sure as hell didn’t enjoy the game as much.

76 Comments

Filed under Political Wankery

And then I had to spoil it all…

You know, I actually had some hope that Jason Butt’s article asking each of Georgia’s three remaining gubernatorial candidates about their position on legalized sports betting in this state might offer some intelligent policy discussion on a matter of interest.

Instead, I’m treated to this deep thought:

“I do not support sports betting in Georgia,” Kemp said in a statement. “As a Georgia grad and diehard Dawg fan, losing the national championship was painful enough. Would have been even worse if I had money on the game!”

This has been your regular reminder that we get the politicians we deserve.

51 Comments

Filed under Political Wankery

Not happy

I’ve taken it as a given that the NCAA and its member schools lobby Congress for an antitrust exemption and will necessarily ratchet up the effort if the efforts of Kessler and others result in an unfavorable court ruling regarding amateurism.  While my opinion on that hasn’t changed, I’m starting to question how successful that effort will be.  It’s one thing to assume that Congress favors the wealthy and powerful; it’s another to ignore what seem to be several trends that make the NCAA’s cause a harder sell than it used to be(h/t)

Television revenues and corporate sponsorship are not taxed

In the words of Mike McIntire who writes extensively on the subject for The New York Times, “…college sports remain largely tax exempt, the beneficiary of a public subsidy that is increasingly difficult to defend.” This will only be more “difficult to defend” in the future.

Scholarships not being taxed

College sports scholarships are easily worth six figures and more thanks to the “extraordinary benefits.” These are not taxed, which could be around $40,000.00 if the IRS and state authorities came in heavy. Expect that to happen if players are paid or allowed to profit from images or sponsorships. With the average college student in the United States graduating nearly $40,000.00 in debt with much of that going to fees to support athletics, it is not difficult to imagine support for scholarship athletes to be taxed, especially if they start receiving salaries.

There are still plenty of tax breaks for ticket purchases, facilities construction, and related areas. These are always targets in tax reforms. It was that was last year and it will be in the future.

Salaries for administrators in non-profits

As little support there would be for athletic scholarships to not be taxed, there is even less for administrators at non-profits such as colleges and conferences having seven and eight-figure compensation packages. In a country that has seen massive change at the national level in elections in 2006, 2008, 2010, 2014, and 2016, do not expect much support to protect massive pay for higher-ups at non-profits.

Student loans to pay for athletic fees

At power five schools, more than $2 million in student fees goes to the athletics department, well over $100 million annually. The average college student graduates nearly $40,000.00 in debt. Obviously, much of that money borrowed that is subsidized by the American taxpayer goes to support college sports. Since attendance at colleges sporting events is falling, its tough to argue that every student is a fan. But all pay these fees at the schools that charge for it, and the average one graduates nearly $40,000.00 in debt.

For all the faux hand wringing over student-athletes suddenly faced with tax consequences over their compensation, it’s worth remembering that there are much bigger pots of money out there that can generate public outrage.  Throw in current public concerns about the cost of college and it gets harder to see how schools can waltz into a Congressional hearing and expect tons of sympathy from legislators who will have plenty of targets over which to grandstand.  That, in turn, begs the question of what sort of price the schools and the NCAA are willing to pay for the exemption.  That’s not to say it won’t be a price that ultimately won’t be paid.  You get the feeling it’ll be more expensive than Jim Delany and his buddies probably thought it would be at one time, though.

19 Comments

Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA