(h/t Doc Saturday)
Category Archives: Political Wankery
Obama’s budget proposal sent to Congress Monday would end the deduction available to some fans for donations they make to get seats at college sporting events. This is a new proposal by the administration.
By closing what the White House calls a loophole in the system, people would pay about $2.5 billion over the next decade in higher taxes. Currently, college sports fans can deduct 80 percent of the cost of such donations.
It’s not going to be the taxpayer who’s going to be screaming about this. It’s the schools.
While some alumni and fans would give money to schools regardless of tax benefits, ending the deduction would hurt revenue at some sports programs, said Robert Spielman, a senior tax partner at Marcum LLP who advises high-net-worth clients.
Some U.S. colleges use the tax benefit to generate more revenue from sports. They set a price for season tickets and then demand donations in the hundreds or thousands of dollars on top of that cost as a condition of the sale. Part of the pitch is that fans can claim the expense as a charitable deduction when they itemize their tax return.
At certain universities, fans can’t buy tickets unless they make a donation, and at other schools the donations help people get premium seating on the 50-yard line.
One athletic department that uses the donation is the University of Louisville, whose men’s basketball team made $40.5 million in revenue in 2013-2014, about $15 million more than the next closest program.
Louisville requires a donation to the Cardinal Athletic Fund for most of its season tickets — contributions that range from $2,500 to $250 a seat. Of the university’s $40.5 million in men’s basketball revenue, $21.7 million come from donations, according to the school’s annual report to the NCAA.
Yeah, that could leave a mark.
Given the make up of the current Congress, it’s not like Obama’s budget proposal is going anywhere soon. But as a marker for how the President feels about college athletics administration, it’s worth keeping in the back of your mind when the NCAA gets serious about lobbying for that antitrust exemption it’s shuffling towards.
Alabama state Rep. Jack Williams, time will tell whether you’re brave or foolish.
The National Labor Relations Board has yet to weigh in on the regional director’s ruling that gave football players employee status under federal labor law, allowing them to unionize, but, if nothing else, the decision has played a hand in kick starting an effort by the schools and the NCAA to bend more in the direction of student-athletes.
Earlier this month outside Washington, Northwestern women’s soccer player Nandi Mehta was one of three Big Ten athletes to cast a vote in favor of the “cost-of-attendance” scholarships. Student-athletes make up 15 of the 80 votes, along with each of the 65 schools in the Power 5 conferences.
Mehta, whose three-year term will stretch beyond graduation, said she relishes having a “direct voice” in the process and does not believe that unionization — which would rebrand athletes as employees — is the right avenue for reform.
“But the way (Colter) did it,” she said, “did get a lot of attention.”
I can think of worse legacies for Kain Colter.
Of course, the decision has brought out its share of the morons, too. If you question my characterization, read this:
I asked Pscholka about this issue of admitting athletes just for their athletic ability, and he said it’s wrong if that’s what Michigan does, but that he has seen no evidence of it. He also said that he had heard of such things happening “in the SEC, but not in the Midwest.”
Uh hunh. Right. That’s why everyone keeps getting the Big Ten confused with the Ivy League.
There’s always something to spoon onto your plate.
- Here’s something you don’t see every day – ESPN is suing Notre Dame.
- Ed Orgeron’s voice mail sounds like Ed Orgeron’s voice mail.
- Which colleges spend the most and least on men’s athletics recruiting?
- “The NCAA has surrendered.” Yeah, that’s the lesson you want Penn State supporters to learn from the Sandusky/Emmert debacle.
- It’s time to acknowledge that Old Spurrier is now a full-blown meme.
- Gentry Estes lists five Georgia players on the spot for spring practice.
- After football, UAB prepares to plead for its Conference USA life.
- Evidently we should be careful throwing stones at the Patriots for deflating footballs.
- The NCAA spent more on Congressional lobbying in 2014 than it did in the three previous years combined. Gee, I wonder why.
Let’s hear it for good intentions.
Georgia state representative Barry Fleming (R-Harlem), a “double-dog” who graduated from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1994, introduced a bill that would make it unlawful for anyone to knowingly solicit a transaction with a student-athlete enrolled in Georgia colleges, under the penalty of a $25,000 fine.
Fleming mentioned that although other student-athletes have fallen down the rabbit hole of profiting off their likenesses, the main impetus behind the bill was Gurley’s involvement with memorabilia dealer Bryan Allen.
After all, it’s not common to sell one’s meal ticket right after punching it.
Allen allegedly recorded a video of Gurley signing items and accepting $400 then offered this storyline to several media outlets, exposing additional transgressions by Gurley in violation with the NCAA’s compliance rules.
“The typical memorabilia dealer wants the player to do very well,” Fleming said. “We all know Todd could’ve won the Heisman Trophy. All this speculation that he was a Gator fan, or a mean individual, there must be some validity to that.”
Allen’s ulterior motives aside, Fleming expressed concern at the deceitful nature of Allen’s most recent business venture and hopes to get the bill passed by March.
“Driving 56 mph in a 55 [mph] zone is illegal,” Fleming said. “But if you’re going 90 mph, and putting others in danger, there’s a different level of severity.”
Whatever, brah. The reality here is that if buyer and seller are both careful and happy campers, it’s probably not coming to light.
Profiting off student-athletes is a multi-faceted business, with recent graduate Peyton Bennett selling “Free Gurl3y” shirts during Gurley’s four-game suspension before receiving a cease and desist letter from the University.
“It was kind of just to show our support, and obviously I thought I’d be able to make a quick buck,” Bennett said.
The desire to make a quick buck might have been what sparked this controversy in the first place, as most transactions would obviously involve two willing parties.
Because of this, Bennett is skeptical of the proposed law.
“It doesn’t seem like it’s going to make that big of a difference,” Bennett said. “Because at the end of the day it’s really going to be up to the student-athlete whether or not they’re willing to break the rule and sell their autograph for money.”
Come up with all the criminal laws you want, but it’s the law of supply and demand that will drive this puppy, no matter how much some might wish otherwise.
Jim Booz, Georgia’s senior associate athletic director of compliance, raised the point that under this law, both parties will face consequences for their actions.
“In a situation like this one,” Booz said, “where a bill would penalize the patron — the solicitor, if you will — it’s assuming already that the student-athlete has or is currently serving some sort of suspension, so they’re being penalized for their actions as well.”
While proving someone knowingly coerced a student-athlete into violating compliance regulations may sound unfeasible, Booz said the dialogue opened by the bill could lead to fewer infractions.
“Whenever a law or a bill or a rule is passed with the phraseology including ‘knowingly,’ sometimes it’s even more difficult to prove intent,” Booz said. “But also those cases are always so fact-specific, that the prosecutors and district attorney would have to rely significantly on the past, but hopefully the bill as it is written will act as a significant deterrent.”
Hopefully, eh? Well, I suspect most of us would simply prefer that Bryan Allen had been Fletcher Sanders instead of hoping for Fleming’s law to control the memorabilia market. For that matter, Bryan Allen probably wishes he’d have behaved more like Sanders, too.
Shorter NCAA Division I Board of Directors chairman Nathan Hatch: If Congress and the POTUS give our schools permission to continue to do the same unlawful shit the courts are telling us we can’t, I suppose we’ll just have to put up with it.