By Bryan O'Keefe
Like he does so many times in his writing, George Will hit the nail on the head yesterday with his column about the wisdom of college football programs and tax exemption. Now, I am hardly a prude about college athletics – anybody can ask my fiancée and she will tell you that many Saturdays in the fall are spent watching Penn State football and many Saturdays during the winter and early spring are at George Washington University basketball games (I'm a season ticket holder). College sports can be a lot of fun and certainly help give a sense of community for students.
But lots of things are fun and don’t receive preferential treatment from the government in the tax code (nor should they). With many coaches making millions of dollars and television networks paying the NCAA hundreds of millions of dollars for broadcast rights, it’s hard to fathom why inter-collegiate athletics (and especially football and basketball) continue to receive enormous tax breaks. Not all charitable contributions are the same and there is no reason whatsoever why somebody who donates to a lucrative college football program gets the same tax benefit as somebody donating to, say, the Red Cross or some truly charitable cause.
Collegiate football and basketball are big business; they should be treated as such by the federal government.