Thursday, October 26, 2006

George Will Scores a Touchdown

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 fiancĂ©e 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.


superhiker said...

The fact is, the big-time men's programs (football and basketball) are the moneymakers in college athletics, the programs that subsidize the other sports including the mandated women's teams.

It may not be charity, but if these 2 high-money sports are cut back by ending their "charitable" deduction, it's going to have a big impact on all those other programs.

Personally, that would be OK with me, but people should at least realize what's at stake.

Superdestroyer said...

If you want to make college athletics relavent to college affordability, you should concentrate on the large number of schools that transfer students fees to an athletic department that is usually set up to be almost independent from the rest of the university (like at the University of Oklahoma or the University of Florida).

Every semester college fees are transfer from paying students to fund operations in Athletic Departments that in no way benefit the student body. How many universities have weights rooms, gyms, and other facilities that regula students are not allowed to use? How many universities have special cafeterias, dorm rooms, and tutors for athletes that no other student can use?