Should College Sports Remain Tax Exempt?

Athletic department budgets that are growing three to four times as fast as overall university budgets and escalating coaches’ salaries have drawn the attention of NCAA officials and federal lawmakers, who are reviewing the current tax-exempt status of college athletics. Aides for the House Committee on Ways and Means are asking questions about potential tax abuses in college sports. The concern is that big-time sports programs are becoming more about entertainment and losing an already tenuous connection to the tax- exempt purposes of higher education. One question being asked is whether college athletics donors should be allowed to take tax deductions for making contributions that not only supplement coaches’ salaries, but pay for perks such as luxury suites and access to better season- ticket packages.