Reporting for the Wall Street Journal, Daniel Golden takes a look at tax breaks for skyboxes as an integral part of the building/renovation boom for college stadiums. Golden writes:

“… little-known tax breaks are spurring the latest scrimmage over commercialism in college athletics. Some academics and legislators, contending that college football’s multibillion-dollar building boom detracts from schools’ educational mission, are targeting tax laws that treat payments for luxury seating and naming rights as charitable gifts.”

Meanwhile, in an opinion column for the New York Times, Smith College economist Andrew Zimbalist questions the non-profit status of major college athletic departments. On the heels of Nick Saban leaving the Miami Dolphins for an eight-year contract worth $32 million at the University of Alabama, we may have entered an era of universities outbidding NFL teams for their head coaches. And players are not allowed to be compensated. “Instead, the coaches walk off with the value produced by ‘student-athletes’,” writes Zimbalist. He argues further:

“… college athletics are not supposed to be run according to the marketplace. They are supposed to be run according to the norms of the university.

Athletic departments should not be able to have it both ways: either they are part of academia and are treated as non-profit institutions, or they are professional enterprises, whose players are paid a salary and covered by workmen’s compensation, and they pay taxes like other business entities.”


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