Friday, April 1, 2011

Should College Bowls Be Nonprofit?

A recent New York Times article reports on scandal swirling around the Fiesta Bowl.  As we all know, college sports, even big time sporting events like the Fiesta Bowl that generate tens of millions of dollars each year, are tax exempt due to the supposedly close connection between college athletics and education.  In recent years, more commentators and politicians have been question the validity of that supposed connection.

Now comes word that the Fiesta Bowl organization has been spending lavishly on strip clubs and personal expenses and has, to boot, been funneling political campaign donations to favored politicians.  This has every appearance of sordid mess that undoubtedly will add impetus to efforts to tax college sports revenues.

For those interested in the topic, our Duke colleague, Charles Clotfelter, has just come out with a book entitled Big-Time Sports in American Universities

For my part, I have often wondered why we don't come up with a rule that universities that fail to graduate their athletes must abandon the pretext of educational connection and pay corporate income taxes on all revenues generated by those programs.


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