Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Elliot DiGioia: On The NCAA's 501(c)(3) Status after NIL

NCAA tightens up NIL regulations amid 'pay-for-play' allegations

Elliot DiGioia is our 100th subscriber. You can subscribe above, and if you do I won't put you on blast unless you are the 1000th subscriber.  As 100th subscriber, Elliot wins this blog's "I'll Make You Famous" award.  Elliot is a young hotshot lawyer and recent hire in IRS Chief Counsel's Office (Employee Benefits, Exempt Organizations, and Employment Taxes (EEE)), having clerked in that office after his 2L year. He is a Pitt Law grad, where he was indoctrinated into exempt organizations by chief indoctrinator Phil Hackney.  His  first  piece  of published  guidance  is  Notice  2024-23,  regarding a prepaid college savings plan.

It looks like DiGioia has been a tax nerd for quite some time, dating back at least until his undergraduate days. He must have been the life of the party at Primanti Bros after homecoming every year. In honor of his status as our 100th subscriber -- we are averaging about 1200 page views per day, by the way -- I wanted to post part of the introduction to DiGioia's Pittsburgh Law Review Note:

The purpose of this Note is to explore the NCAA, its internal structure, and its continuing status as a tax-exempt nonprofit under Section 501(c)(3). As this Note will highlight, the NCAA is in the driver’s seat of a billion-dollar enterprise with ballooning commercial appeal, highly compensated athletes, coaches, and more. Although the new NIL policy gives many athletes compensation they arguably deserve, the NCAA still leaves much to be desired in serving student-athletes and member universities.

This Note will demonstrate that under the current laws—even with the new name, image, and likeness policy—the NCAA will be able to maintain its exemption from federal income taxes. Congress, however, should amend the law to ensure the NCAA provides more for all college athletes and member universities. First, this Note will provide background information on the NCAA, its history, purpose, rules, spending, inequitable structure, and how it benefits many schools, student-athletes, and communities. Next, this Note will provide insight into the inner workings of the Section 501(c)(3) federal income tax exemption and how the structure of the NCAA applies to current tax laws. This will explain why the NCAA is able to keep its tax exemption despite many athletes seemingly no longer qualifying as amateurs. Lastly, this Note will argue that despite growing concerns of commercialization and substantial athlete compensation, the NCAA should retain its exemption to preserve college athletics. However, Congress should tailor the NCAA’s tax exemption to provide more equity for all student-athletes and their member universities.

Congratulations, young man.  Go slay all the dragons that stand in your way.  


darryll k. jones

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Thanks so much for the kind words Darryll!

Posted by: Elliot DiGioia | Jun 3, 2024 6:29:06 AM

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