Thursday, March 27, 2014

If Student Athletes Are Actually Employees of the University... their scholarship their pay?  And if so, shouldn't they have to pay income taxes on those scholarships?

There's plenty of improvement that can be made in the way the NCAA does business, but introducing labor unions into college student athletics is definitely not the way to make such improvements.  Talk about the cure being worse than the disease!

Honestly--and I'm serious about this--it's time to get rid of intercollegiate athletics.  Let the NFL and the NBA create their own farm leagues.  Students can participate in intramurals.

I do not see why someone should get a scholarship because they can run fast, swim fast, hit a ball with a stick, or come into contact with a ball with some part of their body.  Outside of giving people something to watch on weekends (and some weekdays), how does athletics further the academic purpose of the school?  If higher education is such a "public good" that I as a taxpayer have to subsidize it, then someone should explain to me how intercollegiate athletics is also such a public good.

Yes, I'm one of those crazies who thinks colleges and universities should be centers of learning.


allen (in Michigan) said...

Well if their scholarship's their pay then do they pay taxes on their income? Is it subject to withholding? Do they get time-and-a-half for "working" more the forty hours a week?

momof4 said...

For decades, I've been saying that schools should get rid of varsity sports. In the big-money sports, the players are not students in any real sense. Removing tax-exempt status for contributions to athletics (and all other non-academic programs and to a general fund which the college could use as it chooses) would cut off some of the money, which would be good.

Intramurals are fine and so are student-run club sports. One of my kids played on a club team, playing against other college club teams (weekend games and a few tournaments, not more than a few hours' drive in student cars); the kids did the scheduling, finances (minimal school support re field access, money for officials etc) and coaching.

In most sports, there are also national organizations such as US Soccer, US Swimming, US Tennis, AAU Track & Field etc) which offer competition at all levels including Olympics. For example, many Olympic swimmers swim for a USS team located on a college campus where the varsity swimmers also swim outside of the varsity season. For example, Ryan Lochte formerly swam for UFlorida and now swims for Gator Swim Club on the UFlorida campus and which has all ages and levels of competition.

scott mccall said...

I agree. It kinda pisses me off that students have to pay more in tuition every year because the colleges are "low on money"....but then they go and blow $1.5million on a stadium upgrade.

Anonymous said...

I don't find the Northwestern case to be interesting of itself ... if the players must get paid, Northwestern may well just go D-III for football and eliminate the scholarships entirely. Problem solved :-)

What *IS* interesting is the case of the top 20-30 football schools (Texas, Alabama, USC, Notre Dame, Michigan, ...) and maybe the top 30-40 basketball schools. Here, the programs are *very* profitable for the schools ... and the schools are colluding to *not* pay the players.

To illustrate: The NFL had revenues in 2013 of about $9B. The top 20 college football programs had combined revenues in 2013 of about $1.3B. The top 32 college programs are probably in the $1.5B to $1.6B range. And this is for playing 12 games/season rather than 16. Basically, the top college programs have revenues of about 1/4 of the NFL per game, but have managed to totally eliminate the major cost!

This is only stable because they have a cartel to enforce this. No cartel, and Texas starts bidding for high school players.

So ... this is going to get very interesting. The top schools don't want to get out of football because football is a revenue generator. But because it *IS* a revenue generator and the kids are "doing football" for so many hours each week, it is also pretty clear that the kids should be considered employees.

So what happens when this sort of ruling applies to Bama, UMich, etc?

-Mark Roulo

Ellen K said...

Two true stories. The University of Texas has one of the largest endowment funds in the nation. Yet almost annually they put in higher tuition and penalties for daring to take longer than four years on a degree. For middle class working kids, 15 hours is maxing out when you work full time. Make tuition higher, make fees higher, and you make it where those students who make too much for grants but who don't have rich parents either stay longer and pay more for tuition or work more and risk failing a class. Right now there are huge amounts of fees tacked onto tuition for services and functions most students cannot access. Some of those include huge salaries for "star" coaches and world class training facilities that are only used by athletes.

In a similar manner, University of North Texas had a Student Government vote in the Spring of 2008 to tack on a ten dollar per semester hour fee to fund their new "green" stadium. It was voted down only to be revoted on during the summer when handpicked students, many of them part of the Greek system, were on campus. It was voted in. This is how state schools work these days. They benefit the very poor, the talented athletes, the perfect SAT's and the rest of the 85% are simply milked by universities and lenders in exchange for a piece of paper. Color me cynical.

maxutils said...

This is a interesting case for me, as I am generally pro -union. Not in this case --- entirely. first, this case only allows the very small fraction of full ride scholarship athletes. I don't know about you, but if I'm a full ride QB, with union protection? I kind of want my left tackle to care about me, rather than let me get sacked all the time. And the full riders get paid in scholarship, where as I the LT don't. So ... my proposal: for anyone: 1) if you get a full ride, and are injured, the school is responsible for the full ride. With no scholarship, school pays medical costs. 2)if the university uses your image # jersey for profit, you get a percentage.3)leagues share revenue, from tv (some small amount) and any direct revenue (names on jerseys video games, get a %. Students can get legit jobs. and engage in jobs related, provided that the university gets a %.