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Why Republicans Want to Tax the Scholarships of College Athletes

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Why Republicans Want to Tax the Scholarships of College Athletes

Why Republicans Want to Tax the Scholarships of College Athletes
November 01
19:14 2019

It would appear we’ve come full circle from Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s historic bill allowing college athletes in California to hire agents and make money off of their images, names or likenesses, to the NCAA capitulating to California’s law, by giving the green light to college athletes to cash in on their fame, thus avoiding a lengthy court battle, to a Republican lawmaker in congress vowing on Tuesday to tax college scholarships as income from those athletes who choose to profit off their name.

Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) announced on Twitter that he plans to introduce legislation that will treat the scholarships of athletes who choose to “cash in,” as income, a move that would make the scholarships subject to taxation.

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The North Carolina lawmaker took to social media on Tuesday perhaps in response to the NCAA’s announcement that they would not contest California’s bill, tweeting out his intention of taxing scholarships; “If college athletes are going to make money off their likenesses while in school, their scholarships should be treated as income. I’ll be introducing legislation that subjects scholarships given to athletes who choose to “cash in” to income taxes.”

— Richard Burr (@SenatorBurr) October 29, 2019

The NCAA board on Tuesday voted to allow athletes to profit from their names, images, and likenesses.

Ohio State President Michael Drake said the board hopes that “all who are interested in the future welfare of student-athletes would work with us to get to that point and using reasonable processes to get there.”

Federalist co-founder Sean Davis apparently took exception to Burr’s proposed legislation. The former policy adviser to Gov. Rick Perry lit into the North Carolina legislator on Twitter, noting that Burr has never taxed the institutions those athletes have made rich.

“And yet you’ve never proposed to tax the institutions that are making billions of dollars off the athletes whose bodies are broken and bloodied on behalf of their schools. Strange.

— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) October 29, 2019

In another tweet, Davis asks Burr if he would also tax those academic scholarships of individuals who work while in school

“Follow-up for @SenatorBurr: would you also tax the non-athletic academic scholarships of students who work while they’re in school, or is this a special penalty for the handful of football and basketball stars whose efforts fund every athletic department in the country?”

— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) October 29, 2019

There’s little doubt that Davis’ comments are heartfelt, however, as in all controversial issues there’s always a flip side.

College coaching legend Lou Holtz took the State of California to task for instituting the law, in the first place.

Appearing on Fox & Friends recently Holtz chimed in stating, “You go to school in order to get an education. Why do schools even have sports? Because you learn so much from sports. You learn about adversity, you learn about getting along with other people, you’re learning about teamwork and being unselfish. All these qualities will carry over. You ask almost everyone who ever played athletics how much they learned, and that’s why we have them. We don’t have them for money.”

Adding, “I just think we cannot get in this thing of paying somebody.”

The NCAA has in the past allowed some athletes to accept money. Tennis players can accept up to $10,000 in prize money per year, and Olympians can accept winnings from their competitions. Plus, schools in the “Power 5” conferences can pay players yearly cost-of-living stipends of between $2,000 and $4,000. In 2017 the NCAA reported $1.1 billion in revenues.

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