• Will New Tax Bill Curtail College Athletics Giving?

    by Paul Steinbach November 2017

    Americans of all economic stripes were left wondering where they stood financially after the House of Representatives passed its tax bill Thursday by a 227-205 vote. Division I college athletics administrators represent one group with serious concerns about the bill’s potential impact.

    According to ESPN, Section 1306 of the bill eliminates deductions associated with charitable giving tied to season-ticket purchases — gifts that athletic departments rely on heavily to fortify their operating budgets. Duke University athletic director Kevin White told ESPN that elimination of such deductions will cause “a dramatic sea change in the college sports landscape.”

    “We need to put speed bumps up now to slow this thing down,” White said, “because I don't think the politicians have any idea how much this will pull apart our system."

    For decades, schools have been requiring fans — or at least those located in certain seating areas — to make a donation for the right to purchase season tickets. The tax write-off — up to 80 percent of the donation — and the selling point it represented will disappear under the new plan, and athletics administrators fear actual donations will follow suit.

    “We take in $50 million to $65 million a year in donations related to tickets,” LSU athletic director Joe Alleva told ESPN. “If even 10 percent of people say, ‘We’re not going to do that anymore,’ that’s at least $5 million to us. We have no other place to make that money up.”

    "While we certainly do not know the exact repercussions, we expect that it would have a damaging effect," added Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne. "The philanthropic support of donors is instrumental, and although the amount of contributions from institution to institution varies, it is of equal importance across the board when you look at financial structures. Very few college athletics programs actually make a profit. Take that funding away, and it will be difficult to operate without making dramatic changes.”

    Non-revenue sports opportunities, in particular, could be adversely impacted, said White.

    Meanwhile, proponents of the bill argue that donations tied to tickets aren’t truly charitable, since the donor receives something valuable in return — the right to buy season tickets. The bill’s author, Representative Kevin Brady (R-Texas), reasons that the average fan is actually disadvantaged when wealthy fans are allowed to deduct their donations for the right to sit in the best seats. He adds that states could still allow such deductions, if they choose.

    The Senate still has to pass its own bill, which at this point does not include a provision like the House’s Section 1306.

  • Tax Plan Could Affect Raiders’ Stadium Funding

    by Andy Berg November 2017

    The Republicans proposed tax overhaul could affect funding of a new stadium that will be home to the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders.

  • National Parks May Begin Charging Entrance Fees

    by Amy Joi O'Donoghue October 2017

    Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is proposing to raise entrance fees at some of the nation's busiest parks, including four in Utah, to help pay for more than $11 billion in growing maintenance projects.

  • NCAA Teams to Host Charity Games for Hurricane Relief

    by Courtney Cameron October 2017

    In an effort to lend what aid they can to those devastated by hurricane damage in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, college basketball teams around the country have been petitioning the NCAA for special waivers to hold additional pre-season contests for charity.

  • Petition Drive Was 'Heartbeat' of Lady Vols Restoration

    by Dan Fleser October 2017

    In November 2014, former University of Tennessee swimmer Mollie DeLozier took her car for an oil change, not expecting the bargain that awaited her.

  • Fires Keep Exercisers Indoors, Fit Classes Raise Support

    by Courtney Cameron October 2017

    The Virgin Sport Festival of Fitness announced Thursday that it will cancel this year’s events — including the Twin Peaks Mile and the SF Bay Half Marathon — scheduled for October 14 and 15 in San Francisco due to poor air quality, widespread public health concerns and resource re-allocation as a result of wildfires in the area.

  • YMCA Recommended for $3.5M in State Aid

    by James T. Madore October 2017

    The Long Island Regional Economic Development Council has recommended 121 local projects for state aid, including a YMCA...

  • Schools Lead Efforts to Support Harvey Victims

    by Greg Billing September 2017

    The plan to help started out simple enough: collect 20 T-shirts and 10 pairs of shoes to donate to the Hurricane Harvey relief effort.

  • Texas Fitness Community Working for Harvey Relief

    by Courtney Cameron September 2017

    The fitness community in Texas is working together to provide relief for those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

  • Alumni Effort to Save University Swim Team Axed

    by Mark Gaughan September 2017

    A group of swimming alumni from the University at Buffalo thought it brought a viable option to the table to give the men's swimming team a stay of execution. The UB swim alumni says it was willing to provide a little over $100,000 this summer to cover the coming season's operating expenses for the men's team, one of four sport programs eliminated in UB's athletic spending cutback announced in April.