Media Blog

How Taxpayers Subsidize ‘March Madness’

No wonder the president likes it so much. Steve Malanga writes:

As the National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball tournament kicked off last week, U. S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan penned an op-ed in the Washington Post noting that graduation rates among the major college hoops powers are notoriously low. Even as Duncan’s boss, President Obama, was revealing his own March Madness bracket predictions to ESPN, Duncan suggested that the NCAA adjust its distribution of television money from the tournament to reward schools that graduate more players.

Duncan might have gone one step further, however, and noted that the schools participating in the tournament, both private and public universities and colleges, enjoy non-profit status ostensibly designed to support their educational purpose. But the major sports programs of Division 1 schools make liberal use of that nonprofit status to burnish their bottom lines at the expense of the taxpayer, a 2009 Congressional Budget Office report noted. Increasingly, these major sports programs look like for-profit commercial enterprises that have little to do with an educational mission that might justify their hefty and multiple tax exemptions, the CBO said.

In other words, whether or not you like what’s going on in big-time college basketball as described by Secretary Duncan, you’re helping to subsidize it.

The rest here.

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