NCAA Defends Tax-Exempt Status

Wednesday, November 15th 2006, 11:02 am
By: News On 6

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ The NCAA defended its federal tax-exempt status Wednesday, saying its purpose is still educational despite the money that men's football and basketball receives from television contracts.

NCAA President Myles Brand issued a 25-page response to Rep. Bill Thomas, R-Calif., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, that was posted Wednesday.

``The lessons learned on the football field or men's basketball court are no less in value or importance to those student-athletes than the ones learned on the hockey rink or softball diamond _ nor, for that matter, than those learned in theater, dance, music, journalism or other non-classroom environments,'' Brand said.

Last month, Thomas asked the NCAA whether it should retain its tax-exempt status given the amount of money it receives from TV contracts and championship events. Brand responded to why the federal government should subsidize college athletics when the money is used to help pay for escalating coaches' salaries and new facilities.

Coaches, especially those with seven-figure incomes, are commensurate with other highly recruited faculty members, Brand said.

``Athletics facilities, state-of-the-art or otherwise, are necessary for the support of the activity for which there is a tax exemption,'' Brand wrote. ``These facilities, often paid for through bonds or charitable contributions, also generate revenue that offsets the operational cost of athletics that might not otherwise be provided through institutional funds.''

The results of last week's midterm elections means committee chairmanships will change hands, with ranking Democrat Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., in line to run Ways and Means.