Category Archives: Finance

Obama wants to end tax deductions

Obama Wants to End Tax Deduction for Donations to College Athletics

Obama wants to end tax deductionsThe new budget President Obama sent to Congress this week calls for an end to tax deductions for donations made to college athletic departments for season tickets or preferential seating, also known as seat-related contributions. Currently, 80 percent of these donations are tax deductible.

The administration claims people would pay an additional $2.5 billion in taxes over the next decade with this change.

No doubt, college athletics administrators will watch this development closely. Donations are the highest source of revenue in virtually every athletic department. Yes, even higher than those television contracts you hear so much about.

Here is a random sampling of schools throughout FBS to give you an idea of the revenue they generate from donations compared to their total distribution from their conference (television contract, championships, etc.) and the NCAA (March Madness):

School Donations NCAA + Conference Distribution
Alabama $34,233,035 $23,855,929
Louisville $28,935,662 $15,349,134
Michigan $31,285,461 $27,845,239
Texas $37,386,271 $21,740,373
Western Kentucky $3,379,547 $1,634,776
Utah State $2,962,548 $1,888,296
Central Florida $5,088,098 $3,333,291
Source: Reports filed by schools with the NCAA for the 2012-2013 school year
The numbers above include all contributions reported for the year, not just donations made as required for season tickets or preferential seating. However, those seat-related donations account for the majority of donations on a year-to-year basis according to the development folks I’ve interviewed.
Would fans still donate if they no longer received that 80 percent tax deduction? One athletic director told me for my book Saturday Millionaires a couple of years ago that he thought donations would drop by as much as half without the deduction.
Would fans really be willing to give up their seats and all the years of points they’ve built up if they weren’t getting the tax deduction? I’m sure there would be some at the lower end of the scale who might not see it as such a good investment anymore, but I’m not wholly convinced it would have a major impact on giving.  I’d love to hear from those of you working in development in the comments section!
As a side note, Obama’s budget plan also calls for an end to the use of tax-exempt bonds to build facilities for professional sports teams. The plan states debt to finance those facilities would be taxable if 10 percent or more of the facility is used for a private business (i.e., a professional sports team). Implementation is projected to be worth $542 million in tax revenue over ten years.
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Donors conditioning gifts on successful recruiting

Donors Conditioning Gifts to Athletic Departments on Successful Recruiting

Donors conditioning gifts on successful recruitingYou read that headline right – some donors are now conditioning their gifts on their team’s successful recruitment of specific student athletes.

Chadd Scott over on SportsDay Now has a story about a new site called Ubooster, which allows donors to condition their gifts on a specific team signing a specific student athlete. If the student athlete declares his intent on National Signing Day, the athletic department will receive the donation. If not, the donor doesn’t make any donation at all.

Clemson has already indicated it will accept no donations through this method. I wouldn’t be surprised to see every other school follow suit.

You can read more about it over on SportsDay Now. In the interest of full disclosure, the writer is my husband. I’m only mad he found the story before I did!

Power 5 Approve Cost of Attendance

Power Five Approve Cost of Attendance for Student Athletes at NCAA Convention

Power 5 Approve Cost of AttendanceIt came as no surprise that the Power Five conferences easily passed the cost of attendance measure being considered at the NCAA convention on Saturday. The final vote tally was 79-1 in favor of going to scholarships that cover the full cost of attendance, with 64 of the 65 schools and all 15 of the student athletes voting in favor of the proposal.

Click  here to keep reading my commentary on Outkick the Coverage on FoxSports.com

2014-15 CFP Revenue Distribution

College Football Playoff: Conference Payouts

2014-15 CFP Revenue DistributionUPDATE: ACC, SEC, Big XII, Sun Belt, Pac-12 and Big Ten distribution has been added below. Additional conference models will be added as available.

Last week, I shared the revenue distribution model for the first year of the College Football Playoff. Now that pairings have been announced, we know how it works out for each conference (and yes, the Orange Bowl pays more than the CFP due to the nature of its contract – and next year when the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowls aren’t hosting semifinals, they’ll have larger payouts, as detailed at the end).

Keep in mind that all of this money goes to the conference, not to the team playing in the game. Most conferences split it equally between all 12-14 teams with an equal share also going to the conference office (although some give a bonus to the team participating in the game).

Power Five:

ACC

$50 million base to the conference

$6 million to the conference for FSU (Rose Bowl – CFP semifinal)

$27.5 million to the conference for Georgia Tech (Orange Bowl)

Total: $83.5 million to the conference

Conference distribution model: all bowl revenue is divided equally after expense allotments for the participating teams and is included in annual distribution along with other conference revenue. The only exception is Notre Dame (as it relates to football revenue), which is handled separately under a conference agreement that has not been made public.

Big XII

$50 million base to the conference

$4 million to the conference for TCU (Peach Bowl)

$4 million to the conference for Baylor (Cotton Bowl)

Total: $58 million to the conference

Conference distribution model: Bowl revenues are divided evenly between the 10 member institutions after subsidies are provided to participating institutions.

Big Ten

$50 million base to the conference

$6 million to the conference for Ohio State (Sugar Bowl – CFP semifinal)

$4 million to the conference for Michigan State (Cotton Bowl)

Total: $60 million to the conference

Conference distribution model: all bowl revenue is distributed equally between member institutions (taking into account financial integration plans for newer members) after a pre-determined amount for travel and related expenses is provided to participating institutions.

Pac-12

$50 million base to the conference

$6 million to the conference for Oregon (Rose Bowl – CFP semifinal)

$4 million to the conference for Arizona (Fiesta Bowl)

Total: $60 million to the conference

Conference distribution model: divided equally between all members.

SEC

$50 million base to the conference

$6 million to the conference for Alabama (Sugar Bowl – CFP semifinal)

$4 million to the conference for Ole Miss (Peach Bowl)

$27.5 million to the conference for Mississippi State (Orange Bowl)

Total: $87.5 million to the conference

Conference distribution model: For bowl games with receipts of $4,000,000 - $5,999,999, the participating team retains $1.475 million (Ole Miss), plus a travel allowance determined by SEC. For bowl games with receipts of $6 million or more, the participating team receives $2 million (Alabama and Mississippi State), plus a travel allowance determined by the SEC. If an SEC team makes it to the championship game, it receives another $2.1 million, plus travel allowance. The remainder of the revenue from these bowls is divided 15 ways – one share for each of the 14 SEC teams and one share for the conference office. There’s also a distribution method for bowls with lower payouts, but I’m not covering that here.

Group of Five:

American

$12 million base to the conference (1/5th of $60 million, per Group of Five formula)*

C-USA

$12 million base to the conference (1/5th of $60 million, per Group of Five formula)*

MAC

$12 million base to the conference (1/5th of $60 million, per Group of Five formula)*

Mountain West

$12 million base to the conference (1/5th of $60 million, per Group of Five formula)*

$4 million to the conference for Boise State (Fiesta Bowl)

Sun Belt

$12 million base to the conference (1/5th of $60 million, per Group of Five formula)*

Conference distribution model: equal division after travel subsidies.

* Based on reports from several sources, and also detailed in this article. The Group of Five have another $15 million to split, which sources tell me they will split according to computer rankings. The conference whose teams rank the highest in the aggregate will receive $5 million, the conference in second place $4 million, the conference in third place $3 million, the conference in fourth place $2 million and the conference in last place $1 million. It is unclear which computer rankings, or combination of computer rankings, will be used to make this determination. However, varying reports about the Group of Five formula are circulating. I’ll update this with anything new I learn.

Keep in mind that two of the contract bowls – the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl – are semifinal sites, meaning their contracts with the Big Ten/Pac-12 and SEC/Big XII, respectively, are not in play this year. In the years those games are played, each of those conferences will receive $40 million for playing in those games.

For full details on the payouts, including travel expenses and distributions to independents, and a comparison to the last year of the BCS, see this post.

UAB to UNC Charlotte

UAB’s AD and Provost Advised UNC Charlotte on Adding Football

UAB to UNC CharlotteWhen UNC Charlotte was exploring the addition of football, it reached out to athletic directors and provosts at other institutions for advice and asked each a set of questions regarding their own experience. This was done prior to UNC Charlotte’s 2008 vote to add football, so the landscape of major college football looked a little different.

Nonetheless, it’s still interesting to see UAB’s responses in light of yesterday’s news that the football program is being cut. In particular, the acknowledgement that the football program wasn’t built on the most solid ground at its inception.

Here’s how UAB’s athletic director Brian Mackin responded to each of the questions asked in the UNC Charlotte study:

1. What is your perspective on the implementation of the Football program (or lack of implementation)?

“At UAB, the President wanted football to help meet the university’s mission, therefore he supported (and current president does also) football with supplemental funding from the university. In the state of Alabama, the division of football you play is very important. (I-A) Conference Affiliation is very important. Identify who you want to be associated with. For UAB, it was important to be in a league with Southern Mississippi and Memphis, so Conference USA is a great fit.”

2. What were the consequences both intended and unintended with the implementation of football (or lack of implementation)?

“Unintended Consequences – On the front-end there was a miscommunication with the Trustees in regard to the goals of adding football. There is a need to have ownership from the “top down”—– total buy in. UAB has that now, but not sure we (UAB) did originally.

Intended Consequences – Start football, D I level and have a conference affiliation. Now we are “a complete” athletic program with football, that serves all sports. Conference USA is the perfect fit for us.”

3. Is there any advice that you would give as UNC Charlotte studies football?

“What Joe Gottfried did at South Alabama was smart……had a plan to sell a minimum # of season tickets prior to committing to start football. UAB just jumped in with no plan. You need a plan due to economic impact unless your President/Chancellor will subsidize the program at $4-4.5 million per year. I know you are aware of Title IX consequences.

Talk with marketing folks. We deal with ISP now-suggest you go external. We increased revenue from $200,000 to $1.4 million after we used external firm.”

And here’s how UAB’s provost responded to UNC – Charlotte, according to the report:

“The Provost commented that it seems to take a very long time to build a fan base. Attendance at games fluctuates with the wins and loses. He thinks that the size of the market is really important. Birmingham doesn’t have a professional team. There is a lot of allegiance to Alabama and Auburn football and UAB can’t really compete with them for interest. UAB has about 15,000 students total and a much smaller alumni base than Alabama or Auburn. But there is a real struggle in the state around student recruitment and with a generally younger student body, UAB has been trying to create a more traditional campus atmosphere. He did not have any comments on the impact of football on the academic programs except to say that having a marching band had been helpful to the music program. Other than speaking favorably about how the band was a cohesive group and seemed to function like a learning community, he didn’t have much to say about what football had actually contributed to student recruitment or the student experience. He had no comments on scholarships, fund raising or financing. UAB plays in Legion Field which is now old and in need of repair. UAB doesn’t have space on campus for a stadium.”

If you don’t know, UNC Charlotte did decide to add football. The 49ers played their first game in 2013 and will move up to FBS next fall.

Losses Cost Conferences

Mississippi State, Georgia and Marshall Losses Cost Conferences Money

Losses Cost ConferencesThe final games of the 2014 regular season were about more than rivalries and bragging rights. For several schools they were about securing a spot in the new College Football Playoff. With that spot, those teams would have earned millions for their conferences and themselves. We think three teams cost their conferences some major dough when they blew it on the field on Saturday.

Click here to keep reading my piece on Outkick the Coverage on FoxSports.com.

Want to know how revenue will be divided in the first year of the College Football Playoff? I’ve got the details here.