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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College Athletics Construction Roundup: February 2015

College Athletics Construction RoundupThe “College Athletics Construction Roundup” is a monthly series on the construction of intercollegiate athletics facilities. Each month we’ll provide a list of announced, in progress and recently completed athletic construction projects from around the country. You can view previous editions of the “College Athletics Construction Roundup” here.

Master Plan

Seton Hall unveiled new varsity locker rooms. With the expanded amenities, athletes will now each have his or her own locker for the first time. The 5,000 square-feet of space includes a high definition TV and audio system in each locker, as well as a Wi-Fi hub in each locker room.

Minnesota is moving forward on a $150 million athletic facilities effort that will touch its 25 sports programs. The initial focus will be on practice facilities for the football and basketball programs, as well as an academic building for student athletes. The $15 million Center of Excellence is expected to open in the fall of 2016.

Ball State has completed its fundraising campaign towards facility upgrades, which will benefit nine teams. Projects will include more locker room and practice space for basketball and volleyball, more meeting rooms and offices in the football complex and a golf practice facility. Work has already begun on the baseball and softball projects. Continue reading College Athletics Construction Roundup: February 2015

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!

Pinterest Best Practices for College Athletic Departments

Pinterest for College AthleticsSometimes my content on this site is geared more toward those of you working in college athletics, and this is one of those posts….

From the ability to reach younger alumni to easily engaging with women (who make 85 percent of all consumer purchases) and reaching some of the most affluent online adults, Pinterest can be a valuable marketing tool for intercollegiate athletic departments. If you’re not convinced your athletic department should be on Pinterest, start with this post. If, however, you’re convinced and just need some help boosting your department’s Pinterest presence, then this is the post for you.

I could probably write an entire eBook on best practices for college athletic departments on Pinterest, but here are a few to get you started:

Write good descriptions

From your profile and board descriptions to the pins themselves, spend a little time thinking about what you write. Although Pinterest is primarily a visual platform, search engines do crawl and index Pinterest. You’ll want to use keywords such as “Iowa State Athletics” in your profile description and in board descriptions.

Click here to keep reading on INKsights, my PR firm’s blog!

UCF Adding New Premium Club: East Side Club

When the UCF Knights host Florida International to open the 2015 season on September 5th, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy the fabulous Florida lifestyle from within the confines of Brighthouse Networks Stadium in the new East Side Club.

1 ESC in stadium

The new 10,000 square foot area, located between the 30-yard lines, will offer an open-air sun deck, chair-back stadium seating and tons of amenities. You can sip on a frozen drink and bask in the sunshine before, during and after the game, with the club having extended pre- and post-game hours.

Other amenities include:

  • Preferred VIP entrance into the stadium
  • More than 15 flat-screen TVs
  • Enhanced WiFi connectivity
  • Private restrooms
  • Gold Zone parking

2 ESC under stadium

“The ESC will be a showcase for the Central Florida region,” UCF Vice President and Director of Athletics Todd Stansbury said. “This is a great place to live, work and play and the ESC will exemplify that. When a viewer anywhere in the country tunes in to watch a UCF football game, they will see shorts and flip-flops – they will see the Florida lifestyle.”

This marks the first major addition to Brighthouse Networks Stadium since it was built in 2007. The project is expected to cost $2.6 million and generate revenue from both memberships and corporate partnerships. Learn more here.

Do you have facilities news? Submit your news here for article consideration and inclusion in our monthly construction update.

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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

College Athletics Construction Roundup: January 2015

College Athletics Construction RoundupHappy New Year – We hope everyone has a great 2015!  The “College Athletics Construction Roundup” is a monthly series on the construction of intercollegiate athletics facilities. Each month we’ll provide a list of announced, in progress and recently completed athletic construction projects from around the country. You can view previous editions of the “College Athletics Construction Roundup” here.


Florida Atlantic received a $16 million donation to be used towards The Schmidt Family Complex: a new athletic facility to be used primarily by the football program. The facility will include an academic center, larger weight room and more spacious locker room. The project is expected to cost between $45 and $50 million.

Missouri will build a new football complex in the south end zone of Memorial Stadium. The facility will include office space, a weight room and locker room.

Cincinnati held the topping off ceremony for the new West Pavilion at Nippert Stadium. The $86 million project is on schedule to be completed in time for the 2015 season. The renovation is expected to increase capacity to 40,000, including additional premium seating.

Oregon State announced a $42 million project to expand and renovate the Valley Football Center. The 55,000 square-foot project will include the expansion of the football locker room, equipment room and training facility.

Texas Tech will build a $1.65 ticket office and fan engagement center on the first floor of the Jones AT&T Stadium east building. The school will also spend $3.75 million to renovate the stadium’s north end zone building. This project will add premium seating and food areas.

Kansas State’s renovation of the north end zone complex is on schedule to be completed before the beginning of the 2015 football season. The project features new locker rooms, team spaces and offices.

Western Michigan plans to raise $3 million and replace the scoreboard in Waldo Stadium. The project is expected to be complete in time for the 2015 football season.

Penn State is planning $12 million in renovations and branding upgrades to the Lasch Football Building. The school plans to emulate other schools like Oregon and Oklahoma State as it upgrades the player locker room, nutrition bar, equipment room and meeting rooms.

Miami (OH) received the lead gift for the planned Gunlock Family Performance Center. The facility will feature a weight room, football locker room, hydrotherapy area and coaches’ office space.

Utah State is planning a renovation to Romney Stadium. The project will include a premium seating and press box structure in the west stands, new video boards and a new public address system.

Rice trustees approved a $44.5 million project to build a two-story facility at the south end of Rice Stadium. The 80,000 square-foot facility will include training and locker rooms, a sports medicine center for all student athletes, coaching office space and the Rice Athletic Hall of Fame.



Sacramento State’s student body rejected a $438 fee increase to help pay for a new on-campus arena.  The $125 million arena would have hosted the school’s basketball teams and other events and concerts on campus. The fee increase would have raised the university’s fees to sixth highest in the California State University system.

Akron is exploring renovations to the James A. Rhodes Arena. Even if the City of Akron constructs a new arena, the school has determined upgrades are needed to the JAR. Improvements are likely to occur in phases to spread out the costs of the projects.


Olympic / Other Sports

Baylor dedicated its new $18 million Clyde Hart Track and Field Stadium. The facility will accommodate 5,000 spectators and participants. Features include a training center and indoor practice facility, a 6,000 square-foot team clubhouse area and a 10,000 square-foot building containing hydrotherapy pools, training rooms and office space.

Michigan State has installed a new video scoreboard in Munn Arena. The $900,000 project also includes two ribbon-style scoreboards and four non-video scoreboards.


Academic & Multi-Use Facilities

Central Michigan will build an $8 million complex at the Mount Pleasant campus. The facility will host the women’s soccer and women’s lacrosse programs. Construction will start in spring 2015 with completion expected by the fall season.

Louisville has raised the necessary funds to begin construction of the $14.5 million Thorntons Academic Center of Excellence. The 40,000 square-foot facility will feature tutorial areas, computer labs and classroom space for student athletes from all 23 sports. Construction will run through the Fall of 2016.

This fall, UMass Lowell opened its new academic center as part of a $3 million renovation to the Costello Athletic Center. The space features computers, sound-proof study rooms and a team meeting room.

LSU will build the new $12 million Tiger Athletics Nutrition Center on the site of old Alex Box Stadium. The 22,500 square-foot facility will be an athletes-only dining hall and will teach healthy eating habits and food preparation in addition to feeding the athletes.

Texas will launch the Center for Sports Leadership and Innovation. The center will help develop student athletes with programs such as financial literacy, drawing on the experience of financial professionals and former professional athletes.

Wichita State plans to build a student services building to the southeast of Koch Arena. The building will house academic and compliance offices, computer labs and study areas. Locker rooms, coaching offices and a weight room for use by some of the school’s Olympic sports would also move to the new building.


Other Notes of Interest

Addressing fan engagement concerns, Wisconsin spent $6.5 million over the summer to upgrade the Wi-Fi connectivity in Camp Randall Stadium. AT&T installed 750 access points to create one of the ‘densest’ Wi-Fi systems in the country.

Have a project you’d like to submit for next month? Email us here.

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NCAA Will Allow Travel Stipends for Families Attending Championships

NCAA travel stipendsImagine you’re playing in the very first College Football Playoff. You walk out of the tunnel to thunderous applause, your eyes scanning the crowd. When you were a kid, your mom and dad always sat on the 40-yard line, three rows up. Back then you thought it was annoying when your mom yelled,”That’s my baby!”, but if you’re honest, you wish she was here now trying to scream it over the crowd. Unfortunately, your parents can’t afford the trip to Dallas.

No doubt, there are student athletes on Ohio State and Oregon’s rosters whose parents can’t afford to make the trip for next Monday’s game. Tuesday, however, the CFP made an unexpected announcement…

Click here to keep reading my piece on OutkicktheCoverage.com.

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