The NCAA voted Tuesday to allow college athletes to profit from their name, image, and likeness, a historic decision that will give elite athletes significant earning potential while in college.
Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina took notice and immediately announced his intention to create legislation that would tax the scholarships of any athlete who profits from the NCAA’s rule change.
“If college athletes are going to make money off their likenesses while in school, their scholarships should be treated like income,” Burr wrote on Twitter. “I’ll be introducing legislation that subjects scholarships given to athletes who choose to ‘cash in’ to income taxes.”
Burr’s eagerness to tax student-athletes literally as soon as he found out they would soon be able to profit on their own names (which often generate significant income for universities) was not well received.
Some, such as ESPN personality and former college and pro football player Mike Golic, questioned why Burr wanted this legislation to target college athletes, as opposed to any other student who uses their talent or name to make a profit while in school.
Others, like former NFL player and current ESPN analyst Damien Woody, called Burr out for supporting President Donald Trump’s tax cuts and then trying to increase taxes on college student-athletes.
And political analyst Shermichael Singleton had a different idea for Burr: Instead of putting more taxes on student-athletes, put programs in place to teach them how to best make use of the money they make.
Burr’s tweet sparked a notable amount of outrage from other users, having drawn 29,000 responses within less than 24 hours.
The NCAA and its member institutions have long been criticized for making millions upon millions of dollars on college sports, particularly men’s basketball and football, while not allowing its best athletes to participate in a free market that is willing to pay for the right to use their names, images, and likenesses for endorsement deals, merchandise, apparel, video games, etc.
After California passed a law that would allow players to profit in such a way, the NCAA was subjected to extreme pressure to follow suit before other states passed similar laws throwing the competitive structure of college sports into chaos.
“We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes,” said Michael Drake, chair of the NCAA board of governors and the president of Ohio State University. “Additional flexibility in this area can and must continue to support college sports as a part of higher education. This modernization for the future is a natural extension of the numerous steps NCAA members have taken in recent years to improve support for student-athletes, including full cost of attendance and guaranteed scholarships.”
(H/T: Fox News)