I am in favor of anything that sticks it to the NCAA:
College Players Granted Right To Form Union
By BEN STRAUSS and STEVE EDER MARCH 26, 2014
CHICAGO — A regional director of the National Labor Relations Board ruled Wednesday that a group of Northwestern football players were employees of the university and have the right to form a union and bargain collectively.
For decades, the N.C.A.A. and college sports have functioned on the bedrock principle of the student-athlete, with players rewarded with scholarships to compete for their university. But Peter Ohr, the regional N.L.R.B. director, tore down that familiar construct in a 24-page decision. He ruled that all Northwestern’s scholarship football players should be eligible to form a union based on a litany of factors, including how much time they devote to football (as many as 50 hours during some weeks), the control exerted by the coaching staff and their scholarships, which Ohr deemed a contract for compensation. “It cannot be said that the employer’s scholarship players are ‘primarily students,’ ” the decision said.
The NCAA has captured a goose laying golden eggs, and they will be under increasing pressure to share them. Can Athletic Directors continue to balance their budgets on the backs of poor, disproportionately black football and basketball players while subsidizing the lily-white swim teams that don't generate enough revenue to buy a dozen half-caf lattes at Starbucks?
THE TAXMAN COMETH...Since you ask, here are the IRS rules for the tax treatment of scholarships and fellowships. This is important:
A scholarship is generally an amount paid or allowed to a student at an educational institution for the purpose of study. A fellowship is generally an amount paid to an individual for the purpose of research.
If you receive a scholarship or fellowship grant, all or part of the amounts you receive may be tax-free.
Qualified scholarship and fellowship grants are treated as tax-free amounts if the following conditions are met:
- You are a candidate for a degree at an educational institution that maintains a regular faculty and curriculum and normally has a regularly enrolled body of students in attendance at the place where it carries on its educational activities; and
- Amounts you receive as a scholarship or fellowship grant are used for tuition and fees required for enrollment or attendance at the educational institution, or for fees, books, supplies, and equipment required for courses at the educational institution.
You must include in gross income amounts used for incidental expenses, such as room and board, travel, and optional equipment, and generally, amounts received as payments for teaching, research, or other services required as a condition for receiving the scholarship or fellowship grant. Also, you must include in income any part of the scholarship or fellowship that represents payments for services.
I wonder how many folks (athletes or otherwise) are reporting room and board subsidies as ordinary income.
Presumably, unionized athletes could be compensated like a PhD on a fellowship - the tuition portion of the scholarship award continues to be tax-free but any payments above that are taxable.