'Show Me the Money!' – Analyzing the Potential State Tax Implications of Paying Student-Athletes
Virginia Sports and Entertainment Law Journal, Vol. 14, pp. 13-49, 2014
37 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2014 Last revised: 2 Mar 2015
Date Written: June 17, 2014
On March 26, 2014, the Chicago district (Region 13) of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that Northwestern University football players qualify as employees and can unionize and bargain collectively, a decision which contravenes the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) core principle of amateurism. Shortly after, Northwestern University filed an appeal with the NLRB in Washington, D.C. to quash the prior Region 13 decision. This case has added fuel to the longstanding debate over whether student-athletes should be paid. Amidst arguments both for and against supporting the pay-for-play model from a purely compensatory stance, there has been minimal focus on the realistic implications of paying student-athletes from an income tax perspective. The purpose of this article is to analyze the potential state income tax implications of paying student-athletes, and to address the impact that such taxes could have on the world of college athletics. As such, this article explores the history of the pay-for-play model and its relationship to the NCAA, analyzes the potential impact which state income taxes may have on college athletics should student-athletes be paid, and concludes that from a state income tax perspective, paying student-athletes will have a significant effect on the world of college sports.
Keywords: NCAA, pay-for-play, tax, NLRB, misappropriation, antitrust, student-athlete, state tax, jock tax, nexus.
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