GOP senator wants to tax scholarships for college athletes


After a lifetime of opposing taxes, Sen. Richard Burr wants to tax college athletes.

Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), despite a legislative history of opposing taxes, on Thursday proposed a tax on NCAA athletes.

"If college athletes are going to make money off their likenesses while in school, their scholarships should be treated like income," Burr wrote. "I'll be introducing legislation that subjects scholarships given to athletes who choose to 'cash in' to income taxes."

Burr's comment came after the NCAA said that they would begin steps to allow college athletes to benefit from the commercial usage of their names and likenesses.

"In the Association's continuing efforts to support college athletes, the NCAA's top governing board voted unanimously to permit students participating in athletics the opportunity to benefit from the use of their name, image and likeness in a manner consistent with the collegiate model," the association said in a statement.

The decision came after Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) signed legislation allowing students in his state to be paid for their likenesses.

The NCAA is a massive business that brings in at least $1 billion in revenue every year. The association has refused in the past to pay college athletes or allow them to profit from the use of their images.

If Burr's tax proposal became law, it would disproportionately affect a large percentage of black athletes.

For the NCAA's two most popular sports, men's football and basketball, most of the athletes are black. According to the association's most recent demographic information for 2018, 45% of men's basketball players are black, while 39% of men's football players are black. In women's basketball, 31% of players are black.

Prior to his NCAA declaration, Burr often opposed taxation in numerous ways.

"Americans need a break," he said in a 2017 statement as Congress considered Trump's tax cut proposal. "This bill is a great opportunity for our state and country. Let’s put more money back into the pockets of Americans."

The proposal in question, which was later signed into law as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, contained massive giveaways to the ultra-rich and cut taxes for large corporations.

In the past, Burr voted against raising taxes on people earning over $1 million, and that same year he voted in favor of raising the exemption on the estate tax from $1 million to $5 million.

His record is one of opposing taxes, especially on the extremely wealthy, again and again and again.

But now that college athletes have a shot at fair compensation, Burr has suddenly changed his tune.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.