NCAA Hoping For Exemption In Hoosier State

By Josh Herwitt - March 05, 2008

The NCAA has always stood as college sports' higher authority.

The NCAA has always been known to do the "right thing," preaching fairness, honesty and good sportsmanship on and off the playing field at all times.

But when it comes to paying taxes for the men's and women's NCAA Tournament, well, the NCAA doesn't exactly hold itself to those mottoes.

According to John Ketzenberger of the Indianapolis Star earlier this week, the NCAA, which has "promised" -- not just agreed to -- that both the Division I men's and women's basketball Final Fours will be hosted in Indianapolis once every five years through 2039, is now asking to be exempt from paying any "state or local taxes associated with the event."

Now no matter where you sit politically, no one likes to pay taxes, but in this case, there's a sentiment of greed that resonates with me when it comes to this proposition.

Because after all, how much does the NCAA make on the Final Four?

Six billion dollars.

That's right. Six billion -- not million -- dollars.

That exorbitant amount was agreed upon by CBS Sports back in November of 1999 in order to keep its NCAA Tournament television rights through 2010, forcing the network to shell out an average of $545 million per year to show exclusive footage of the games during March.

Yet for one reason or another, the NCAA is unwilling to pay Indiana state or local taxes every five years to have the tournament in its backyard in hopes of saving what NCAA Director of Public & Media Relations Eric Christianson has said would be $300,000.

$300,000 from $6 billion. You do the math.

For the NCAA, it's simply chump change. But for the city of Indianapolis and the state of Indiana, it hurts considerably.


Because earning revenue from a major national sporting event like the Final Four is one of the major reasons -- aside from exposure and publicity -- why cities all across America are eager to host the games every March.

For the NCAA, though, that doesn't matter.

What matters, rather, is that exemption line for $300,000 on the NCAA's next tax return.

Posted by Josh Herwitt at 07:19 PM on March 05, 2008

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