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Republican senator proposes taxing the scholarships of student-athletes who ‘cash in’ under NCAA policy change

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After the NCAA Board of Governors voted to allow players to make money off their name or likeness, Republican North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr drew backlash for proposing to tax the scholarships of student athletes who do so.

The board voted unanimously Tuesday to allow for athletes to “benefit from the use of their name, image and likeness.” The NCAA previously barred players from profiting off fame associated with their collegiate careers, even if their university was turning a profit by using the player’s name or image.

Burr responded to the news on Twitter by saying that he would propose legislation that would tax scholarship money those athletes receive to attend college.

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

If college athletes are going to make money off their likenesses while in school, their scholarships should be treated like income. I’ll be introducing legislation that subjects scholarships given to athletes who choose to “cash in” to income taxes. https://t.co/H7jXC0dNls

— Richard Burr (@SenatorBurr)
October 29, 2019


The senator’s comment met bipartisan condemnation on Twitter.

As a life long conservative, this is something I would expect from a liberal Democrat. What is going on here?

— Shermichael Singleton (@Shermichael_)
October 29, 2019

Yes, let’s tax college students instead of millionaires and billionaires or companies like Walmart. What a completely asinine response to a really good thing. How big of a jerk do you have to be for this to be your first take…

— MichaelStarr Hopkins (@Theonlyhonest)
October 29, 2019

This is a bad idea. The NCAA is changing its rules to treat student-athletes more like all other students. A GOP senator shouldn’t be crafting punitive legislation in response to a free-market reform. “Cashing in” is another way of saying “making a living.” https://t.co/8gjgpOOMhj

— David French (@DavidAFrench)
October 29, 2019

If scholarships are treated like income, then that would make the athletes, employees. The NCAA screams at every opportunity that college athletes are not employees because they know if they are classified as employees they would have to start paying them. But go off. https://t.co/m0GFPSYT1O

— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill)
October 29, 2019


The NCAA vote was held at a meeting at Emory University in Atlanta. Michael Drake, chairman of the board, said of the decision that the NCAA “must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes.”

The move comes after states such as California passed legislation permitting student-athletes to be paid. Florida was expected to follow suit and also vote to allow student-athletes to be paid.