Are You Ready for Some (Tax-Subsidized) Football on Championship Saturday?

is a huge day for college football as various
conference-championship games will decide just who gets to play for
a national title in January.

My latest column for
is about all the rotten subsidies
that the college and professional game squeezes out of taxpayers
who don’t give a rat’s ass about the gridiron. Stadium deals in
which even craptacular teams (Vikings!) get sweetheart arrangements
are well-known. The extent of direct and indirect subsidies to
Division I college teams – even powerhouses – is less
well-publicized. Here’s a snippet:

With the exception of a tiny handful of programs – Ohio State,
University of Texas, LSU, and perhaps three or four more –
virtually every athletic program at every public NCAA Division I
school is subsidized even
as administrators plead poverty when it comes to resources for
faculty and, as you know, education. Especially in an age of
busted government budgets, even the most rabid sports fan should
agree that it’s an outrage that the highest-paid public
employee in
a majority of states
 is a college football coach (in
another 13, it’s a basketball coach).  It’s far better to be
broke and have a cellar-dwelling NFL franchise, right?

If you watch football this weekend, recognize that most of the
drama and meaning is taking place off the field. The way the
college and pro games are built on subsidies and giveaways neatly
encapsulates crony capitalism at its worst – and helps to explain
why taxes go up even as it seems there’s never enough money for
basic government functions.

Read the whole thing here.

And for god’s sake, Buckeyes, beat the Spartans in the Big 10
championship game if only because the latter gets a
$3.6 million subsidy
from its university.

What say you, Reason readers (and hopefully, Reason supporters –
please give to our
!): Should government at any level or in any way be
subsidizing sports that rake in millions of dollars?

from Hit & Run

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.