May 19,2009

Grassley: CBO Study Raises Questions About Commercialization of Some College Athletic Programs

Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking member of the Committee on Finance, today made the following comment on a new report from the Congressional Budget Office entitled “Tax Preferences for Collegiate Sports.” Grassley requested the report as part of his longstanding oversight of tax-exempt laws. The Finance Committee has jurisdiction over tax policy.

“The fact that congressional analysts had to rely on information collected by a major newspaper for source data highlights how little information is available about how these programs work. Given all the tax benefits involved, tight state budgets, and rising tuition despite the recession, it's pretty clear that Congress needs to engage and policymakers need to know more in order to act as responsible stewards of the tax policy that drives this fundraising and commercial activity. This report shows colleges receive tax benefits that aren’t available to private businesses that engage in the same commercial activities. Colleges should explain how they use their commercial revenue to get the biggest bang for the buck in fulfillment of their educational mission.”

The report is available at and The text of Grassley’s request to CBO in April 2007 follows here.