‘Republican’ Sen. Richard Burr Threatens to Tax the Scholarships of Collegiate Athletes

After a historic announcement was made by the NCAA on Tuesday will allow student athletes to receive compensation for their names, images and likenesses, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) announced that he will seek to tax college scholarships on Twitter:

Burr’s post was immensely unpopular and immediately ratio’d on the social media platform, as it serves as a reminder of why the Republican Party was such a failure before President Donald Trump came down the escalator in 2015.


It isn’t just smart alecs on Twitter who are enraged by Burr’s proposal because credentialed officials are scratching their heads as well. Higher education expert Mark Kantrowitz said to CNBC about Burr’s harebrained proposal: “Scholarships are already taxed like income.”

“Senator Burr is essentially saying let’s break scholarship recipients into different classes — a deserving class, and a less deserving class,” Tax Policy Center Director Mark Mazur told CNBC.

Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist is concerned that Burr’s legislative proposal may violate the “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” that Burr signed affirming that he would not support any net tax increase.

“Certainly if you are creating a new tax, taxing something that existed before but was not taxed, it seems to me that there would have to be an offsetting tax cut so there was no net tax increase,” Norquist said.

Burr is not representing a Republican Party that purports to stand for opportunity and low taxation in a productive manner with his proposal. Based on the widespread reaction to his idea, it does not appear it will be going anywhere in the Senate if he really goes forward with the legislation.

The NCAA hopes to avoid legal hang-ups by making the rule change, which will help student athletes who many observers believe have been exploited for many years by the lucrative industry of collegiate sports.

“We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes,” said Michael V. Drake, chairman of the NCAA’s top governing board and Ohio State University president.

“Additional flexibility in this area can and must continue to support college sports as a part of higher education. This modernization for the future is a natural extension of the numerous steps NCAA members have taken in recent years to improve support for student-athletes, including full cost of attendance and guaranteed scholarships,” Drake added.

“As a national governing body, the NCAA is uniquely positioned to modify its rules to ensure fairness and a level playing field for student-athletes,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said. “The board’s action today creates a path to enhance opportunities for student-athletes while ensuring they compete against students and not professionals.”

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