College athletes get paid to promote charities. But who really benefits? | Sports

The new international of school athletes getting paid for endorsements has created a hastily increasing pop-up business: Brand new nonprofit “collectives” that pay athletes to promote charities.

The collectives are pitched as feel-good partnerships, however additionally they elevate questions. Is their challenge to give a boost to charities and their communities or do they exist essentially to funnel cash to athletes — in some instances tens of 1000’s of greenbacks — and provides a college’s donors a delectable tax smash?

“That’s the ultimate question,” mentioned Brian Mittendorf, an Ohio State accounting professor with a focal point on nonprofits. His faculty is one in every of dozens around the nation with affiliated nonprofit collectives putting in place athletes with offers to paintings with charities.

“We are certainly in gray areas about it. Is this existing to benefit the public through a charity, or is it existing to benefit the athletes?” Mittendorf mentioned. “My default on this is skepticism.”

There’s sufficient skepticism {that a} bipartisan effort in Congress has been began to check out to prohibit the tax deductions that may be to be had to the ones bankrolling nonprofit NIL collectives. A invoice filed this week by way of Sens. John Thune, a South Dakota Republican, and Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat, would do away with the tax deduction for people and for particular contributions which can be then paid to athletes for identify, symbol and likeness offers.

Thune and Cardin mentioned they do not want to save you athletes from signing so-called NIL offers.

“We also have an obligation to protect taxpayer funds, which means that charitable deductions should be reserved for charitable activities,” Cardin mentioned. “Purposefully blurring the line between private expenses and charitable contributions dilutes both these efforts.”

The new entities frequently exist proper subsequent to for-profit collectives that pool cash to align athletes with trade offers and be offering contributor perks similar to VIP-level get entry to to athletes.

The choice of nonprofits supporting athletes seems to rising, with no less than two dozen in position and extra launching on a virtually weekly foundation. They had been born out of the large exchange that hit school sports activities in 2021 when athletes had been allowed to make cash in ways in which were prohibited for many years.

Eventually, {the marketplace} will resolve the nonprofits’ long run if donors make a decision their cash might be higher used somewhere else, Lawrence mentioned. For now, donors can really feel like they’re serving to their favourite groups and charities do their paintings as the similar time.

“There’s something that feels right about seeing a student athlete interacting with kids as compared to seeing a student athlete promoting a Mercedes or BMW or an expensive sports car, right?” Lawrence mentioned.

Read extra in this matter:

College athletics sees surge in nonprofits paying players

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