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Saturday, June 22, 2024

LSU, Miami, MSU Coaches’ Pay Spurs Legal Inquiry

  • Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) has launched an investigation into three schools over whether they still deserve tax-exempt status.
  • It’s unclear, however, whether the probe will have any teeth. 
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Miami Athletics/Design: Alex Brooks

This year, several Power 5 schools offered some of the most lucrative football coaching contracts in history. At least one lawmaker is going after them as a result.

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) has launched an investigation into three schools — LSU, Michigan State, and Miami — over whether they still deserve tax-exempt status.

Pascrell, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight, asked the schools to provide information arguing why their football coaches’ multi-year, multi-million dollar contracts aren’t examples of an “abuse” of their non-profit standing.

LSU’s Brian Kelly and MSU’s Mel Tucker will both make $95 million over 10 years. Miami’s Mario Cristobal will make $80 million over 10, per The Athletic.

It’s unclear whether the probe will have any teeth.

“Having coaches who make millions of dollars annually might raise some eyebrows, but it doesn’t violate any of the rules that pertain to tax-exempt organizations,” Boise State professor Julie Mercado told Front Office Sports.

But it “may indicate that further regulation is under consideration” regarding taxation of non-profit salaries.

Growing Chorus of Voices

In December, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said, “Professional-level payouts for college coaches are only possible because colleges and the NCAA illegally collude to directly restrict compensation for the mostly Black athletes.”

During oral arguments in the Alston case last April, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas noted, “It strikes me as odd that coaches’ salaries have ballooned, and they are in the amateur ranks, as are the players.”

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