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Letter to the editor: Bowls often exploit charity distinction

Courtesy of MCT

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Letter to the editor:

Commercialism shows its face once again in college football. Bidding ended on Wednesday for the location of the semi-final rotation of the new NCAA playoff system in college football. The Tostitos Fiesta Bowl (Glendale, Ariz.), AT&T Cotton Bowl (Arlington, Texas), Chick-fil-A Bowl (Atlanta) and Bridgeport Education Holiday Bowl (San Diego) all met Wednesday’s deadline to bid on the semifinal sites. Three of these four bowl sites will be selected to join the Rose, Sugar and Orange bowls for the semi-final rotation. The most likely favorites are the Fiesta, Cotton and Chick-fil-A bowls, according to ESPN.
The four bowls that previously made up the Bowl Championship Series, were (and still are) classified as tax-exempt nonprofit charities. They are able to be classified as tax-exempt because they are set up with the mission to do “public good” with the money that they earn and spend. In 2007, New Orleans generated $34.1 million in revenue when they hosted both the Sugar Bowl and the BCS National Championship Game – $11.6 million of that was tax-free profit, according to the book “Death to the BCS: the Definitive Case against the Bow Championship Series.” In 2009, the Sugar Bowl paid its CEO Paul Hoolahan more than $645,000, according to ESPN. That does not include the other golf trips and vacation getaways for their executives such as “The Fiesta Frolic” and the “The Summer Splash” for the Fiesta Bowl and Orange Bowl, respectively.
Where do these bowls get their revenue you ask? They depend on the participation of taxpayer-financed institutions and subsidies, of course. It appears that only after they pay their executives a “lucrative” salary, can they then spend their “profits” on the “public good.” I can only imagine what bids for the new playoff locations look like. Now the playoff system makes sen$e.

Aaron Danison
Fourth-year in logistics management
danison.11@osu.edu

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