Setting aside all personal feelings regarding whether colleges should give their football players fair compensation above and beyond the far-less-than-retail cost of a free education (I think they should) and whether players who aren’t getting paid whenever everyone else connected to the process is getting paid should take whatever they can get (again, I think they should), there’s one important point to keep in mind when it comes to putting that hand out whenever someone wants to put something of value in it.
The tax man eventually will want his cut. Or, even worse, the tax man will want to know after the fact precisely why he didn’t get his cut.
Perhaps that’s the best reason for the NCAA potentially revising its rules to reflect reality, and setting up (for example) an Olympics-style system that allows “amateur” players to make money via sponsors or autographs, and that ensures all associated taxes are paid. The current system, in which the NCAA keeps its head in the sand or a far less sanitary personal orifice until someone in the media generates evidence that players are indeed getting paid, easily could result in proof that the players who have gotten paid have failed to pay their fair share to the IRS and/or the state-level taxing authority.
In the case of Terrelle Pryor, his decision to leave Ohio State possibly was influenced in part by his desire to cut off the NCAA’s effort to generate the kind of evidence that would possibly attract the attention of any Columbus-area IRS agents who now possibly hold a grudge against Pryor for contributing to the possible demise of possibly the best football program in the state, including the two NFL teams that reside there. Indeed, Pryor’s lawyer made it crystal clear during a Thursday appearance on SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio that, with Pryor leaving an NCAA-covered institution, Pryor no longer will cooperate with any NCAA investigation.
“As to going forward with the NCAA, he’s done,” lawyer Larry James said.
“Completely done?” host Jason Horowitz asked. “He was no responsibility in terms of talking to them, in terms of their investigation with Ohio State?”
“None,” James said.
“Why is that?”
“Well he’s no longer subject to the NCAA rules since he’s no longer a student-athlete,” James explained.
“And he still doesn’t have to answer questions? He doesn’t feel an obligation to answer questions as to what went on with his role?”
“Well, you know I think that he’s already answered the questions more than a couple times,” James said, “but these new things that are coming out of the blue, no he will not.”
And if Pryor doesn’t talk about “these new things that are coming out of the blue,” the chances of the IRS getting involved will be minimized, since no evidence of any green flowing from the things coming out of the blue would be documented.
Then again, it may be too late for that. Even though Pryor is now beyond the jurisdiction of the NCAA, he’s not beyond the long arm of Uncle Sam. That’s why Larry James should be advising Pryor to strongly consider determining the precise amount of any and all income generated during three years at Ohio State, and to get those taxes and any associated interest or penalties paid, ASAFP.