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United States of Allowances: the NFL’s new cash cow

Federally funding the NFL started in 1961 when Congress permitted the act of football teams coming together to go over television and radio broadcasts. An act instated by President John F Kennedy, included an approval by Congress for the NFL-AFL merger.

In the same year, the IRS stepped in and revised its definition of non-profit entities to include “professional football leagues.” With this special treatment in the Internal Revenue Code, NFL headquarters are excused from owing $10 million annually.

Since 1997, the NFL has resourced $4.7 billion in taxpayers’ money toward stadium renovations and pumps a generous $700 million in government subsidies towards new stadiums in Minneapolis and Atlanta.

In regards to state funds, former Virginia senator Bob McDonnell promised $4 million to nurse the Redskins facility in Loudon County, Virgina. The taxpayers in Ohio continue to rot their wallets because of the Bengals and Reds stadium in the late-90s, which requires $43 million a year for maintenance.

But in recent months, reports surfaced about 14 NFL teams receiving – and accepting – endowments via National Guard units. It’s estimated that $5.4 million has been allocated over three years (2011-2014), with the Atlanta Falcons absorbing $1 million.

According to an investigation posted on nj.com, the National Guard and the NFL have quietly orchestrated a trade of goods and services amongst their institutions.

The process is this: the National Guard implants $200,000 (the Colts share in ’15-16) into an NFL team and in return, the organization fakes itself as a whole-hearted supporter of the Armed Forces.

In 2011, the Jets accepted $377,000 from the New Jersey National Guard to honor soldiers. The Air Force has also issued money to the NFL. In 2012, they arranged $20,000 checks to the Colts and Vikings.

In opposition to the circulating hullabaloo, the NFL defends its relationship with the Armed Forces. The NFL distributes over $4 million in its Salute to Service merchandise, along with $500,000 in aid towards an Army medical research lab.

In 2014, the DOD had $49.1 million directed towards sports sponsorships. But in revolution of these accusations, the Department of Defense is decreasing its association in sports sponsorship. In fact, the agency squashed a $32.2 million deal it held with Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

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*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports

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    Carly RegehrCAMPUSSPORTS Writer
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