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After a 112-year hiatus, golf is returning to the XXXI Olympiad at the Olympic golf course, Reserva de Marapendi, Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.[1] The men’s and women’s individual events, slated to be held on August 11-14, 2016 and August 17-20, 2016, respectively, mark the first time golf has been an Olympic event since the 1904 Summer Olympics.[2] While winning a gold medal at the Olympic Games is typically viewed as reaching the apex of a given sport – see track and field, swimming, wrestling, gymnastics and figure skating as examples, the same is not true of other sports, such as baseball, with its World Series; tennis, with its Grand Slam tournaments; and soccer, with its World Cup. If some recent high-profile declinations of high-profile players, such as Adam Scott of Australia, to compete in the upcoming Olympics is any indication, golf squarely falls in the second camp: the Olympics and the national pride they inspire are of de minimis significance to the most accomplished, world-class golfers in the modern-day sporting era.[3] However, there are many highly accomplished golfers who are enthused about participating in the Summer Olympics and as golf becomes a more established sport in the Olympic schedule, the sport will likely benefit from its return to the Olympic Games.

The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) ruled on March 26, 2014 that Northwestern University football players who receive scholarships from the University are employees of the University and are eligible to unionize.

The NLRB cited several reasons for its decision, including that the University benefits from the players’ services through the compensation it receives for those services in the form of advertising, sponsorships, media buys, ticket sales, etc.  Additionally, it found that the University controls how and when the players perform their services and that these football players receive compensation for their services in the form of scholarships. The NLRB determined that football players receiving scholarships from the University are not “primarily students” and that their activities are rather economic ones that benefit the school.

As a general rule, in accordance with IRC § 61, the value of any prize or award a taxpayer receives is subject to taxation. Internal Revenue Code (IRC) §§ 74 and 117 provide limited exceptions to this general rule.

IRC § 74 specifically excludes from the income of the recipient certain employee achievement awards and certain prizes or awards transferred to charitable organizations prior to receipt. IRC § 117 specifically excludes from the income of the recipient “qualified scholarship” proceeds. These exceptions are subject to rigid qualifications.

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The Sports, Arts and Entertainment Group at Garvey Schubert Barer provides full service legal representation on sports, entertainment and business matters, including handling transactions related to brand management, licensing, joint ventures, venture capital, private equity, technology, the Internet and new media.
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