Mike Hamilton: UT being targeted for sales tax

The University of Tennessee athletics department forks over $4.4 million a year in taxes on ticket sales because of a unique amusement tax that specifically targets UT sporting events, something officials there are hoping to change in the future.

Each ticket sold to football and men’s and women’s basketball games is taxed at 14.25 percent — that’s 5 percent above the regular state sales tax, said Athletic Director Mike Hamilton.

“That’s a $1.5 million swing for us, and the city is not in a position to repeal that right now, but it’s a pretty unfair tax on UT athletics and it’s time to start letting people know that,” Hamilton told the athletics board at its spring meeting Saturday morning in the Brenda Lawson Center.

The extra amusement tax, which is narrowly defined to target UT sporting events, makes UT the most taxed athletic department in the country, Hamilton said.

In the SEC, five schools including Kentucky and Florida, pay no taxes on the sale of tickets and the other schools pay only state sales tax, which is less than 7 percent there.

Though the tax has been in place for decades and local governments are in desperate need of the revenue, Hamilton and Chancellor Jimmy Cheek said they plan to begin the conversation of trying to repeal the tax before it impacts the athletic department long term.

If the city, which receives 4.5 percent of the tax, and the county, which gets 0.5 percent, decline to offer relief, they would have to go to the state to repeal the law, Cheek said.

Despite the money it pays back in taxes, the athletic department is expected to again close the year $1 million in the black and ticket sales are strong. Among all basketball teams in the SEC, UT men finished second in attendance for the year and the UT women in third. Men’s basketball is slated to finished in the top five in the country and football was sixth this year, despite a national trend of declining ticket sales in all sports, said spokesman Jimmy Stanton.

Despite the positive budget outlook this year, UT hopes that repealing the tax will protect the department and its programs in the future, including the $7 million it gives back to the university in various capacities.

Since the SEC signed a television agreement with ESPN, UT uses a portion of its revenues of the contract to give $800,000 a year to graduate fellowships and another $200,000 to other academic causes. It’s a gesture, faculty said, that is welcomed and appreciated.

“It creates such good will that I’d hate to see it disappear,” said biology professor and board member John Koontz.

In particular, the graduate fellowships are appreciated by faculty, said UT President Joe DiPietro.

“As a former faculty, you feel it personally because you’re able to support a graduate student who you wouldn’t be able to otherwise and you realize where the money comes from because you’re trying to keep the program alive,” DiPietro said.

Cheek emphasized that the money given back to the university is not currently in jeopardy.

Megan Boehnke can be reached at 865-342-6432.

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Comments » 42

stevefrommemphis writes:

Maybe UT could punish the city by playing all of its football games on the road, or at least the meaningless, pathetic non-conference games such as Buffalo.

freevol writes:

in response to Mama_Calls_Me_Precious:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

uk fans havent lauhed in a while

SEC1 writes:

BAMA 92,000 AT SPRING GAME, VOLS 9000? WOW HOW PATHETIC!

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to SEC1:

BAMA 92,000 AT SPRING GAME, VOLS 9000? WOW HOW PATHETIC!

Make that 91,999 at Bama spring game, not 92,000.

Reason is that the troll............SEC1 doesn't have time to be there..............
he has to be here 24/7. Just get the 91,999 to tell you what happened, and you can report to them about what a jerk you are being here on Govolsextra. Sort of balances itself out.............

voloffaith writes:

in response to SEC1:

BAMA 92,000 AT SPRING GAME, VOLS 9000? WOW HOW PATHETIC!

OFF TOPIC mr. Bama fan . say bye bye to the post you made if the site police do their duty to follow the rules written above. Stay on topic and no problemo sir/mam.

Taxes everybody dislikes them and many pay them. Dream on getting city/county to relinquish revenues.

thomastruxtun writes:

The person paying for that ticket is the one paying the tax, not the University of Tennessee. How pious on AD Hamilton's part. Maybe he is concerned about having to buyout Coaches Fulmer, Peterson, Kiffin and Pearls contract and needs the money?

SEC1 writes:

in response to thomastruxtun:

The person paying for that ticket is the one paying the tax, not the University of Tennessee. How pious on AD Hamilton's part. Maybe he is concerned about having to buyout Coaches Fulmer, Peterson, Kiffin and Pearls contract and needs the money?

add dooley to the list, because in about two years ut will buyout his contract also

pomp_and_circumstance writes:

How much amusement tax does The KNS pay? John Adams should be gigged for 35% at least.

8ball writes:

in response to SEC1:

BAMA 92,000 AT SPRING GAME, VOLS 9000? WOW HOW PATHETIC!

Auburn 28 ala 27, 83,000 Tenn fans have a life sorry you dont..

govolshw writes:

How did the lady vols finish third in the SEC attendance? I thought they led every year; who would have finished ahead of them, Kentucky? Or is it supposed to say third in the country, because that would make more sense.

eVOLved writes:

in response to freevol:

uk fans havent lauhed in a while

LOL, and the current generation hasn't even had the chance.

eVOLved writes:

in response to thomastruxtun:

The person paying for that ticket is the one paying the tax, not the University of Tennessee. How pious on AD Hamilton's part. Maybe he is concerned about having to buyout Coaches Fulmer, Peterson, Kiffin and Pearls contract and needs the money?

How many ticket buyers know they are paying the tax? If they repeal the law, it's Big Orange money. On the other hand, I like that UT is able to turn such a profit AND support the city and county. GBO!

chrisw2967 writes:

in response to SEC1:

add dooley to the list, because in about two years ut will buyout his contract also

92k at the bama game ? wow.I cant believe you missed your family reunion.
Oh I forgot you was out searching for the leftover Tin from that tornado that tore apart the trailors in your park so you can finish remodeling your single wide.

bmaples writes:

Tennessee women first in nation in average attendance:

http://web1.ncaa.org/app_data/weeklyr...

CoverOrange writes:

I'm taking this to mean that if the tax was repealed that the total ticket price would stay the same and Mikey would keep the $1.5M. Minus the lawyer fees of course.

civilianvol_formerly_marinevol writes:

in response to thomastruxtun:

The person paying for that ticket is the one paying the tax, not the University of Tennessee. How pious on AD Hamilton's part. Maybe he is concerned about having to buyout Coaches Fulmer, Peterson, Kiffin and Pearls contract and needs the money?

Good point. If the tax was abolished, would the price of tickets be reduced acordingly? I doubt it. Anyway, taxes are a necessary evil for government, and we are privileged to be citizens of the greatest country in the world and (IMO) the greatest state within that country. Therefore, paying our share (I know I'm going to get hammered for this)of the taxes, although painful, is a duty we should proudly accept.

Snapshot writes:

in response to SEC1:

BAMA 92,000 AT SPRING GAME, VOLS 9000? WOW HOW PATHETIC!

You think anyone here gives a phooey how many rednecks when to alabubas spring game? By the way, Tn swept them in a doubleheader today. Around the bowl and down the hole, roll tide roll!!

stormblast writes:

in response to SEC1:

BAMA 92,000 AT SPRING GAME, VOLS 9000? WOW HOW PATHETIC!

Nice to see 92,000 people learn to tivo Deliverance.

Volunteer-Varmint writes:

in response to bigorangegoon:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hilarious. LMAO and even wet my pants a little. Go Vols! I'm still laughing.

ChrisUTvol writes:

in response to TheMemphisSlim:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

BWAAAAAAAAAAAA HA HA,Funny one SLIM.Good response!!!!!

mhsvol writes:

in response to SEC1:

BAMA 92,000 AT SPRING GAME, VOLS 9000? WOW HOW PATHETIC!

Totally understandable. All those Alabama fans were just Wal-Mart shoppers filling out their afternoons. What else is there to do?

govolshw writes:

KNS why do you have the lady vols ranking 3rd in sec basketball attendance?

Fall_Creek_Vols writes:

Nothing like trying to get 'em to take their eyes off the 'ol ball, eh Hammy? The N.C.A.A. cloud hanging over your office wouldn't have ANYTHING to do with the timing of this story, right?

This issue has been around for years and seems to chafe only the U.T. suits., who are all "still in the black".

Even if it IS the highest taxation rate, the cost of being a good neighbor in a GREAT neighborhood ain't cheap.

UofTNVol writes:

The city, and probably the county, provide a lot of additional services on game days, especially police and emergency services. I wonder if the additional revenues in sales tax, hotel tax and regular taxes already off-set the increased expenditures.

Fall_Creek_Vols writes:

in response to govolshw:

KNS why do you have the lady vols ranking 3rd in sec basketball attendance?

Because they published a factual error.

It's a term that used to mean something in journalism.

mhsvol writes:

“That’s a $1.5 million swing for us, and the city is not in a position to repeal that right now, but it’s a pretty unfair tax on UT athletics and it’s time to start letting people know that,” Hamilton told the athletics board."

Since Hamilton was an accounting major and has an MBA, seems like this is an issue he should have been on top of quite a while ago - not just now. He has proven to be a failure as a manager of his athletic programs & coaches, so one would expect that he should excel in the financial area of his job. Seems that's not the case. It's a good thing for him that his bosses are more patient with him than he was with his coaches.

utjunkie writes:

in response to SEC1:

BAMA 92,000 AT SPRING GAME, VOLS 9000? WOW HOW PATHETIC!

Were you one of the 92,000? Probably not because you were to busy on our web site. I think you are obsessed with UT. Most inbred tater diggers are. If you don't like UT go to red elephant site, this site is for UT fans.

alvol writes:

in response to utjunkie:

Were you one of the 92,000? Probably not because you were to busy on our web site. I think you are obsessed with UT. Most inbred tater diggers are. If you don't like UT go to red elephant site, this site is for UT fans.

Only in tuscaloosa would 92,000 fans show up to watch the football team play with themselves.

VolunteerLifer writes:

The timing of this story is Hamilton's way of telling the ncaa that the athletic department is actually a philanthropic enterprise, and therefore, he hopes, the enforcement committee will have mercy on him and his department.

tennezz writes:

in response to SEC1:

BAMA 92,000 AT SPRING GAME, VOLS 9000? WOW HOW PATHETIC!

Because bama fans are so dumb they think this is a real game...They need to get the football schedule from walmart!

tennezz writes:

in response to SEC1:

add dooley to the list, because in about two years ut will buyout his contract also

One more like this past one and you will be buying out saban`s to!

commonman writes:

in response to 8ball:

Auburn 28 ala 27, 83,000 Tenn fans have a life sorry you dont..

Are you still using this line, what an idiot!

Vol1983 writes:

This is just pathetic. I have had enough of Hamilton and Cheek and their lack of integrity. These outsiders care nothing about the University of Tennessee. The more they can collect for athletics, the more they figure they can put in their pocket. Joe DiPietro is worse. He is a joke who says he knows more about the University than anyone after less than 5 years here. The Board of Trustees should be ashamed of the poor judgment they have used in putting together this sorry administration. To the Board: Send a strong message, force DiPietro and Cheek to fire Hamilton, and put them on notice that they will conduct themselves in a manner which respects the University. The city of Knoxville needs the money more than the UT athletic department and it’s wasteful spending under Mike Hamilton. Under Hamilton, the bottom line may have gone up, but the integrity of UT has suffered tremendously.

BigOrangeSmoker writes:

in response to TheMemphisSlim:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

dat dar is funny i dont care who ya are

Vol1983 writes:

Ticket Prices

2008 2008 2010 2010
(Low) (High) (Low) (High)
Alabama $40 $65 $45 $85
Arkansas $45 $45 $45 $65
Auburn $35 $60 $40 $65
Florida $40 $40 $45 $45
Georgia $40 $40 $45 $45
Kentucky $35 $40 $41 $46
LSU $45 $50 $40 $70
Ole Miss $25 $35 $25 $65
Miss State $30 $40 $30 $55
S. Carolina $35 $55 $35 $65
Tennessee $40 $70 $40 $70
Vanderbilt $12 $52 $25 $50

slb#1351874 writes:

in response to SEC1:

add dooley to the list, because in about two years ut will buyout his contract also

You frigging guy's are something else. Both of you must live a miserable life being as retarded as you appear with comments like you make on matters and people you know nothing about.

PHAT_VOL writes:

Is this article a diversion from the NCAA's visit in June?

8ball writes:

in response to commonman:

Are you still using this line, what an idiot!

Must be bothering your sleep at night, I'll keep using Auburn 28 ala 27

8ball writes:

in response to slb#1351874:

You frigging guy's are something else. Both of you must live a miserable life being as retarded as you appear with comments like you make on matters and people you know nothing about.

sib: sec1, shen23,commamwoman are ala fans and that explains everything..

fortsanders writes:

Wonder why Hamilton did not bring this up when Haslam was mayor?

volfaninbuckeyeland writes:

in response to govolshw:

KNS why do you have the lady vols ranking 3rd in sec basketball attendance?

The way the article reads can be somewhat confusing, but I believe the emphasis is on the term "all" including men's & women's programs. The Lady Vols apparently finished behind the UK & UT men's programs and ahead of everybody else's. That is really quite an accomplishment considering the success of the UF men's team this year.

tomkats3242 writes:

Fire Mike Hamilton!!!!!!!

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