Graduate assistants don't make much money as it is, but if the current bill being passed around Congress passes, the lowest-paid people on any coaching staff stand to bring home even less.
The current bill that passed through the House of Representatives changes the existing tax law to call for all graduate assistants -- whether they be in football, the music department, the engineering department, etc. -- to pay taxes on the tuition reimbursement they receive from their schools in addition to the taxes paid on their stipends.
Let's look at a hypothetical example. Presently, a grad assistant paid a $30,000 stipend reportedly pays around $2,000 a year in taxes upon that stipend. Under the new bill -- which President Trump is calling the Cuts and Jobs Act -- a $50,000 tuition reimbursement would be treated as income, bringing the GA's total tax bill to approximately $8,000, all of which would have to be paid from the $30,000 stipend since that's the only cash the GA would actually receive.
Now, a few disclaimers:
- These are just estimates and hypotheticals. Your actual tax may vary, depending on if you're married, have children or any other number of possible variables.
- This is far from final. The House bill has passed, but the Senate's has not. Assuming the Senate can pass its version of the bill -- and that's not a guarantee -- those two still have to be reconciled before the President can sign the Cuts and Jobs Act into law. This provision could be dropped at any point during that process. (Thank you, Schoolhouse Rock.)
- Even if the bill does pass as written, it won't mean the end of GA programs across college football. Athletics departments could adjust by paying a higher stipend to cover the increased tax bill.
- We haven't read the actual bill, just summaries of it from a number of different sources, which you should, too. Please don't take anything you read on tax law from a football website as gospel.
The Senate is currently posturing and negotiating to get its version passed, and no date on a vote has been set at this time. Until it passes, there is no set date as to when this will become law, but it's definitely something to keep in mind moving forward.
If you are thinking, gee Scoop, that was great information; but now I'd really like to read the latest on coaching openings so I might find a full-time job... well, you know where to go next - The Scoop