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Volume 24 No. 132


USA Triathlon is partnering with Arizona State on an "innovative program designed to boost men's elite performance to the Olympic level," according to Jeff Metcalfe of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. Project Podium will be based at ASU, "providing a training home for a men's team of 12-16 athletes, at least half under age 25." The triathletes will be "able to attend ASU either in person or online and are eligible for scholarship funds from USA Triathlon based on performance history." ASU is "offering use of its athletic facilities as well as sports medicine, strength and conditioning, academic and nutrition support." USA Triathlon CEO Rocky Harris said, "This is something new and different." Metcalfe writes Harris has a "strong connection with ASU, his alma mater, from his previous job" as ASU COO. He left to join USA Triathlon in August. ASU President Michael Crow and VP/Athletics Ray Anderson "consistently advocated for the university using its resources to become a training mecca for Olympic athletes" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 11/14).

LSU officials said that potentially as much as $50M for the school's athletic programs "could be lost if Congress eliminates a little-known tax deduction that helps bring in millions," according to Crisp & Dellenger of the Baton Rouge ADVOCATE. Currently, many fans are "required to donate hundreds or thousands of dollars to the university for the ability to purchase tickets to LSU games." But the donation "comes with a benefit." If they "submit itemized income tax filings," they can claim up to 80% of the donation as a deduction "because it's considered a charitable contribution." LSU officials said that the school brings in up to $50M each year "through the ticket-linked donations." It is "impossible to know how many might scale back their giving if the deduction is eliminated," but school officials "fear the worst." LSU Senior Associate AD/External Affairs Robert Munson said, "Frankly, even a small percentage of them, would represent a multi-million dollar hit to our organization." He said losing even 20% of the donations -- $10-12M a year -- is "not something we can absorb. Not anywhere close." Crisp & Dellinger noted the process is "similar at schools with major athletic programs across the country." LSU AD Joe Alleva said, "It could be disastrous -- for not just us, but every athletic department in the country" (Baton Rouge ADVOCATE, 11/12). Meanwhile, Texas Tech AD Kirby Hocutt said, "Yes, the House bill as currently drafted could have a negative affect on (personal seat license) sales." Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione: "It has potential to be devastating but hard to know how many donors will react. Safe to say there will be some" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 11/11).