Tax Legislation Information

Note: The below letter from former Interim Director of Athletics John Johnson regarding the then impending tax legislation, which is now signed into law,  was sent to CAF members, Dec. 18, 2017. 

Update: Effective January 1, 2018, the IRS no longer considers priority athletic seating contributions, including those made by gifts of stock, to be tax deductible. As with any contribution, please consult your tax professional about the impact this may have on you.


Dec. 18, 2017

Dear Cougar Athletic Fund (CAF) member,

Thank you for your continued investment as a season ticket holder and CAF member. Your support at events with your attendance and financial contributions to WSU Athletics and the CAF make it possible for our student-athletes, coaches, and sport programs to achieve excellence in the esteemed Pac-12 Conference.

We feel it is our responsibility to inform you of impending federal legislation that could impact tax deductibility of donations through seat requirements. Currently, IRS Tax Code allows donations to be 80 percent deductible if paying such amount provides the right to purchase tickets for seating at university athletics events. Proposed tax legislation currently in Congress could eliminate that tax deduction as soon as January 1, 2018

We are currently assessing the situation in order to analyze the potential impact and discussing how to move forward should this legislation be voted into law.

If this legislation passes, CAF donation requirements will continue for Football, Men’s Basketball, and Baseball season ticket holders.

For your immediate planning purposes, 2018 Football season ticket CAF requirements will not be increased. As a reminder, donations to the CAF from July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018, for student-athlete scholarships count toward any seat donation requirement for the 2018 Football season.

Due to these potential changes in tax code, along with other potential adjustments to tax credit and deductions, it may be to your advantage to make any planned annual ticket-related contributions prior to January 1 to guarantee tax-deductibility under current tax law. This is not intended as legal or tax advice. As with any contribution, please consult your tax professional about the impact this may have on you.

Contributions for seating priority have been an integral part of our fundraising efforts for many years, especially to fund scholarships for student-athletes. WSU student-athletes will always be our first priority and funding their opportunity to succeed, on and off the field, is made possible through private donations, which includes the priority seat donation.

Thank you for your commitment to student-athlete scholarships. We will continue to communicate any updates regarding the proposed legislation.

We wish you a happy holiday season. Go Cougs!


John Johnson

Interim Director of Athletics



When will we know the outcome of this potential legislation?

Ultimately, this will depend on the legislative process/timeline which can vary based on a variety of factors but the current administration has indicated that their goal for a vote on the bill is prior to the end of the calendar year.

How will CAF donation requirements be affected this year should this legislation pass?

Should this legislation pass in its current form, donation requirements for season tickets will no longer be 80 percent tax deductible, effective January 1, 2018.

Will the Preferred Seat Donation still be required this year should this legislation pass?

Should this legislation pass, donation requirements will still be required for all football, men’s basketball, and baseball season ticket holders for designated sections.

If CAF donation requirements will no longer be tax deductible if this legislation is passed, why are they not being removed/reduced?

CAF donation requirements are critical for providing the necessary resources for our student-athlete scholarships. $6.45 million was generated from CAF donation requirements help cover the $11 million student-athlete scholarship bill.

Will CAF donation requirements continue if this legislation passes?

We are currently assessing the situation, analyzing the potential impact, and discussing how to move forward should this legislation become law.

What if I have already paid my CAF donation requirement for the 2018-19 season(s)? Will it be tax deductible?

We will not know the final impact until any potential legislation is passed. However, our current understanding is that any potential changes would impact seat donations made during 2018 and beyond and that 2017 would not be impacted.