Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

30 Jun 2005

Tice Fined $100,000 for Scalping Tickets

Vikings coach Mike Tice was fined $100,000 by the NFL today for scalping his Super Bowl tickets. Running backs coach Dean Dalton and special teams coach Rusty Tillman were each fined $10,000 for scalping their tickets. I'm very curious whether these coaches reported their scalping activities to the IRS. If they didn't, they're going to learn that the wrath of Paul Tagliabue is nothing compared to the wrath of Uncle Sam.

Posted by: Michael David Smith on 30 Jun 2005

7 comments, Last at 01 Jul 2005, 2:59pm by PaulNoonan


by B (not verified) :: Thu, 06/30/2005 - 5:31pm

That's like a year's salary for him, right?

by MDS (not verified) :: Thu, 06/30/2005 - 6:31pm

Our friend the Football Scientist has a funny essay in his book about how Tice is constantly complaining that he's the lowest-paid coach in football.

by beedubyuh (not verified) :: Thu, 06/30/2005 - 6:49pm

After reading the "When Players Don't Pay?" article in the Wall Street Journal, I wonder how much of these fines will actually be paid by these coaches?

by MDS (not verified) :: Thu, 06/30/2005 - 6:57pm

Good point, beedubyuh. That WSJ article was a real eye-opener. My guess is that when the league fines coaches it's less likely to later reduce the fines, since the players' union has a formal greivance process that the coaches don't have. But still, we should always take media reports of fines by sports leagues with a grain of salt.

by israel (not verified) :: Fri, 07/01/2005 - 7:42am

"If they didn’t, they’re going to learn that the wrath of Paul Tagliabue is nothing compared to the wrath of Uncle Sam."

Won't the IRS allow them to net out the fines, thereby reducing the income and hence the tax?

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Fri, 07/01/2005 - 9:35am

It seems like you're misunderstanding, Israel. The concern isn't so much about an additional tax bill that could come his way (although that could be severe as well). There is a possibility that the IRS could pursue felony tax evasion charges against them if they made enough money from the tickets and didn't declare it (and therefore pay taxes on it). I'm sure he would first be given a chance to pay the tax owed (since the IRS would rather collect money than put someone in jail), but if he didn't or couldn't he could face jail time, and possibly could anyway.

Such a thing would not be unheard of - Pete Rose spent time in jail for tax evasion (I believe it was unreported income from appearances, autograph signings, and the like, but it was a long time ago and I can't stand Rose so I don't remember all the details). A few years ago in the NBA there was a similar scandal, actually fairly close to what happened here, with a few referees. Basically they were issued first-class tickets to fly to various assignments, but they would downgrade to coach and pocket the cash difference, which over an 82-game season adds up to some serious cash. The IRS came down on them, some were fired for it, but I don't remember if any went to jail for it.

Anyway, that's the wrath that was referred to. Hope this clears things up.

by PaulNoonan (not verified) :: Fri, 07/01/2005 - 2:59pm

The real victim here is the team as a whole, as the league opted not to suspend Tice for any games.