Virtually all colleges and universities have scholarship programs designed to support their athletic teams. The programs are generally in the form of membership clubs which are tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and therefore eligible to receive donations which provide tax deductions to their patrons. The fact that an organization is an "eligible receiver," however, does not ensure that all payments to it are deductible. For example, the cost of football tickets is not deductible since the purchaser is receiving value for his payment.
Nina R. Murphy,
Revenue Ruling 84-132: Sidelined, But Not Forgotten,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/lawreview/vol19/iss2/6