In a 25-page response NCAA president Myles Brand made an adamant case for his association’s tax-exempt status, following questions raised by the outgoing chairman of the House’s Committee on Ways and Means.Brand cited new NCAA penalties for poor team-wide academic performance and rising player graduation rates as evidence of the association's attention to education, adding that school spending on athletics -- including hikes in coaches' salaries -- are driven by a media and consumer market beyond the association’s control.

The Senate Finance Committee announced Friday morning that it had scheduled a Dec. 5 hearing on the issue.

The initial letter was sent to Brand last month by committee chairman William Thomas, R-Calif. Thomas questioned whether the NCAA should retain its tax-exempt status given the amount of money it gets from TV contracts and championship events, essentially questioning whether the federal government should subsidize college athletics. Thomas told the NCAA to respond by late October, then extended the deadline to Monday. He did not seek another term in the November election and will likely be succeeded by New York Democrat Charles Rangel.

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