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NCAA approves unlimited meals and snacks for Division I student-athletes

Apr 15, 2014, 6:11 PM EST

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On Tuesday, the NCAA announced a reform as the Legislative Council has approved a change that will allow unlimited meals and snacks to all Division I student-athletes, walk-ons included.

The decision will be finalized when the Division I Board of Directors meet on April 24. The change would then go into effect on Aug. 1.

“Today we took action to provide meals to student-athletes incidental to participation,” Council chair Mary Mulvenna said in a statement. “I think the end result is right where it needs to be.”

Several weeks ago, UConn senior point guard Shabazz Napier said, “there are hungry nights that I go to bed and I’m starving.” A week later, CNN posted that story, which immediately gained traction as the Huskies were en route to the National Title. While that statement shined light on the topic again, the proposed change had been in the conversation since last October. Dietitians have been pushing for since the October 2012.

The adoption of the meals legislation finished a conversation that began in the Awards, Benefits, Expenses and Financial Aid Cabinet. Members have worked to find appropriate ways to ensure student-athletes get the nutrition they need without jeopardizing Pell Grants or other federal aid received by the neediest student-athletes. With their vote, members of the council said they believe that loosening NCAA rules on what and when food can be provided from athletics departments is the best way to address the issue.

This is one of five rule changes the council approved on Tuesday. The other four include:

  • Require strength and conditioning coaches to be certified from a nationally accredited certification body;
  • Require a school staff member certified in CPR,  first aid and arterial external defibrillation to be present at all physical, countable athletic activities;
  • Reduce the penalty for a first positive test for street drugs during championships; and
  • Require football players to rest for at least three hours between practices during the preseason. Film review and team meetings will be allowed during this period.

  1. eugenesaxe1 - Apr 15, 2014 at 6:55 PM

    As long as this means they’re feeding them on-campus, and not handing them vouchers, that’s fine. And I’ll say it again, that guy that whined about going to bed starving is either full of crap or just stupid. It’s in the school’s best interest to keep these guys as healthy as possible, they’re not going to bed hungry.

    • indylew - Apr 16, 2014 at 7:37 AM

      Unless your walking in their shoes you really don’t know that. Student athletes that train the way they do need way more than 3 meals a day to sustain their energy level. Last time I checked the campus cafeterias and eating restaurants close before 9pm so YES, they probably are hungry when they go to bed

    • dunkdynasty - Apr 21, 2014 at 1:22 PM

      Have you ever seen a kid’s diet when he’s on one of these teams? They burn so much energy at practice and in games that it’s not uncommon for a kid to need 6,000-8,000 calories just to maintain weight, and then on up from there if he needs to bulk up. Their bodies need in one day what a lot of you probably eat in an entire week.

      Yes, they were going to bed hungry under the old NCAA plan. Almost all of them were, and almost every day.

  2. barkleyblows - Apr 15, 2014 at 8:44 PM

    I would go with just stupid. Most athletes are.

    • lcovington80 - Apr 16, 2014 at 8:36 AM

      You must be really ignorant , you probably have a third grad education and live in a trailer park. You are an idiot.

  3. kitnamania13 - Apr 15, 2014 at 10:27 PM

    The players are right. How is a college athlete supposed to live on only three free meals a day? They’re really just the same as those Ethiopian children we see on the news. Had the NCAA not taken any action, most of the players would have died of starvation.

    • bobc74 - Apr 16, 2014 at 8:33 AM

      Simple. You buy anything else you want to eat. When I was in college, I had to pay for all my meals and snacks. I survived. They will too!

      • sharissadove - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:09 AM

        Oh, I’m sorry and were you a Division 1 Athlete too? Were you spending 60+ hours a week playing sports, ostensibly making millions for your school on your championship winning team? Did you come from a family with no money to send you? I highly doubt all of those things were true of you. You speak like a person who doesn’t understand what it’s like to have ZERO money. To be at school ONLY because you have a scholarship.

        You’re extremely quick to write off this kid’s hunger, as if food insecurity doesn’t exist in this country. You are ignorant and blind. I hope you never feel true hunger, you wouldn’t be so quick to judge if you ever had.

  4. locator08 - Apr 15, 2014 at 11:51 PM

    haha..wow..sounds like ncaa is scared as hell bout this unization thing running out of control..ncaa trying to smooth this over with food…what a joke..hope the ncaa loses HUGE on this deal and get rid of the worthless execs they have running it..over paid for waaaaay to long

  5. jesustheyardman - Apr 16, 2014 at 5:34 AM

    As you said, locator08, this is a panic move. Not that it hurts anything, but it’s a sign that the NCAA is pretty worried about its sudden bout of unfavorable press, and it should be. The NCAA is a parasitic outfit that exploits kid athletes for big money and basically gives them nothing.

  6. swu32733 - Apr 16, 2014 at 9:58 AM

    What about Division II? No food?

  7. jollyjoker2 - Apr 16, 2014 at 10:06 PM

    its a good move…fatten up those athletes that are short of a little cash…the fan base wants to see more acl, mcl, and lots more broken bodies.

    • dunkdynasty - Apr 21, 2014 at 1:23 PM

      Haha how do you get more injuries from finally being able to eat right?

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