SBD/April 16, 2014/Colleges

NCAA OKs Proposal Giving Unlimited Meals, Snacks To All Division I Student-Athletes

Shabazz Napier spoke after the NCAA title game about athletes' struggles
The NCAA D-I Legislative Council yesterday "enacted legislation allowing unlimited meals and snacks for athletes," according to Rachel Bachman of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Before the change, NCAA rules "allowed three meals a day for athletes on full scholarship but limited snacks, and limited meals for walk-ons and those on partial scholarships." But athletes who lived off campus "sometimes found stipends inadequate to pay for meals." The action "isn't considered final" until the D-I BOD meets April 24. Once "affirmed, the rule change would take effect Aug. 1." The unlimited-meals legislation had "been discussed for years and was submitted as an NCAA proposal" in '13. NCAA D-I Legislative Council Chair and America East Conference Assistant Commissioner Mary Mulvenna said that most details of the issue "were hashed out in January." However, some lower-revenue athletic departments "had expressed concern that providing unlimited meals could burden them financially" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 4/16). The HARTFORD COURANT reports the new rule "would apply to walk-ons as well as scholarship student-athletes, and is in addition to the meal plan that is included as part of a full scholarship." During the academic year, "so-called training table meals provided by the school are limited to one and are part of the three meals a day" (HARTFORD COURANT, 4/16). Univ. of Oklahoma OL Gabe Ikard said, "This should reduce stress on student-athletes that come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. I believe the most significant part of the rule involves the supplying of meals to walk-on student-athletes" (NEWSOK.com, 4/15). UConn G Shabazz Napier at the Final Four last week said that there "are nights he goes to bed 'starving' because he cannot afford food." In Birmingham, Jon Solomon noted the NCAA proposal had "been in the works well before last week," but Napier's comments "gained widespread traction" (AL.com, 4/15).
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