NCAA passes new rule allowing unlimited food to athletes

“There are hungry nights that I go to bed and I’m starving.”

Shabazz Napier, a player on the University of Connecticut basketball team, brought national attention to NCAA rules with this simple sentence during a post-game interview. While he makes thousands of dollars for his university by taking his team to the national championship and is a top NBA prospect, he still is unable to afford and buy the amount of food he needs to eat in order to stay healthy. His interview echoed through the minds of the NCAA, forcing them to look into making a change.

“The meal problem has been around for a long time in college athletics. I think it’s about time the NCAA does something to help accommodate the players who are bringing in thousands of dollars for their schools,” senior commit Noah McGinty said. “This will give the team more incentive to perform at a higher level and work harder, because they know they will be fed afterwards.”

This is not the first time the NCAA rules regarding meal plans for athletes has been put under fire. In 2012, the Collegiate and Professional Sport Dietitians Association made it known to the NCAA that Division One athletes were not receiving the nutrition they need. However, it was not until Napier commented on the subject after he and his team won the national championship when the subject once again received attention.

“Shabazz took one for the team by speaking out against the NCAA and drawing attention to the insufficient meal plans,” senior commit Christian Chapman said. “It’s cool to see an athlete using their influence to bring change to not only their school but division one athletes across the nation.”

Instead of the three meals or food stipend scholarship student-athletes used to receive, this new rule strives to meet the needs of all players on the division one level. The new ruling will provide not only full-scholarship athletes, but also walk-ons and partial-scholarship athletes with unlimited meals and snacks.

“The fact that this will apply to all players is great because there are a lot of sports that aren’t fully funded by the school, so only give partial scholarships to their recruits,” junior commit Katie Beyer said. “This extension of the rule will help to include more players and not have their be scholarship divisions among teammates.”

Alongside this change, other new standards are being passed by the NCAA Board of Directors  in order to maintain stability in all athletes’ lives. These new rules will be implemented Aug. 1 and carry on throughout the next years of college athletics.