Is the NCAA actually loosening up?
It seems that way as the notoriously stringent league’s Legislative Council announced Tuesday that Division I student-athletes on scholarship, as well as walk-ons, can receive unlimited meals and snacks.
“Today we took action to provide meals to student-athletes incidental to participation,” said council chair Mary Mulveena to reporters, including the Sporting News. “I think the end result is right where it needs to be.”
The NCAA Division I Board of Directors will meet next Thursday, April 24, when the move is largely expected to be cemented.
The NCAA meal plan for Division I athletes made headlines during this past NCAA Tournament when University of Connecticut senior guard Shabazz Napier told reporters, “We’re definitely blessed to get scholarships to our universities, but at the end of the day, that doesn’t cover everything. We do have hungry nights when we don’t have enough money to get food and sometimes money is needed.”
Kentucky coach John Calipari also mocked the NCAA’s meal plans in his new book, Players First: Coaching From the Inside Out.
"Is the NCAA afraid we're going to make them fat?” Calipari writes. “Give them too much ice cream and chocolate cake? The whole thing really defies sanity."
The NCAA insists that it had been discussing making changes to its meals rules for months and Tuesday’s decision wasn’t a trigger reaction to Napier’s comments. Previously, NCAA athletes were provided three meals per day or a food stipend, which many, like Napier, thought just wasn’t enough.
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(Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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