Editorial: NCAA makes moves in the right direction

Editorial Board

The NCAA was under fire after Final Four most outstanding player Shabazz Napier claimed to be going to bed at night “starving.” The regulations that stood for the NCAA meal plans for athletes were that Division I athletes on scholarship would get three meals a day on a meal plan. Although this was the largest meal plan available to students, with all of the work athletes put in during the day, it wasn’t enough to keep them from being hungry at the end of the night. NCAA is ready to take steps to change that for athletes in the 2014-2015 school year.

If the plan is implemented, student athletes will have unlimited meals at the dining center and unlimited snacks. The best part of this plan is that walk-on athletes will be included in the meal plan. As of right now, the gold meal plans are only free to athletes who are on scholarship. That means that at the end of the night when the team goes to dinner, the walk-on athletes have to go home and make food for themselves unless they purchase a meal plan of their own.

It is good to see the NCAA make plans to start taking better care of the athletes that are not on scholarship. It seems that in the past they tend to be overlooked, but they are putting in just as many hours in classes and on the field. It should only be assumed that all of the athletes on the team will be given the same perks. 

Meals are not the only areas where the NCAA will be making changes in the upcoming seasons. There will now be a CPR-certified staff member present for all forms of training, and strength and conditioning coaches will now be required to have accreditation. There will be a reduced penalty for a street-drug test; lastly, there will be a required three hours of rest between practices.

These new plans will hopefully help athletes to perform at their best. If athletes have full stomachs and time to rest between practices during the day, there is a better chance that when it game time arrives, they will be feeling healthy and ready to play. After all, college athletes bring a lot of money to the school’s athletic department, and players deserve to be taken care of in return, no matter if they are a walk-on or on scholarship. 

The NCAA has been under a lot of pressure lately to start paying athletes, but rather than paying them they are possibly doing something better. By feeding the team, it makes any food that they would normally have to buy outside of meals free. Athletes won’t need to be paid if they have nearly nothing that they have to pay for. If the NCAA did decide to pay athletes, it would most likely only be athletes on scholarship while the whole team will be fed and no one will be going hungry with the new plan. 

The NCAA gets a lot of flack, but it seems that it is moving in the right direction and, in this case, deserves some praise. It is nice to see that it is making plans to better the health and performance of Division I athletes across the nation. After all, nobody should have to go to bed hungry.