Amid Criticism, NCAA Got It Right With Unlimited Meals

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The NCAA has taken a beating in the court of public opinion over the last few months–much of it deserved, some of it not. But with animus against college sports’ governing body reaching a fever pitch this football offseason, one of the organization’s best moves in decades was enacted to little recognition from media outlets.

Athletic programs, however, are taking full advantage of unlimited meals, which the NCAA approved in April.

Matt Lewis, director of operations for TCU football, tweeted the below photo of Horned Frogs players receiving In-N-Out hamburgers on Wednesday.

Big 12 rival Oklahoma announced last week that Sooners athletes would have food trucks waiting for them outside athletic facilities.

Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione explained the idea to ESPN.com:

We don’t have facilities in all the places they would need to be, so the idea is to have a mobile fueling station and perhaps some additional trailers that have refrigeration capabilities that can operate as a prep kitchen of sorts.”

It’s not Nick Saban’s preferred Little Debbie oatmeal cakes, but the Alabama Crimson Tide enjoyed ice cream after practice this week. Tight end O.J. Howard shared a shot:

Unlimited meals were dismissed as minor by some NCAA naysayers. More accurately put, the new rule on athletic programs feeding athletes was long overdue.

But the reform is noteworthy. Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez stressed in 2013 that it was the No. 1 change he wanted to see from the NCAA.

Connecticut basketball star guard Shabazz Napier drew attention to the issue of student-athlete meal plans at last spring’s Final Four, just one week before the unlimited meals rule was passed.

The NCAA does very little, if anything, to garner universal praise. But allowing unlimited meals is one such anomaly, and it’s great to see athletic programs take advantage.