The provision is in addition to the meal plan provided as part of a full scholarship. Prior to the change, scholarship student-athletes received three meals a day or a food stipend.
“Today, we took action to provide meals to student-athletes incidental to participation,” said Mary Mulvenna, chair of the legislative council and associate commissioner of the America East Conference. “I think the end result is right where it needs to be.”
No action is considered final until the Division I board of directors meets April 24.
The NCAA has been working to find appropriate ways to ensure student-athletes get the nutrition they need without jeopardizing Pell Grants or other federal aid received by the neediest student-athletes. With their vote, members of the council said they believe that loosening NCAA rules on what and when food may be provided from athletics departments is the best way to address the issue.
Although the NCAA has been discussing the changes to its meals rules for months, the topic generated buzz after Shabazz Napier, a basketball player for the Univ. of Connecticut, told reporters covering the NCAA tournament that he sometimes goes to bed “starving” because he can’t afford food. Napier was named the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Final Four following his team’s 60-54 victory over the Kentucky Wildcats.