Eight days after Connecticut basketball star Shabazz Napier said during the Final Four that he sometimes went to bed “starving” because he couldn’t afford food, the NCAA’s legislative council approved a proposal that would allow Division I schools to give their athletes unlimited meals and snacks.
The measure still has to go through the board of directors, which will meet on April 24. The Associated Press reported that Napier’s comments gave the proposal a push, but that it had already been debated for months.
Previously, schools provided either three meals a day or a stipend for those meals, and both were only for scholarship athletes. The proposal allows walk-ons the same privileges as the other athletes.
The committee approved a few other measures also. They reduced the penalty for positive drug tests (only if the substance proves to be something other than a performance-enhancing drug) from a sitting for a full season to half of one in hopes that schools would provide more rehab services.
Others include requiring football players get at least a three-hour break between practice sessions, requiring a school staff member who is CPR, first aid and arterial external defibrillation certified to be present at physical athletic events, and requiring strength and conditioning coaches to be certified by a nationally accredited organization.