The last thing you want to hear after a 3-hour tennis practice is that the cafeteria closes in 30 minutes. So by the time you finish practice, you have to skip stretching and risk having sore muscles, or worse, injuries, and run over to the campus cafeteria with a 20 pound racquet bag on your back
, and you pull open the door, hand your student ID over to be swiped at the cashier, and run to the food only to find they're already putting it away. This was one of my biggest struggles as a student-athlete in college: getting enough food.
Often the cafeteria would close at 6:30 and practice was until 6, so by the time I got there, the food was picked over and/or being put away. A lot of times, I ended up just making myself a PB/honey/banana sandwich or two, grabbing a few apples on the way out, and finishing it in my room. After 3 hours of tennis and conditioning, this was certainly not the ideal meal. Even when I ate 3 meals a day, I often had to supplement with more food I had stored in my room (Lara bars, oatmeal, fruits, etc.).
All of this is about to change though; on Tuesday, the NCAA announced the removal of meal and snack restrictions for NCAA Division 1 student-athletes. The move was sparked by Connecticut guard Shabazz Napier who complained during the Final Four tournament that he sometimes went to bed "starving:"
I feel like a student athlete. Sometimes, there’s hungry nights where I’m not able to eat, but I still gotta play up to my capabilities. I don’t see myself as so much of an employee, but when you see your jersey getting sold, it may not have your last name on it, but when you see your jersey getting sold, to some credit, you feel like you want something in return…There are hungry nights when I go to bed and I’m starving.
Keeping athletes well-fed is a priority, but so is making sure that food is healthy food. Eating unlimited hamburgers and hotdogs will hinder performance and recovery. From my own experience, I vied tirelessly for better options at the campus cafeterias, and eventually they listened. Athletes are playing a sport at a high level and need a lot of calories, but it is all about quality, not quantity.
The NCAA's decision to have unlimited meal and snacks for student-athletes is a move in the right direction, but will their new legislation eventually include Division II and Division III schools?
Share with us your thoughts on the new legislation by commenting below!
Source: Fox News