The NCAA’s new food policy will allow student-athletes across the nation to receive unlimited meals and snacks from their respective school’s athletic department. Recently, UNC Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham and Head Football Coach Larry Fedora weighed in on the subject.
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“It’s definitely changed over the years. We have two full-time nutritionists here. One works entirely with our football team. I think it’s one of the last frontiers that haven’t been fully tapped yet,” Coach Fedora says.
Coach Fedora says sports nutrition is an area he’s looking to focus on more in the future and is encouraged by the NCAA choosing to loosen its restrictions on athletic department food provisions.
On the other hand, Cunningham says the new policy will take away an invaluable aspect of the college experience.
“You wouldn’t have a real college experience if you don’t have to boil Ramen noodles at some point. Every college student has to do that,” Cunningham says.
Joking aside, Cunningham says he’s worried about the feasibility of allowing schools to provide unlimited meal plans for their student-athletes. He says he thought the policy opens up the possibility of over-the-top midnight buffets and excessive snacking.
Cunningham also worries that only the elite athletic programs will be able to foot the projected $1.5 million bill for the unlimited food access. He hopes to have a chance to sit down with the NCAA and restructure the policy.
“We have to allocate our resources based on the priorities. I worry about legislation that is really permissive. Whatever it costs us, it’s going to cost Texas half as much. They have half as many students. I really believe we need to go back as an association and talk about what it means to have a broad-based program today,” Cunningham says.
Coach Fedora echoes some of Cunningham’s concerns, but in total, the Carolina skipper says he’s happy with the new step by the NCAA.
“I think the reforms the NCAA is proposing are good. I don’t know if it’s completely thought out, the cost involved or how it’s all going to take place, but I do definitely think it’s a good thing,” Coach Fedora says.
The athletic department buffet lines, which will be open to all athletes, even those not on scholarships, are set to open for business starting Aug. 1.