The NCAA rule allowing student-athletes to receive unlimited meals and snacks went into effect on August 1. Less than a week later, Oklahoma has already come up with a creative way to implement the new rule.
According to ESPN.com, the Sooners will begin using a food truck to make sure athletes have access to food when they want it.
“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,” Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione told ESPN.
Castiglione said that the truck is more of a way to satisfy the needs of the school’s athletes as opposed to trying to one-up other universities. He said the main thing the new rule provides is “flexibility.”
“It’s now so flexible that schools can provide full meals to athletes at any time and there will be some schools that will undoubtedly push that envelope,” Castiglione said. “The next thing people will be doing is a comparative analysis for recruiting as to what schools offer more.”
This rule change comes at a pretty serious cost to universities. Castiglione said that Oklahoma will spend “about $1 million” to offer a wider selection. Additionally, the new rule applies to walk-ons, too, so there are more mouths for the schools to feed.
Other schools are following suit in terms of budget. Colorado athletic director Rick George told the Denver Post that the school has budgeted “$800,000 to $1 million” to hire a sports dietician and provide the additional food.
Colorado State head coach Jim McElwain said that with how many calories student-athletes burn, providing an extra meal is “huge.”
“We’re going to be able to get these guys some extra meals,” McElwain told the Post. “What happens is, especially in season, they have to hustle over to try to get something to eat and now we’re going to be able to make sure they at least get a snack.”
It seems like more than anything, schools are kind of in a trial-and-error phase with the unlimited meals. It will take time to figure out the best method is moving forward. Oklahoma’s food truck is just one of many methods we’ll see over the course of the season and beyond.
For more Oklahoma news, visit SoonerScoop.com.
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