August 15, 2011
Hoping to correct one of the NCAA rulebook's great injustices, the Big East has proposed a rule change that could go into effect as soon as next August.
No, the conference isn't pushing for more consistent penalties for programs guilty of major violations or a later early entry decision date for potential NBA draft prospects. The Big East simply wants to ensure its student-athletes no longer have to endure post-workout dry mouth as a result of eating complimentary bagels with no spread.
Proposal No. 2011-78 would permit institutions to offer spreads such as "butter, peanut butter, jelly and cream cheese" with bagels they already may provide to student-athletes at any time. It's by far the most inane of the 91 potential rule changes the NCAA legislative council will have to consider next January.
Believe it or not, current NCAA legislation enacted in 2009 only allows schools to provide bagels, fruits and nuts to student-athletes, which means that a complimentary butter or jam packet would be a minor violation. Schools couldn't provide athletes any food except energy bars prior to that rule change.
That the legislative council will spend even a few minutes haggling over cream cheese at a time when there are so many more serious problems facing college athletics is a sign that the NCAA's priorities remain out of whack. It's laughable enough to inspire amateur comedians on Twitter to poke fun at the NCAA's expense yet again on Monday, calling the potential relaxing of anti-bagel spread rules the end of "our long national nightmare" and jokingly asking if Nutella would still be impermissible.
In the NCAA's defense, one of Monday's proposed rule changes was compassionate and long overdue: Proposal 2011-79 would allow an institution to pay expenses for the entire team to be with a teammate after a death or life-threatening incident.
It's such a common sense amendment that it probably shouldn't even need to be in the rule book, but the NCAA's track record suggests logic can't always be taken for granted.
(Thanks, The Bylaw Blog)