Beyond Athletics

How College Athletes Eat For Free

(Wikipedia – CxOxS)

Happy Thanksgiving! Gobble gobble.

Thanksgiving has become synonymous with gluttony for a lot of Americans: big, heaping plates of turkey, stuffing, mashed potato, pumpkin pie. Did you hit your macros, brah?

College athletes need to fuel their bodies to train.

What’s funny about thinking of Thanksgiving as a feast is that for a lot of student-athletes, every meal has to be a big one. Remember the headlines Michael Phelps made when he revealed that he ate 12,000 calories a day to train? And, according to dieticians — and likely those of you who swim and know about the sport’s rigors — that caloric intake is not unusual for a competitive swimmer.

Or for a point guard.

After Napier’s interview, the NCAA (which had already been considering its position) changed its rule about the meals Division I schools can provide athletes. Instead of a restriction of three meals or a food stipend, schools offer unlimited meals and snacks (plus the meal plan included in their athletic scholarships).

Back in April, VT Tech coach Frank Beamer told the New York Times that the meal allowance was a huge change for his team, and for the sport in general. “How people treat nutrition and how important it is to the production of your football team.”

The original restriction on feeding athletes, if you’re curious, came in 1991 to try to level the playing field between universities that could afford to give their athletes extravagant feast and those that might not be able to, ESPN’s Ivan Maisel reported.

And student-athletes are benefiting from the rule change, which helps with the grueling workouts and strength training that comes from playing at the next level. “I probably get something our of the refrigerator every time I come in,” IU freshman guard Robert Johnson told IndyStar. “I always make sure I have at least something that’s a little snack, a little bit of fuel for a workout.”

How about you? How do you keep track of how much you should be eating while you train? We’d love to hear from you. Tweet us your thoughts.

And if you have any questions about your nutrition or the recruiting process, we’re always here to help.

Talk to a former college athlete

About the author
Andy McKernan

Andy McKernan is the content strategist at NCSA Athletic Recruiting. A content marketer with a background in creative writing, Andy brings several years of experience to NCSA.