INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- The NCAA's Legislative Council approved a proposal Tuesday to expand the meal allowance for all athletes.
The move occurred eight days after Connecticut guard Shabazz Napier
complained during the Final Four that he sometimes went to bed
"starving" because he couldn't afford food.
The proposal would allow Division I schools to provide unlimited
meals and snacks to all athletes, including walk-ons. The measure still
must be approved by the board of directors, which meets April 24.
"I think the end result is right where it needs to be," committee
chairwoman and America East assistant commissioner Mary Mulvenna said in
a statement released by the governing body.
The proposal has been debated for months, but Napier's comments
following last week's national championship game brought attention to
the topic. Napier was named the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA
tournament, leading Connecticut to its fourth men's title.
Schools have been allowed to provide three meals per day or a stipend
for those meals to scholarship athletes. The new rule would allow
walk-ons to receive the same allowances and would allow schools to
provide more meals and snacks, too.
The committee also approved a measure that would reduce the penalty
for a first positive drug test -- if the banned substance is determined
to be something other than a performance-enhancing drug. Currently,
players who fail the test during NCAA tournaments must sit out one full
season. The proposal would cut the penalty to half a season.
Committee members said they hope the change will encourage schools to provide more rehab services.
The NCAA only tests during its championship events, though schools can implement its own drug tests throughout the school year.
In other moves, the committee approved:
--A measure requiring football players to get a three-hour break
between preseason practices. Film sessions and team meetings still could
be held during the break;
--require a school staff member who is certified in CPR, first aid
and arterial external defibrillation to be present at all physical,
countable athletic activities;
--and require strength and conditioning coaches to be certified by a nationally accredited certification organization.
If approved, the proposals, except the one regarding strength and
conditioning coaches, would take effect Aug. 1. The committee has
recommended giving strength and conditioning coaches until Aug. 1, 2015,
to complete their certification.