A new proposal from the NCAA could soon provide unlimited meals and snacks for student athletes.
Whether or not this move by the NCAA comes as a reaction to UConn’s Most Outstanding Player Shabazz Napier telling reporters that at times he hasn’t been able to afford food and has gone to bed “starving,” it is nevertheless a likely attempt to save face, when the organization has been under fire as athletes continue to come out with claims against it.
As former UCLA athlete Ed O’Bannon continues a class-action lawsuit against the NCAA and a Chicago ruling stated football players at Northwestern University are employees and can unionize, the NCAA has continually been pressured to revise its policies to give more rights and benefits to student athletes — and it should.
Though the new proposal for unlimited meals will go to all athletes, athletes should get more than food in their stomachs.
Athletes get paid only the university’s estimated cost of attendance, including cost of housing and meals. If an athlete is lucky enough to receive a full-ride scholarship, this is only a fraction of the multi-million dollar sports franchise at each university and the billion-dollar enterprise that is the NCAA.
Each year, universities continue to profit off athletics, yet the athletes see next to nothing in return.
According to an article by the Chicago Tribune, football revenue at revenue between 2003 and 2012 totaled $235 million but expenses totaled only $159 million.
Texas, the NCAA school with the highest total revenue, raked in more than $163 million in 2012. Every year, coaches and athletic directors earn hundreds of thousands, if not millions, as employees of top teams around the country.
Meanwhile athletes may only see tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships, if that, to force their bodies to the limit to win a game.
Though there is plenty of concession to arguments that athletes shouldn’t get paid as professional athletes as the NCAA still considers them “amateurs” while in school, there is clear gap between administrators and student athletes, who should receive at least a few pennies more of the profit they work for years to bring into the sport.
It is nice that the NCAA wants to feed athletes a little more, but it would seem almost insulting to think an athlete should take an unlimited meal plan to compensate for pay gap between themselves and the millions of dollars of profit the leaders of athletic corporations receive annually.
Alex Rosenthal is a sophomore majoring in mass communications.