NORMAN, OK – Oklahoma has found a creative way to make sure it complies with the new NCAA rule that allows athletes to receive unlimited snacks: a food truck. Athletes
Sooners athletic director Joe Castiglione told ESPN.com that the vehicle the school is in the process of purchasing will serve as a solution to make sure athletes can get what they want 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,” Castiglione said.
Castiglione stresses that the truck is “not about largesse or excessiveness” and more about “putting ingenuity to work,” but does say that he fears the new rule will create an unnecessary competition of sorts.
“I realize the idea was to give institutions the flexibility to do what they want within their means,” Castiglione said. “But 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. The next thing people will be doing is a comparative analysis for recruiting as to what schools offer more.”
Castiglione said the food truck and perhaps trailers will not be on demand. They will set up in places that ideally can service the most athletes at a given time.
In April, the NCAA legislative council approved unlimited meals and snacks to athletes, a far cry from the former legislation that prohibited schools from giving its athletes extras like cream cheese for their bagels.
While Castiglione said he appreciates the NCAA’s willingness to change, it has come at a great financial cost to schools. Oklahoma, he said, will spend about $1 million to provide a wider selection of food offerings beyond the typical granola bars and Gatorade that had been standard and to staff the areas where the more extensive selection is housed.
Costs also rise because walk-ons were not previously eligible for meals but are eligible for snacks.
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