Division II Schools Discuss NCAA Student Meal Policy - WBOY - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Division II Schools Discuss NCAA Student Meal Policy

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FAIRMONT -  A University of Connecticut basketball player told reporters he sometimes goes to bed starving because he can't afford food.

This is despite the university's student-athlete guidelines that include provisions for meal plans.  "Sometimes there are hungry nights when I'm not able to eat but I still have to play up to my capabilities," Shabazz Napier said.

This one sentence from Shabazz Napier changed the way everyone looked at student athletes.  All of the sudden they weren't the "kids who had it all". They were your average college student.

"A lot of people are talking about it and they wouldn't have been otherwise if you waited for what we considered the proper moment," ESPN's Jay Bilas said in an interview with YESNetwork.

When it comes to Division I and Division II schools, there are a lot of differences.  But one thing is the same; food can be expensive.  "Division I athletes in large part are fully funded as far as scholarships. So their food package would be included in their scholarship. Here at Fairmont State at the Division II level it's a little different. Not every athlete is on full scholarship," said Tim McNeely, Fairmont State Director of Athletics.

So when it comes to food, many Division II athletes are in the same boat as other students.  "A lot of our student athletes are just like the rest of the student population. They have to eat and their parents have to supplement their dining," McNeely said.

Fairmont State found its own way to make sure no student goes to bed hungry. It opened up 'The Nest', a student food bank, in the fall of 2012.  "All of the coaches know that we have the food bank program on campus," McNeely said. "To what extent they utilize that, I'm not sure. But I know it's available and if any student, whether it's a student athlete or not, has a need we try to direct them to 'The Nest'."

The NCAA voted last week to change the rules about food and how much can go to a student athlete.  The vote could impact thousands of athletes across the country.
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