NCAA passes meager reform

The NCAA moved faster than usual last week on an issue of little importance, which raises questions.

The NCAA Division I Board of Directors moved last Thursday to allow universities to provide unlimited meals and snacks to student-athletes.

The decision closely follows the comments of University of Connecticut basketball star Shabazz Napier, who said student-athletes sometimes have “hungry nights” when players “don’t have enough money to get food in.”

NCAA rules prior to the change only allowed schools to provide student-athletes three meals per day or a food stipend. Universities could only provide meals to students with athletic scholarships, but the NCAA’s rule change now includes walk-on athletes, too.

NCAA President Mark Emmert said on ESPN’s “Mike & Mike” show that Napier’s comments have no connection with the NCAA’s proposal, and the change had been in the works for a while.

We are curious if there are any other rule changes or reforms in the works within the confines of NCAA headquarters. The Board of Directors moved uncharacteristically fast, and for an issue that had apparently been in the works for a while, they proposed and passed the change rather quickly.

The NCAA changed its rules last Thursday in an effort to improve the health of student-athletes. While they’re at it, we have proposed a couple of additional reforms we believe the NCAA should put in place.

For example, it should create a specific policy for how teams ought to deal with head injuries, and it should penalize teams that don’t enforce them. The NCAA should also guarantee the scholarships and medical coverage of injured student-athletes.

It appears that public comments from star athletes like Napier are the only thing that can spur change in the NCAA. If that’s the case, we hope more student-athletes bring up other important health concerns.