With the infusion of more cash than ever into college football programs, the talk of the stipend has become a hot topic. Personally, I'm a fan of the stipend as the gaps in scholarships and full-cost are a very real thing for many collegiate athletes. Some folks, like fellow YB11 staffer Erin Sorensen, are worried about the little guy affording the measure.
As folks bicker it out and debate about how much and how to portion out the stipend new Arizona head coach, Rich Rodriguez, has something he'd like to see happen immediately; providing meals to the players. As quoted from the Tim Brando Show by the folks over at CoachingSearch.com:
"Let's allow all the schools to give all the athletes meals. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Right now, they get meals, but it comes out of their scholarship check. Let's provide meals on top of the scholarship. Let us feed them breakfast, lunch, and dinner."
"If nothing else, that's an easy solution to help them get through their college careers. And everyone wants to feed them right anyway. I think that's an easier solution than trying to figure out what kind of stipend to give them."
Rich Rodriguez is right and he's wrong. Food should not be THE solution with respect to the stipend and closing the scholarship gaps. However, as things are being sorted out and folks are readying to push the measure through, the food provision is something that most certainly should be embraced.
And folks will laugh it up instead of seeing the point Rich Rod is making. Instead of giving kids 10 meals a week and a meal check if your school has training table OR having the school buy them a meal plan or give cash to start the semester if you don't have training table; Rich Rod wants the schools to be free to cover that cost. That means that money goes back into the athletes pockets. That roughly $2,000 of meals goes into the athletes hands.
Think of it as part of their tuition and the normal, additional cost of food would be that extra cash that we are all looking for a way to give them.
Smart move by a guy that clearly is looking for a way to help out his kids. As a side note, the meal struggle in college is very real. Training table or not, at some point during the semester things start to dry up for a lot of student athletes and whether it is lack of funds or lack of "meal points," going hungry as an athlete is a tough proposition. Especially when you're tasked with adding weight, maintaining weight and burning up calories at a rapid pace.
As someone who has paid for meals for teammates, seeing this idea most certainly excited me. A way for the schools to incur the cost of meals as opposed to the players. A minor shift on the big stage would do wonders on the micro level for people who spend their weekends in the offseason with no training table and pinching pennies of what's left over on the meal check.