The women’s soccer team has reported for pre-season practice at Ocean State University. Because of the extreme heat, the coach would like to provide frozen yogurt and popsicles to her student-athletes as a snack during this pre-season period. Is it permissible for these student-athletes to receive a snack? Is it permissible for the coach to give the student-athletes cash to buy snacks?
Yes, it is permissible to provide the student-athletes with an additional meal during the pre-season. The coach cannot, however, give cash to purchase the snacks. NCAA Bylaw 16.5.2(b) states that the institution may provide the cost of room and board to student-athletes who report for pre-season practice prior to the start of the academic year, it being understood that the student-athlete has been accepted for admission to the institution at the time such benefits are received. Further, an institution, at its discretion, may provide an additional meal (as opposed to the cash equivalent) to student-athletes to meet their nutritional needs as a benefit incidental to participation during the pre-season practice period prior to the start of the academic year.