In the early 1980s, I went to a small private high school in Wisconsin. Very small. Total enrollment my senior year was 82, with only 20 in my graduating class.
Because of our lack of size, we did not get fancy meals after our athletic events like the big public schools. In fact, we were lucky to get anything at all.
I thought this kind of low-budget thing happened only in high school, but it also apparently now happens in Division I NCAA college football. According to ESPN.com, New Mexico State’s budget-conscious football staff distributed an e-mail this week asking fans to donate after-practice or late-night snacks for hungry players.
Meanwhile, the fans have responded. “It’s good stuff like trail mix or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches,” Aggies linebacker Jamar Cotton commented. “We had a guy bring in a bunch of watermelons. That was great. The team was excited.”
A decrease in funding led to this decision, but coach DeWayne Walker says that you shouldn’t feel sorry for his team. “Everyone’s taking cuts,” he said. “I don’t want anybody to read into it that we’re the poorest program in the country. We’re not. And we’re not the only mid-level school that has to go through these kinds of issues.”
Is this a violation of NCAA rules? I’m not sure. On one hand, they have to eat. On the other hand, it is like accepting gifts from team boosters. I don’t think I like this, because this is another avenue in which people with bad intentions can take advantage of the situation.