Application of NCAA Division I Proposal No. 2013-31-B (Awards, Benefits and Expenses -- Meals and Snacks Incidental to Participation) (I)
NCAA Division I member institutions are reminded that beginning August 1, 2014, an institution is permitted to provide meals and snacks to student-athletes as a benefit incidental to participation in intercollegiate athletics. The following information is designed to assist institutions with the application of the legislation.
Since the adoption of Proposal No. 2013-31-B, the NCAA national office has received numerous questions from the membership regarding the application of the new legislation. More specifically, given that the legislation provides institutions the discretion to provide all student-athletes (scholarship and nonscholarship) with meals and snacks incidental to participation, questions have arisen concerning the impact on financial aid legislation and the meaning of "incidental to participation." Consistent with the deregulatory nature of this rule change and recognizing the uniqueness of institutional meal plans and polices, institutions and conferences have the discretion to provide student-athletes other meals or snacks as they deem appropriate and consistent with institutional policies and financial aid regulations. As adopted, the legislation does not permit institutions to avoid applying the financial aid legislation. For example, meals and snacks provided as benefits incidental to participation in intercollegiate athletics are not intended to replace meals that would normally be provided through a dining plan or an off-campus board stipend.
The Division I membership will have the opportunity to examine the various outcomes of this new legislation through the new governance model. Lastly, similar to the deregulation that occurred as part of the NCAA Working Group on Collegiate Model - Rules process in the area of student-athlete benefits, the membership should be assured that exercising the discretion described above to provide meals or snacks to student-athletes will not result in second-guessing by the NCAA staff.
[References: NCAA Division I Bylaws 126.96.36.199 (off-campus room and board stipend), 16.5 (housing and meals) and 16.11 (benefits, gifts and services)]