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The Daily Tar Heel

Athletic dining services now limited to football

This year, the athletic dining hall changed vendors to Rocky Top Hospitality, which provides football players with a small morning meal, lunch and dinner. During the 2013-14 academic year, the athletic dining hall was open for lunch for all students and for dinner for all student-athletes.

Kevin Best, a spokesman for the football team, said many of the changes to dining services for student-athletes were implemented after the NCAA passed new rules during the off-season.

The new rule was passed after former standout University of Connecticut basketball player Shabazz Napier said he went to bed hungry some nights after practice in April.

The price per person for the morning meal is $6, the lunch price is $13, and dinner is $15, according to documents provided by the University.

The documents said Rocky Top Hospitality does not have a contract with the University; rather, the company provides its services on an as-needed basis.

The new legislation allows the University to provide additional meals beyond the “training table meal,” which was originally the only meal allowed by the NCAA.

The newly adopted policy, which took effect Aug. 1, allows the University to provide meals and snacks that are incidental to s tudent-athletes’ practices and games.

“In the morning, a snack — grab-and-go — is provided to the football student-athletes,” Best said. “This is not a sit-down meal.”

The athletic department had to figure out how to provide the extra meals the NCAA now allows and is responsible for paying for them with money from its own budget.

“The cost of meals and snacks provided as benefits incidental to participation in intercollegiate athletics need not be deducted from a student-athlete’s board allowance,” the approved NCAA rule said.

Senior safety Tim Scott said the change has not distanced him from his friends on other teams.

“During the day, I see people I’m cool with in class, or on the field, if they are my teammates,” he said.

He also said it is convenient for the players since they are always very busy.

“I feel like in football we are always on the go ... it’s a 10-second pickup, and we eat mostly in between classes,” Scott said.

Senior linebacker Jeff Schoettmer said the football team gets its meals from the Kenan Football Center and that all them are mandatory.

He said he is happy with the vendor change this year and thinks that they have done a good job providing meals.

“I think it’s great. The service is friendly, and the food is great,” he said.

Schoettmer reiterated Scott’s sentiments about convenience.

“We can text in our breakfast order ... You can pick it up and take it to go,” Schoettmer said. “It’s all right there for us.”

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