NCAA Deregulation of Feeding

The NCAA’s decision in April 2014 to lift feeding restrictions on Division I college athletes was decades in the making. The seeds of the Collegiate and Professional Sports Dietitians Association were formed in 2009 to help speed things along, and by all accounts, CPSDA did just that. Read the full timeline of events in leading to the rule change.

Throughout the process, CPSDA members provided a strong and unified voice in acquainting key stakeholders on the importance of feeding student-athletes. CPSDA recognized that food deregulation would allow institutions to properly nourish student-athletes to help ensure their health and to enhance their athletic and academic performance.

The CPSDA Board of Directors worked with NCAA policymakers to recommended a new standard feeding protocol for athletes at all levels of participation.

Outcomes from NCAA Deregulation of Feeding 

A survey conducted by CPSDA assessed budget changes, staffing changes and overall athlete perception after the NCAA deregulation of feeding.

  • Since the NCAA announced on April 15, 2014 that meal restrictions would be lifted at all 345 Division I schools effective August 1, 2014, 15 schools hired their first full-time sports dietitian and four other schools promoted their part-time sports dietitian to full-time employment.
  • On average, Division I schools were feeding 368 athletes before deregulation; afterward, they fed an average of 569 athletes, which essentially constitutes all athletes in the typical NCAA Division I athletic program within the Power 5 conferences.
  • 81 percent of the 31 sports dietitians surveyed said they’re working more hours per week in the 2014-15 school year (the year since meal restrictions were lifted); 36 percent are working at least 15 or more hours per week.
  • When asked to rate on a scale of 1 to 10 how athletes seemed to be receiving the newly expanded meal offerings (10 being highest), sports dietitians said athletes would rate improvement by an average score of 8.0.
  • All but one of 23 schools that provided year-to-year food budget comparisons (2013-14 school year compared to 2014-15) saw their overall food budgets increase by an average of 145%. The average athletic program food budget prior to deregulation was $534,130 per school; since meal restrictions were lifted August 1, 2014, the average food budget has increased to $1.308 million, based on 23 of the surveyed schools that provided data.

Questions? Contact Amy Freel, Executive Director at [email protected]