As a follow-up to Friday's post on the demise of the much-maligned bagel rule, we've asked Bylaw Blog author John Infante to walk us through just what happened at the NCAA Convention to eliminate the need for monitoring of cream cheese, and just what might happen next. (If you're wondering how this all became necessary in the first place, Infante's October write-up on the regulation is a thorough primer.)
SI.com: In laypeople's terms, how did we come to be rid of the cream cheese prohibition?
John Infante: The Legislative Council decided to delete the interpretation that says bagels cannot have spreads or toppings. The rule, which allows schools to provide unlimited fruits, nuts and bagels at any time, says nothing about cream cheese, butter, peanut butter, lox, you name it. That means that the NCAA is no longer worried about what is going on bagels. That is, until some football staff decides to set out lunch meats, pizza bagels or grill steaks and serve them to players on half a bagel.
SI.com: What do you see as the future of nutrition regulation?
Infante: It is likely that next January, the Board of Directors will have a proposal in front of them that more or less allows schools to provide unlimited food of any kind to all athletes at any time. At worse, the rule will allow for training table to operate for all three meals, but work under the current training table rule, where it essentially functions like a university dining hall just for athletes (i.e. they pay for the food or it comes out of their scholarship board allowance). But that will be one of the most hotly contested rules because it is seen as a massive competitive advantage, especially if we get into private chefs, lavish facilities, gourmet meals, etc. The idea of having to host a surf-and-turf buffet every night in a facility that would need to built is a tough ask for a lot of schools. So exactly what this proposal will look like and how vigorous the fight over it are remains to be seen. And right about now is when we start wishing for Houston Nutt to get back into college coaching already, because if you think the possibility of an ice sculpture of Houston Nutt in the middle of just such a surf-and-turf buffet isn't an inevitability, somewhere, you're not having enough fun with this sport.