'Starving' UConn Player Has 'Unlimited Access' to Food

By Eric Scheiner | April 7, 2014 | 3:16pm EDT

Shabazz Napier, UConn (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) University of Connecticut basketball guard Shabazz Napier says sometimes there’s “hungry nights that we don’t have enough money to get food.”

But all students have “unlimited access” to resident dining units that offer "all-you-care-to-eat."

“We are definitely best to get a scholarship to our universities, but at the end of the day, that doesn't cover everything. We do have hungry nights that we don't have enough money to get food and sometimes money is needed," Napier told Fox Sports while discussing the National Labor Relations Board ruling that athletes from Northwestern can unionize.

Napier said he understands why some athletes need a union. “Like I said, there are hungry nights that I go to bed and I am starving. So something can change, something should change.”

According to the UConn Student-Athlete Handbook, unlimited access to dining halls is available for students with a meal plan, even for those who live-off campus.

Dennis Pierce, director of Food Services at UConn, tells CNSNews.com that any student-athlete would have the option of choosing from a series of dining services (unlimited, value and custom), but all offer unlimited access during operating hours.

The dining services website for the university notes that “all residence dining units are all-you-care-to-eat facilities.”

Pierce says dining services are often altered to accommodate the schedule of athletic teams, “I’d like to say we feed them something special that helps them win, but that’s not the case.”

“All resident students living in undergraduate and graduate housing are required to have a meal plan. Students living in on-campus apartments are not required to have a meal plan. There are three available resident meal plans to choose,” according to the dining services website.

The UConn Student-Athlete Handbook says, “If you live off campus and your grant-in-aid includes meals, you may use your stipend to purchase an on-campus meal plan, if you wish. This will entitle you to eat in any of the facilities. If, however, your coach requires that you eat on campus, you must go to Dining Services to sign up for a meal plan.”

“You can eat in any residence hall. Dining Hall hours vary with service hours of 7:00 – 10:40 am (B), 10:40 – 2:15 pm (L), 4:15 – 7:15 pm (D). Your coach will acquaint you with eating arrangements should he or she schedule an early practice which occurs during breakfast hours.”

CNSNews.com contacted the office of the UConn University Spokesperson for additional details on student athlete grant-in-aid that Napier may have available for dining services. There was no reply at the time of this publication.

UPDATE: April 8, 2014 3:08pm

CNSNews.com received an e-mail from Phil Chardis, the Assistant Director of Athletic Communications at UConn saying, "Shabazz Napier, like all our scholarship athletes, is provided the maximum meal plan that is allowable under NCAA rules.

UConn does not have a cafeteria devoted specifically to student-athletes, but they have access to the same cafeterias which are available to all our students."

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