OU Director of Sports Nutrition Tiffany Byrd is excited about the rules which went into effect Aug. 1 allowing both scholarship athletes and walk-ons—in any sport—unlimited meals and snacks.
Byrd said Tuesday one of the next steps the athletics program could take as they figure out how to manage feeding the athletes across campus is the addition of a food truck to take meals to the athletes.
“We actually are looking into a food truck,” Byrd said. “That was actually our athletic director, Joe Castiglione’s idea. We are probably going to have one for an enhanced fueling station. But we really have three prongs here at OU when it comes to the deregulation for the feeding.”
Byrd listed the three as an unlimited meal plan in Headington Hall and Wagner Hall, enhanced fueling stations on the south campus next to Lloyd Noble Center and under the football stadium and locker room recovery stations.
The fueling stations, Byrd said, are like a “smoothie/sandwich shop,” where athletes can get fresh fruit, hummus and other healthy, fresh lunch options.
“Lunch is a huge issue around the nation for college,” Byrd said. “Think about when most of the practices are. They get up in the morning and they condition. Then they go to class and come back and they train with their actual sport afterward. Lunch is a very common missed meal. So we made sure our hours accommodated our lunch meal.”
Locker room nutritional recovery in the past has provided mostly just protein bars, fruit and chocolate milk. Byrd said those offerings would be expanded to include less processed foods.
Byrd said football was a unique challenge because of the number of athletes she has to feed and their hefty nutritional requirements.
“They require more,” Byrd said. “There’s a lot more of them. And budget.”
It always comes down to money. Byrd said while the budget was still being handled, the price tag figures to be hefty.
When the changes were announced, Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said it would cost athletic departments around $1 million per year.
“At least, yes,” Byrd said.