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College Football's Last Frontier: Better Food

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The Wall Street Journal has a great story on the advancements of the "training table" and how the top programs are using it to gain an competitive edge by ensuring players follow an optimum nutrition plan. One interesting aspect of this development is how the use of the training table is now a commonly accepted practice. At one time, it was seen as just one more symptom of a corrupt sport run amok. Tales of schools providing steaks and beer to lure athletes to play on their teams abounded in the early era of the sport. Even without excesses the training table was a major asset for top programs. In 1893 the single largest portion of Harvard's $18,750 football budget was for the training table - almost $3,500. The 1929 report by the Carnegie Foundation into the growing concerns of excesses involving college athletics specifically listed the training table as a policy abused by schools and controversy dogged the practice for decades. Today, the NCAA allows each institution to provide, as part of an athletic scholarship, sufficient funds to cover three meals each day including one meal served by the athletic department training table to student-athletes receiving aid. And, on occasion, schools still fall afoul with the training table regulations. For a fantastic breakdown of the NCAA regulations covering the training table, SB Nation site covering all things Clemson, Shaking the Southland, discussed it exhaustively in a post last year.

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