His on-court skills have generated a lot of money, but University of Connecticut basketball player Shabazz Napier says there are nights he can't afford food.
Speaking to reporters late last month, the point guard reflected on the relationship between student athletes and the schools they attend. He then offered up a startling example of disconnect between the two.
"We're definitely blessed to get scholarships to our universities, but at the end of the day, that doesn't cover everything," Napier told a group of reporters, adding later in the conversation, "I don't think student athletes should get hundreds of thousands of dollars, but ... there are hungry nights that I go to bed and I'm starving."
In an email to The Huffington Post, a University of Connecticut spokesman said all of the school's scholarship athletes, including Napier, receive the maximum meal plan allowed under NCAA rules.
"UConn does not have a cafeteria devoted specifically to student-athletes," he added, "but they have access to the same cafeterias which are available to all our students."
Napier's comments come shortly after the National Labor Relations Board endorsed Northwestern University football players looking to unionize.
“The players spend 50 to 60 hours per week on their football duties during a one-month training camp prior to the start of the academic year and an additional 40 to 50 hours per week on those duties during the three or four month football season,” a copy of the NLRB ruling explains. “Not only is this more hours than many undisputed full-time employees work at their jobs, it is also many more hours than the players spend on their studies.”
On Sunday, NCAA president Mark Emmert called the effort "a grossly inappropriate solution to the problems" that exist in intercollegiate athletics. He said a "union-employee model" would "throw away the entire collegiate model for athletics."