Here's a scene that will soon pop up more frequently on college campuses across America:
Texas Tech is the first Big 12 institution to provide a food truck on campus, and it looks like Oklahoma will soon be the second. But while Texas Tech provides its food trucks in an effort to meet the needs of its student body, Oklahoma's food truck will be to capitalize on a new rule that went into effect August 1 allowing athletics departments to feed their athletes unlimited meals and snacks around the clock.
"We don't have facilities in all the places they would need to be, so the idea is to have a mobile fueling station and perhaps some additional trailers that have refrigeration capabilities that can operate as a prep kitchen of sorts," Oklahoma athletics director Joe Castiglione told ESPN.
Filling the empty stomachs of hungry athletes comes at a not insignificant cost. Castiglione estimates OU will spend $1 million this academic year, and that figure will likely rise as schools begin the never-ending game of upping the ante on one another, as we've all seen them do in recruiting, staff salaries and in building new facilities.
"I realize the idea was to give institutions the flexibility to do what they want within their means," Castiglione said. "But it's now so flexible that schools can provide full meals to athletes at any time and there will be some schools that will undoubtedly push that envelope. The next thing people will be doing is a comparative analysis for recruiting as to what schools offer more."
Oklahoma's food truck idea is a creative idea to cut costs, but it creates a potentially awkward scenario for those students not blessed with an athletic scholarship.
Can you imagine being an unassuming freshman, one that does not keep up with NCAA jurisprudence, seeing your fellow classmates get free bagels and Gatorade rained down upon them.
"Um, yes. I'd like an Arctic Blast Gatorade, please."
"Sorry, Jimmy, we've seen you work out. You can't bench press a notecard. Run along now."