Remember cost of attendance and unlimited training tables? The topic of conversation from two off-seasons ago is now a daily reality of major college football, and the world continues to spin on its axis as it did 18 months ago. Up is still up, down is still down, and dogs and cats still do not live together.
The financial particulars of the new policies are not often put out for public review, but on Thursday we got a peek under the hood at how much Rutgers spent to feed its athletes.
Thanks to NJ Advance Media, we know the Scarlet Knights' scholarship costs rose from $11.31 million in 2014-15 to $12.89 million in 2015-16. That $1.58 million increase was twice the rate of increase of the rest of the athletics department.
Football also far outpaced the rest of department in food costs.
The Scarlet Knights spent $1.37 million on all non-travel meals for the most recent year available -- which accounts for 85 percent of the entire athletics department's non-travel meals budget. Men's and women's basketball don't reach $100,000 combined. Women's rowing? $26,000. Men's lacrosse? $16,000. The list goes down from there, all the way down to the $204 spent on men's golf.
So, what's the explanation for this? Obviously football has a larger roster than any other sport. It could be a policy of the bean counters. Or, it could be that Rutgers tells its golfers, swimmers, tennis players and the like to eat like regular students for most of their meals while the football players, well, don't.
Chris Ash made nutrition a major emphasis upon his arrival to Rutgers, installing a 24-hour snack stand and hiring a full-time nutritionist solely for the football team.
"Either they were overweight very badly or very underweight," strength coach Kenny Parker told the site. "That's why we put in the 24 hours having food available. For what we ask these kids to do, they have to be able to eat. These kids don't have time to work. They have tutoring, they have football, they go school, practice: When are they going to have time and make money? The best thing we can do is supply them as much food as we can - not breaking rules, of course - so they don't have to worry about their next meal."