NCAA prez Emmert: Food rule was ‘absurd’

NCAA president Mark Emmert said Friday that he was happy to take pressure off his organization and its member schools as the governing body's legislative council voted earlier this week to eliminate all previous restrictions on food for athletes.

"The biggest problem was, the NCAA has historically had all kinds of, I don't know how to describe it [except to say] dumb rules about food," Emmert said on ESPN Radio's "Mike & Mike" show. "The infamous one is you can provide between meals a snack, but you can't provide a meal. Well, then you got to define what's the difference between a snack and a meal? So it was literally the case that a bagel was defined as a snack – unless you put cream cheese on it. Now it becomes a meal. That's absurd."

Emmert went on to say that "if UConn wants to feed Shabazz [Napier] breakfast in bed every day they can," but he made a point of saying that the new rules weren't brought about because of the Huskies guard's recent comments that sometimes he went to bed "starving."

The problem wasn't an issue only for schools, it was a burden on the NCAA, as well.

"We wind up having to enforce the stupid rule, which means you have to have someone watching if someone is putting cream cheese on a bagel," Emmert said.

Emmert told ESPN.com that if the deregulation of food gives some schools advantages over other schools, so be it.

"The notion that schools might compete by offering better quality food, that's not inherently a bad thing," Emmert said. "So let's compete over who can provide the best nutrition for a student-athlete. We compete over who can give them the best locker room. I'd rather they compete over who can give them the best nutrition. So will there be competition around that, I'm sure there will be, but I don't think that's a bad thing."

Next week, Northwestern football players will vote on whether to form a union. For his part, Emmert said, "Most of the things that I saw Northwestern athletes asking for are either in place or on their way to being in place."

One issue brought up by former Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter in his hearing with the National Labor Relations Board was the idea of completely covering medical expenses. Emmert said the NCAA spends $20 million a year on premiums to cover a long-term disability insurance policy for athletes. The NCAA policy has covered some former athletes who were permanently disabled on the field of play during their college years for at least 20 years.

Emmert said that 2014 will be a year of progress, as he expects the NCAA to approve a measure that will cover the gap between a scholarship and the full cost of attendance. Emmert also said a vote will take place next week on a rule that will tack on an extra year at the end of the eligibility of a player who transfers and immediately has to sit out a season.

"You don't want to be punitive to an athlete who makes a change, obviously, but you don't want to have coaches recruiting people off other people's benches," Emmert said.

As the pressure mounts on the NCAA, with lawsuits and potential unionization of the Northwestern players, Emmert told ESPN.com he hopes the current model will survive.

"The reality is that the model serves more than a half a million students every year very well," Emmert said. "It produces $2.7 billion in scholarship support. Are there things we need to fix? You bet there are. But you don't throw that baby out with the bathwater. We have to find ways to change and improve without ruining that successful model.

"It's far too easy to look at this huge top-line revenue number and say 'Everyone is making money,' when the reality is that that top-line number supports a half a million kids."

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Rummenigge: 250 million euros for Messi is absurd

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Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has dominated out a move for Barcelona attacker Lionel Messi as he believes the Argentina worldwide would be too costly for the Champions League holders.

A latest report from Spain instructed that Bayern was prepared to fulfill the 26-year-old’s 250 million euro exit clause, with the club’s honourary president Franz Beckenbauer additional fuelling speculation last week together with his feedback that Messi would be a good signing for the Bundesliga champions.

However, Rummenigge has now made it clear that the Bavarians don’t have any intention of splashing the money on the prolific attacker.

“Messi? We are talking about figures right here that are merely absurd, a transfer fee that’s even larger than what we spent on Javi Martinez. We cannot go there,” Rummenigge told Sky90. “Plus I do know Sandro Rosell. Barcelona would by no means sell Messi. He is a saint at Barcelona and they won’t promote him. And I think it might be in Messi’s finest curiosity to remain at Barcelona. He suits in perfectly there.”

The attacker has a contract with Barca until June 2018.

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Wimbledon, Day 2: Hometown girl Laura Robson gets a big win

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Wimbledon is underway, and with it our daily roundup of all things green and glorious. Prepare your strawberries and cream as we delve into the day’s events, from the sublime to the absurd. Your serve.

No dramatic upsets on the level of Rafael Nadal’s fall on Monday happened on Day Two. Most matches were over in fairly short order, though one which could have some significance down the line was David Ferrer’s four-set victory over Martin Alund. Ferrer appeared to injure himself at one point in the match, though rallied for the victory after dropping the second set.

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“Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling does not look particularly thrilled to be down among the Muggles on Day 2. But perhaps Harry could have figured out what sorcery was necessary to beat Nadal on Monday.

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Kevin Anderson (right) knocked out Olivier Rochus in straight sets, which kind of seems a little cruel.

“We met him one year at Wimbledon, and he was just a bit shorter than me. And I was 15 at the time. It was really disappointing.” Laura Robson, 5’11”, on meeting Justin Timberlake for the first time.

Tenth-ranked Maria Kirilenko fell in straight sets to Robson, 6-3, 6-4. “It was a big one for me because although I really like grass and I seem to play well on it, I’ve never actually done overly well here,” Robson said. “I’ve only made the second round once. I think it was good that I managed to tough it out after I got so nervous in the second set.”

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Somebody’s taking Wimbledon white a little too literally.

Another fine day ahead on Wednesday, as Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova headline the day. Also in the mix: Andy Murray, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Victoria Azarenka. Do more upsets lurk in the woods? Tune in and see!

Related coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
• John McEnroe: Rafael Nadal is the best men’s tennis player ever
• Photos: First-round action at Wimbledon
• Rafael Nadal suffers a major first in first-round Wimbledon defeat