Student athletes at Dixie State University plan their own daily meals instead of having a meal plan because the athletics program is Division II and not Division I.
Athletic Director Jason Boothe said the big difference between Division I and Division II teams is Division I schools have more external funding to cover the cost of providing their athletes with “full-ride” scholarships which include tuition, room and board and meals. Because DSU does not receive as much external funding to cover the cost of being Division I, the administration chose to be Division II instead.
“We don’t have a single student athlete that’s on a full ride,” Boothe said. “Not one that’s getting everything paid for.”
The school gives scholarships for tuition, books and some students get rooms as part of their scholarship, and food is an area DSU provides very little to none of because funding is not available to provide an adequate cafeteria or vouchers for meals at Red Rock Café, Boothe said.
Boothe said Division I is the highest level of competition and also the highest cost between Division I, II and III because it has the highest scholarships for student athletes; Division I football can give up to 86 scholarships.
“You can have 86 guys on the roster with a full ride,” Boothe said. “Division II, that same number is 36, so that’s a big difference. That’s 50 guys you can’t give scholarships to. We can have a football roster of 36 guys that are on a full ride, but can you have a football team of 36? No. Not a very good one. If two or three get hurt, you’re in trouble.”
Meals are provided to student athletes at away games, but at school and in their daily lives, they are responsible for feeding themselves, Boothe said.
Men’s basketball forward Dub Price, a senior business administration major from Draper, said managing his schedule to make sure he eats right every day is important because if he doesn’t get enough to eat, he feels he can’t perform well whether it’s at practice or a game.
“You kind of have to plan and know when you have class,” Price said. “If you have class right before practice, you’re going to have to take some food with you to class.”
Price said having a meal plan would make things easier because you would not have to go out and buy food or worry about preparing a meal, but not having a meal plan provides more flexibility.
Without a meal plan, a student athlete can get the food he or she wants that can give them energy individually because everybody gets energy from food in different ways, Price said.
Athletic Training Coordinator Kelby Hotheins said, “[With] some teams we do have some nutritional services and counseling through Intermountain Health Care that come over and do a presentation pre-season.”
They instruct student athletes on proper ways to get nutrition for themselves, what types of snacks they should eat, and how often they should eat based on their individual nutritional needs for both male and female athletes, Hotheins said.
Hotheins said preparation is key because student athletes are at school all day, and if they don’t plan meals or snacks, they will not have the energy needed to make it through a two or a three-hour practice.
As the athletic department grows with DSU, they are working with the school to provide a snack plan for student athletes and depending on how much funding increases, they will someday have the ability to provide meal plans. Becoming Division I is not realistic at a time when DSU is still a young university and needs to build up its notoriety for years to come before that is a possibility.