USA TODAY High School Sports has a weekly column on the college recruiting process. Here, you’ll find practical tips and real-world advice on becoming a better recruit to maximize your opportunities and play at the college level. Jason Smith is a former NCAA DIII athlete and college coach at all three division levels. Jason is just one of many former college and professional athletes, college coaches and parents who are part of the Next College Student Athlete team. Their knowledge, experience and dedication, along with NCSA’s history of digital innovation and long-standing relationship with the college coaching community, have made NCSA the largest and most successful athletic recruiting network in the country.
As an athlete, what you put in your body has a tremendous impact on your athletic performance. Your nutrition can either help you reach the next level, or it can hold your development back and hurt you over the course of a season. College athletic programs are well aware of this and in 2014, the NCAA changed its rules to allow Division I colleges to provide their student-athletes (whether on scholarship or not) with unlimited meals and snacks. These days, not every college program has a budget to provide unlimited meals, but some programs do and even go the extra mile by investing in specialty athletic nutrition facilities that aim to give athletes the extra edge. Take a peek at some of the best around.
Sports & Nutrition Facility
The University of Alabama has invested $14 million into building a state-of-the-art, 25,000-square-foot, bi-level Sports and Nutrition facility. Inside, athletes can find five chefs, four dietitians, a smoothie bar and plenty of tasty food. It’s another reason why Alabama football is a perennial contender for the national championship.
25,000 sq ft
Fuel Center & Smoothie Bar
5 Performance Chefs & 4 Dietitians
Uptstairs Patio Dining Overlooking Practice Fields
50+ HD TVs
— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) June 27, 2018
Beauchamp Athletics Nutrition Center
Also known as the BANC, the Beauchamp Athletics Nutrition Center is a two-story, 12,100-square-foot facility that was completed in 2015. It serves Baylor’s 550 student-athletes and sits beside the water, overlooking the Brazos River. The nutrition center features a stocked fuel station, outdoor terrace, upstairs lounge and a dining hall that seats 160 people.
— Baylor Athletics (@BaylorAthletics) October 19, 2015
University of Texas
Texas Athletics Nutrition Center
The University of Texas has one of the largest athletics programs in the country, so it’s no surprise that they’ve also invested in athlete nutrition with the Texas Athletics Nutrition Center, also known as TANC.
VIDEO: Take a tour of the new Texas Athletics Nutrition Center (TANC) which fuels our Longhorns athletes each day! https://t.co/cI9h7ICO95
— Texas Softball (@TexasSoftball) June 14, 2016
Long Beach State University
Long Beach State Nutrition Center
Long Beach State University has around 350 student-athletes and you bet they get hungry. That’s why it opened a permanent nutrition center located adjacent to its Long Beach State Strength and Conditioning Center so that athletes can stay fueled up and ready to perform at their best.
— LBSU Athletics (@LBSUAthletics) April 3, 2018
Opened in the fall of 2014 and built at a cost of $6.6 million, the Auburn University Wellness Kitchen gives student-athletes nutritious meals, while also helping with injury prevention and immune support. Student-athletes can take advantage of a salad bar, hot line, smoothie station, carving station and pizza oven.
University of Nebraska
Lewis Training Table
Grilled shrimp? Crab? Fresh fruit? Rib roast? Carb station? The eating is good at the University of Nebraska’s Lewis Training Table, which transitioned to an athletes-only facility in 2018.
Slocum Nutrition Center
Built for a cool $12 million, the Slocum Nutrition Center is a state-of-the-art dining facility that also serves as the hub for Aggie athletics. Visitors enjoy a pasta station, full salad bar, grilled options, smoothies and interactive culinary nutrition education.