Too much pasta landed three
The unusual case, first reported Wednesday by the Oklahoman, came after the trio attended a graduation banquet in 2013. To restore their eligibility, the athletes each had to donate $3.83 to charity to cover the cost of the pasta. The school reported the situation to the NCAA.
"This is unusual," said John Infante, a former compliance director at
Former Oklahoma football player Gabe Ikard claimed to be one of the "infamous pasta eaters" in a series of tweets Wednesday.
Teammate Austin Woods also took credit for the meal on Twitter.
"We felt we ate more than $3.83 so we donated $5," he wrote.
Pete Moris, Oklahoma's assistant athletic director for communications, declined to comment.
The hungry trio ran afoul of NCAA bylaw 220.127.116.11 that permits schools to provide athletes with "reasonable refreshments" from time to time for "celebratory events."
"It just makes everybody look bad," said Jay Bilas, an
The NCAA's 432-page rule book has previously ensnared hungry athletes. Though such violations usually revolve around boosters picking up the tab for an athlete's meal at a restaurant, Infante said, everything from ham sandwiches to cream cheese have become issues in the past.
In 2000, for instance, then-
Another NCAA bylaw, better known as the bagel rule, permits schools to offer bagels, fruits and nuts to athletes at any time. An interpretation, however, prohibited offering spreads such as cream cheese or peanut butter with the bagels.
"We for too long have behaved like 6-year-olds. We can't afford it. That's not fair. It's not a level playing field," Bilas said. "You know what? Tough. If you can't afford to give your players the right nutrition, that's not everybody's problem. Nobody has restrictions on the facilities you can build, but there are on what you can feed the athletes."
To Infante, the Oklahoma pasta situation is an example of the challenges presented by Emmert's efforts at reforming the NCAA.
"I'm sure if there was a proposal to get rid of it, somebody would have an excellent reason where it would lead to the end of the world for their team," Infante said. "That's what makes it so difficult to slim down this rule book that's been so built up over the years."
An NCAA spokeswoman wrote in an email that, "While we appreciate Oklahoma's commitment, there are no NCAA rules regarding portion sizes, and any penalties were determined by the university."