Johnson C. Smith first-year head football coach Kermit Blount is being investigated by the university for allegedly refusing to allow several players and team athletic trainers to have their pre-game prior to a road game last week.
According to reports, the group was not fed after they showed up late for team breakfast.
Sources said up to 20 players and several athletic trainers on the Division II program were denied a pre-game breakfast at it’s hotel prior to the 1 p.m. kickoff.
The team was on the road against Virginia Union on Sept. 26. Sources said the coach’s reasoning was because players were roughly five-minutes late to the 8:30 a.m. breakfast.
Reasons for being late varied from player-to-player.
Sources add some players had not eaten since dinner was served at 6 p.m. on Friday and were not served a full meal until 5 p.m., Saturday.
We’re told granola bars and oranges were, however, handed out during halftime.
After being told to leave the room where breakfast was being served, a handful of players walked a half mile down the street for fast food — but a number of players said they did not have money to eat and consistently rely on meals provided by the university during road trips, according to sources.
The most damning allegation was that a female athletic trainer, who is six months pregnant, was not allowed to eat.
JCSU understandably lost 33-3 to Virginia Union.
“That speaks for itself,” kicker Erik Amaya said. “Not getting food…that’s the essence of getting through the day.”
“I can go back and say it was because we didn’t have any food in our system,” Amaya said.
Stories like these are not uncommon in college athletes, where the coaches and suits have all the power and money at their disposal. The players, though, have little to no recourse to fight back.
The 1936 Howard football team went on strike when the school’s president took away the training table.
Two years ago, then Connecticut guard Shabazz Napier revealed to members of the press that athletes like him often go without food.
“I feel like a student athlete. Sometimes, there’s hungry nights where I’m not able to eat, but I still gotta play up to my capabilities. I don’t see myself as so much of an employee, but when you see your jersey getting sold, it may not have your last name on it, but when you see your jersey getting sold, to some credit, you feel like you want something in return.”
The NCAA’s Legislative Council passed a rule allowing athletes unlimited access to food and snacks. Before the rule was enacted last April, athletes received three meals a day, much like a traditional student, or a food stipend.