By, Anna Woods and Caroline McCarthy, Managing Editor and Sports Editor
Food insecurity has been a topic of conversation in the Manhattan College athletic department this school year, as teams have faced issues with designated practice times interfering with shortened Locke’s Loft hours, resulting in lack of dinner for many student athletes. The men’s basketball team, however, seems to have found a loophole.
At a fundraising event in the fall semester, as well as in multiple interviews with the Quadrangle, head coach Steve Masiello has expressed his concern with his players’ inability to receive substantial meals at the school’s dining hall. His push for further funding to the program is meant to aid in more “team meals” that will help strengthen their bond as players, while also providing adequate meals.
Since this time, two sources have confirmed the men’s basketball team congregates at Jake’s Steakhouse, a popular restaurant just south of Manhattan College’s campus, for a “pregame meal” prior to every home competition.
The Steakhouse declined to comment on any matters regarding the team or their relationship with the restaurant.
Several local delis and restaurants have confirmed that players on Manhattan College sports teams have open tabs that are paid for by “coaches” or other employees within the athletic department. Two local delis, Gourmet Market & Bagel and Best Deli both confirmed that the team has an open tab that is paid regularly by a “coach.” An employee who goes by the name of “Joe” confirmed that the tab is paid regularly as well.
These restaurants are highly popular among students and are often referred to as staples in the community.
However, Marianne Reilly, director of the athletic department, shot down these claims.
“There is not an ‘open tab’ for student-athletes in the [men’s basketball] program to order food and meals at various locations without a coach purchasing the food/meal,” Reilly wrote in an email to The Quadrangle.
Reilly explained that the men’s basketball program has certain mentorship opportunities in which meals are often shared between coaches and students.
“[The men’s basketball team] has a mentoring program where coaches are paired with a number of students on the team to check in with and ensure that things are going well with treats and team bonding. Sometimes it is done as a breakfast or lunch depending on a student schedule, which is permissible with NCAA rules,” Reilly wrote.
The question still remains of where this specific funding for pre-game dinners comes from – may it be a coach, donor, or gift of the Steakhouse. This is an ongoing investigation that the Quadrangle intends to continue reporting on.