Is there any inherent obstacle to ND investing in improving (to the point of first-class) some of the sport-, and strength-, and nutrition-related sciences, both physical and human capital?
A second thought:
Putting aside the above, I think you are noting the difference between being a producer versus consumer-practitioner of knowledge in the sciences. While I agree that without first-class research facilities and capacities, ND cannot "do" cutting-edge, I disagree that practitioners cannot "be" cutting-edge and also mindful of quality-control procedures to "study" or monitor program impact and effectiveness.
In other words, one need not be a producer of knowledge to be a cutting-edge practitioner.