Arian Foster says he took money while at Tennessee

By: Chip Patterson
By: Chip Patterson

(Undated) - Former Tennessee running back Arian Foster said he "took money on the side" during his senior year while playing for the Volunteers.

The current Houston Texans star discussed his disdain for the NCAA's amateurism rules during a four-hour interview for an upcoming documentary called Schooled: The Price of College Sports.

Sports Illustrated obtained a video preview of the documentary, as well as a portion of Foster's interview. In the excerpt released Friday, Foster admits he took money during his senior year and explains how he, along with many other athletes, rationalize that decision.

"I don't know if this will throw us into an NCAA investigation -- my senior year, I was getting money on the side," Foster said in the interview. "I really didn't have any money. I had to either pay the rent or buy some food. I remember the feeling of like, 'Man, be careful.' But there's nothing wrong with it. And you're not going to convince me that there is something wrong with it."

Foster goes on to discuss how the effects of fame are very different on the field and in the dorm room.

"There were plenty of times where throughout the month I didn't have enough for food," Foster said in the 90-minute documentary. "Our stadium had like 107,000 seats; 107,000 people buying a ticket to come watch us play. It's tough just like knowing that, being aware of that. We had just won and I had a good game, 100 yards or whatever. You go outside and there's hundreds of kids waiting for you. You're signing autographs, taking pictures, whatever.

"Then I walk back, and reality sets in. I go to my dorm room, open my fridge, and there's nothing in my fridge. Hold up, man. What just happened? Why don't I have anything to show for what I just did? There was a point where we had no food, no money, so I called my coach and I said, 'Coach, we don't have no food. We don't have no money. We're hungry. Either you give us some food, or I'm gonna go do something stupid.' He came down and he brought like 50 tacos for like four or five of us. Which is an NCAA violation. [laughs] But then, the next day I walk up to the facility and I see my coach pull up in a brand new Lexus. Beautiful."

Foster played at Tennessee under former coach Phil Fulmer from 2005-08. His NFL Draft stock skyrocketed after rushing for 1,193 yards and 12 touchdowns in his junior year, but Foster went undrafted in 2009 after a disappointing senior season and predraft evaluations.

It is unknown if Tennessee or the NCAA will attempt to respond to this documentary, but Foster is not required to answer questions from either party if an investigation takes place. The three-time Pro Bowler is one of the most prominent current athletes to speak out against the NCAA's amateurism rules. Jay Bilas, also featured in the video below, and many coaches have spoken in support of the players, but Foster's thoughtful explanation of "the player's side" will carry more weight due to his current status in the sports world.


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