Houston Texans running back Arian Foster (23) tries to get past the San Diego Chargers defense during their Sept. 9 game in San Diego. (AP Photo)
In a documentary previewed on SI.com, former University of Tennessee star and current Houston Texans running back Arian Foster said he received extra benefits so he could afford rent and food while playing for the Volunteers.
Foster, who played at Tennessee from 2005-2008 under coach Phillip Fulmer, speaks in the EPIX documentary "Schooled: The Price of College Sports."
"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. "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.
"There were plenty of times where throughout the month I didn't have enough for food. Our stadium had like 107,000 seats, 107,000 people buying a ticket to come watch us play. ... 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?"
Added Foster: "I'm a firm believer that an employee should get paid for his work. And 100 percent I see student-athletes as employees. Hiding from it is just cowardly."
Andrew Muscato, a documentary producer, said Foster didn't specify how much he received or who paid him.
Yahoo reported last week that Vols defensive lineman Maurice Couch and quarterback Tyler Bray were two of five Southeastern Conference players who received illegal benefits from a runner for agents.
Couch has been ruled ineligible while the school investigates those allegations.
In the clip of the documentary that appeared on the SI website, Foster says he once complained to a coach about how he had no food or money, and that the coach responded by giving about 50 tacos to him and a handful of friends.
Muscato said Foster's comments came from a four-hour interview that took place in February, Muscato said the documentary is an examination of college sports through the scope of athletes' rights.
"There were a lot of guys on my team that sold drugs," Foster said in the documentary. "Some of them sold drugs. That's why you hear a lot of guys selling their rings. They're just trying to eat, man. It was total (bull). You don't say anything because if you say anything, you're stepping out of line, and that will hurt your chances of getting to that next level. It's a brilliantly devised evil scheme to keep kids quiet."
Tennessee is on probation through Aug. 23, 2015, for previous violations. The probation was extended by two years last November after the NCAA ruled former assistant Willie Mack Garza provided impermissible travel and lodging for an unofficial visit by prospect Lache Seastrunk, who eventually signed with Oregon and has since transferred to Baylor. Garza worked on the staff of former Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin, who's now at Southern California.
comments powered by Disqus