HOUSTON -- Houston Texans running back Arian Foster admitted to receiving money during his senior season at the University of Tennessee, according to an interview he did for the documentary, “Schooled: The Price of College Sports.”
According to a report from Sports Illustrated, the producers of the documentary approached Foster in February to be interviewed for their film.
“Honestly, I don’t know if this will throw us into an NCAA investigation, but my senior year I was getting money on the side,” Foster said in the EPIX documentary. “I really didn’t have any money. I had to either pay the rent or buy some food. I remember the feeling, like, ‘Man, be careful,’ but there’s nothing wrong with it. You’re not going to convince me that there is something wrong with it.”
Foster, who played for the Volunteers from 2005-08, expanded on his comments Friday after the Texans’ practice.
“I feel very strong about the injustice that the NCAA has been doing for years,” Foster said Friday.
The Texans running back said he feels like he should not have to run from the NCAA anymore.
“They’re like these big bullies and I’m not scared of them,” he said.
Andrew Muscato, a producer of the documentary, said Foster didn’t specify how much money he received or who paid him during the four-hour interview in February.
Bar patron Andre Valmore believes college athletes "deserve a lot more."
"The school is getting a lot of money and they're [college athletes] not getting anything but a scholarship and maybe an allowance," Valmore said.
Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart said in a statement released by the university Friday that, “We can’t speak to something that allegedly happened a long time ago.”
Hart said what the university can “say is that the values and priorities of our athletic department and football program are aligned, and the constant education of our student-athletes regarding the rules and the consequences of their choices is of the highest priority.”
In response to an email about Foster’s comments, NCAA spokeswoman Emily Potter said that “I can’t speak to a specific situation.”
On Friday, Foster described how his financial situation while playing for the Volunteers led to him accepting money on the side.
“When you’re in college and your family doesn’t make a lot of many, it’s hard to make ends meet especially with the scholarship checks. You get the bare essentials, but towards the end of the month you run out ... every month,” Foster said. “It’s just a problem all across America, but if you play top tier Division 1 (now called Football Bowl Subdivision) football, there are people that are willing to help you out. And I got helped out.”
Foster explained to a group of reporters that the NCAA should not be allowed to hide behind the rules of amateurism.
“It’s not wrong, that’s how I keep my lights on now and there’s nothing wrong with it. But they have us feeling like it’s OK to sanction 18-year-old kids, because they received money for playing a sport,” Foster said. “They try to disguise it under the rules of amateurism, but if you watch the documentary, they break down the history of amateurism. It’s just a big charade for years. It’s about time for it to come to an end, and I’m just not going to shy away from that question. I’m tired of that.”
The Texans running back went on to say that he could not believe that with as much money being made off of student athletes that it could be referred to as amateur sports.
“That’s the life of college athletics. It’s a billion dollar industry and they disguise it and hid it as an amateur sport,” Foster said. “Coaches coaching amateur players are getting paid millions of dollars. The head of the NCAA guys, they’re getting paid six- to seven-figure salaries and they’re still talking about amateur sports and it’s amazing to me that adults let this go on.”
Foster said Friday the money he received didn’t come from a coach.
A phone call Friday to Phillip Fulmer, the Tennessee coach during Foster’s college career, wasn’t immediately returned.