Arian Foster admits he took money in college at Tennessee
Houston Texans running back Arian Foster is the latest professional athlete to admit that he took improper benefits while in college. Those benefits ranged from taking cash to asking his coach at Tennessee to buy him some food.
In an upcoming EPIX documentary that discusses the growing issue of whether or not collegiate athletes should be paid, Foster spoke about not having enough money to survive on a day-to-day basis. Rather than go hungry, he says he accepted money.
“I don’t know if this will throw us into an NCAA investigation — my senior year, I was getting money on the side,” said Foster, as uncovered by Sports Illustrated. “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 said it is only natural for players to be rubbed the wrong way knowing there are over 100,000 people buying a ticket to watch them play and they are not allowed to see any of the profits.
“There were plenty of times where throughout the month I didn’t have enough for food,” he said. “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?”
Some would argue that a full scholarship is plenty of compensation. Foster also joked that there was a time where he and his roommates were hungry and had no money, so he called his coach and said he was going to “do something stupid” if he didn’t get something to eat. The coach then brought some tacos for the players, which by rule is an NCAA violation.
Other players sold drugs, according to Foster.
“There were a lot of guys on my team who sold drugs,” he said. “That’s why you hear about a lot of guys selling their rings. They’re just trying to eat, man.”
Foster’s revelations remind us of why the Oklahoma State scandal has not been a more major story. This stuff goes on at almost all big-time Division-I programs, and it has been going on for years. Charles Barkley admitted he took money from agents in college decades ago and still doesn’t think it’s a problem. Craig James did the same with boosters at SMU. Simply put, it’s a broken system. Unfortunately, it’s nowhere near being repaired.