Over the course of a four hour interview for Schooled: The Price of College Sports, Arian Foster discussed the economic prosperity of the Tennessee Volunteers while the athletes suffered. More importantly, Foster admitted to taking money during his Senior year at Tennessee, which ended in January of 2009. Foster is now entering his 5th season in the NFL, and the NCAA has a statute of limitations of four years, so it will be interesting to see if anything comes of this. His story is quite interesting, but he might have just put Tennessee in a tight spot, depending on how closely the NCAA decides to follow its own rules. Here’s an excerpt of the interview:
“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. “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,” 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.”
“I’m a firm believer that an employee should get paid for his work,” Foster added. “And, 100 percent, I see student athletes as employees. Hiding from it is just cowardly.”
It would seem as though the epidemic of college players taking money is getting even worse and is showing no signs of slowing down. Eventually there is going to be a breaking point and I feel that point is coming sooner than everyone thinks.