Johnny Manziel might have become the poster child of the “should college football players get paid” argument this summer, but it’s comments coming from a player a couple hours south of College Station today that are drawing new headlines.
Houston Texans running back Arian Foster admitted to accepting money during his senior season at the University of Tennessee in a new documentary, Sports Illustrated reported on Friday.
In the EPIX documentry, “Schooled: The Price of College Sports,” Foster explains his reasons for taking payments while playing college football.
“I don’t know if this will throw us into an NCAA investigation – my senior year, I was getting paid money on the side,” Foster said in a video posted on SI.com. “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.”
The outspoken Foster, one never afraid to speak his true feelings, believes that the money the schools make off the players is enough justification for payments to be issued to the students.
“Our stadium had like 107,000 seats,” Foster said. “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.”
Foster said he warned his coaches about his lack of resources.
“There was a point where we had no food, no money,” Foster said. “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. But then, the next day, I walk up to the facility and see my coach pull up in a brand new Lexus. Beautiful.”
Foster’s comments could not come at a worse time for Tennessee.
A Yahoo! Sports report last week accused five SEC players of accepting impermissible benefits, including Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray.