Report: Foster says he took money at Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Houston Texans running back Arian Foster

says in an upcoming documentary he accepted money his senior year at

Tennessee.

“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 says 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.”

Sports Illustrated first reported Foster’s comments in the documentary, “Schooled: The Price of College Sports.”

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

the NCAA has been doing for years,” Foster said. That’s why I said what I

said. I’m not trying to throw anyone under the bus or anything like

that. … I feel like I shouldn’t have to run from the NCAA anymore.

They’re like these big bullies. I’m not scared of them.”

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.

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.”

Generally, the NCAA has a four-year

statute of limitations on allegations. But if the NCAA determines there

are extenuating circumstances in this case such as a pattern of

behavior, it could subject Tennessee to another investigation and

potentially more penalties. Tennessee is on probation through Aug. 23,

2015, for previous violations.

The Foster report comes one week after

Yahoo Sports reported that a runner for agents provided illegal benefits

to Tennessee defensive lineman Maurice Couch and former Tennessee

quarterback Tyler Bray as well as former Alabama offensive tackle D.J.

Fluker, former Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and

former Mississippi State wide receiver Chad Bumphis. Couch has been

ruled ineligible while the school investigates those allegations.

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.

“Side people always offer you money all

the time, just random people usually. `Can I take care of you?’ ”

Foster said Friday. “It happens all the time. When you’re at college and

your family doesn’t make a lot of money, it’s hard to make ends meet.

… Toward the end of the month, you run out every month. It’s a problem

all across America. It’s just when you play top-tier Division I

football, there’s people that are willing to help you out. I got helped

out.”

In the clip of the documentary that

appeared on Sports Illustrated’s 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 the documentary is an examination of college sports through the scope of athletes’ rights.

“They have us feeling like that’s wrong

(to get paid),” Foster said Friday. “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. And they try to disguise it under the rule of

amateurism. And if you watch the documentary … it’s just been a big

charade for years. And it’s about time for it to come to an end.”

In an interview with the Associated

Press on Thursday, SEC Commissioner Mike Slive criticized the NCAA rules

regarding agents and said conferences that produce plenty of NFL

prospects should have the authority to create their own regulations to

curb such problems.

“I feel like the current NCAA rules and regulations are part of the problem, they’re not part of the solution,” Slive said.