Arian Foster, now the superstar running back for the Houston Texans, is set financially for the rest of his life (if he plays his cards right). His NFL contract will also keep his children happy and even his children’s children.
However, life was not nearly so plush for Foster during his years in college at Tennessee. Between 2005 and 2008, Foster was running in front of more than 100,000 fans in Knoxville, but when he would go home to his dorm or apartment, his fridge would be empty.
[Taco Twitter Takes: Arian Foster, money, and a run for the border]
He admits, in a new EPIX documentary titled “Schooled: The Price of College Sports,” that he did take money on the side during his senior season. Here is the transcription of all of his quotes, courtesy of Sports Illustrated, with a video preview of the documentary below.
“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.”