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Arian Foster Says He Took Money While Playing at Tennessee

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Arian Foster Says He Took Money While Playing at Tennessee

Arian Foster, one of the most productive rushers in Tennessee Volunteers history, recently revealed that he took money during his time with the program.

The current Houston Texans star made the shocking revelations in an upcoming EPIX documentary entitled Schooled: The Price of College Sports (via SI.com).

UPDATE: Sunday, Sept. 22, at 10:33 p.m. ET

The Associated Press provides a statement from Former Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer on Arian Foster's comments, via ESPN:

"As the head coach at Tennessee for 17 years, I took great pride in having a program that was NCAA compliant, as did our staff and administration. If we knew of a violation, big or small, we reported it."

---End of Update---

UPDATE: Saturday, Sept. 21, at 2:30 p.m. ET

ESPN's Dick Vitale made waves today after making some strong comments regarding Foster taking money at Tennessee: 

However, the college basketball personality backed off the statements on Saturday, apologizing for his choice of words.

---End of Update--- 

UPDATE: Friday, Sept. 20, at 6:30 p.m. ET

From TNSportsRadio.com's Jayson Swain:

---End of update---

 

UPDATE: Friday, Sept. 20, at 6:05 p.m. ET

From ESPN's Joe Schad:

---End of update---

 

UPDATE: Friday, Sept. 20, at 3:30 p.m. ET: 

From Tania Ganguli of ESPN.com:

---End of update---

 

Original text: 

In the midst of a four-hour interview, Foster admitted that he was in a tough financial situation during his senior season and took money to pay for various living expenses. Foster did not make it clear whether he took the money from a coach, a booster, an agent or other means.

He did say he does not regret the decision and does not feel he did anything immoral:

I don't know if this will throw us into an NCAA investigation—my senior year, I was getting money on the side. 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.

His said his rationale for taking the money stemmed from observing the high volume of ticket sales at Neyland Stadium and big business the Volunteers football program was bringing in. Foster contrasted this with his experiences going back to a dorm and having nothing to eat after the game.

Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

The tipping point was when the star running back and his roommates were broke and hungry and needed to call on then-head coach Phillip Fulmer for assistance.

While Fulmer lent a hand, Foster could not help but notice the hypocrisy the next day.

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.

It’s clear that Foster believes student-athletes deserve compensation for their efforts and did not shy away from giving his opinion on the subject.

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"I'm a firm believer that an employee should get paid for his work," said the back who played at Tennessee from 2005 to 2008. "And, 100 percent, I see student athletes as employees. Hiding from it is just cowardly."

The NCAA is currently undergoing an intense amount of scrutiny for its policies that restrict student-athletes from benefiting from sales stemming from their efforts or likenesses. Foster is the latest to chime in on the subject, joining a growing number of fans, analysts and former players who believe reform is necessary.

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