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Report: Foster says he took money at Tennessee
KNOXVILLE, TENN. (AP) - 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.”
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.”
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.
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