It’s not exactly a shock that Arian Foster stated during an interview Friday that he had accepted money from boosters during his time playing running back at Tennessee; in a documentary that aired in 2013, Foster acknowledged as much.
This time around, though, Foster got into specific dollar amounts, which always piques the interest of some.
During the radio interview with Dan LeBatard Thursday, the current Houston Texans running back was asked about receiving what would be impermissible cash benefits from UT boosters while he was a player. From the Knoxville News:
“You have people help you out here and there,” Foster said Thursday on the Dan LeBatard show. “Boosters and alumni and ex-players, they all know how it is, man. It’s hard living check to check when you don’t have enough money to go out to the movies or any kind of leisure activity. And you’re not allowed to get a job. Especially when I was in college, they were a lot more stringent on those rules, so at any given chance I got the opportunity, I took a free handout. Absolutely.”
LeBatard pushed Foster for an exact dollar figure. Foster guessed that it was “40, 50 grand throughout my entire career.”
Foster was in Knoxville from 2004-08. His coach during that time was Phillip Fulmer, who released a statement after Foster’s comments in the 2013 documentary became public.
“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,” Fulmer said at the time. “If we knew of a violation, big or small, we reported it.”
Foster’s comments come amidst a push, especially amongst the Power Five conferences, to put some of the billions of dollars the sports makes back into the pockets of the players in the form of bridging the cost-of-attendance gap. They also come one day after Seattle Seahawk defensive end Michael Bennett called the NCAA “one of the biggest scams in America.”
UPDATED 3:04 p.m. ET: That certainly didn’t take long.
Shortly after we posted the above, UT fans took to Twitter to blast Foster for his admissions during the radio interview yesterday. At first Foster took this tack…
… and then, as the rhetoric from the other side began to ratchet up, he changed course…
… and ultimately landed here:
Grab your popcorn and head on over to Foster’s Twitter feed HERE. This could be fun for an hour or two.