Texans running back Arian Foster admits (maybe "admits" isn't the right word, because public opinion is swinging away from shaming the athletes, toward shaming the system that facilitates and encourages it) that he took money while he was a student at UT.
Foster sat down for an upcoming documentary, Schooled: The Price of College Sports, and revealed that he "was getting money on the side" during his senior season in Knoxville.
"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."
"Then I walk back [after a game], 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."
For the inevitable "how can an a college football player be hungry, don't they feed them?" argument that's going to pop up, note well: the NCAA limits athletes to one formal meal per day, to the dismay of dietitians. Yes, they have a standard student meal plan, but sometimes the dining hall is a long walk after a hard day's work, and an estimated 86 percent of scholarship athletes living off campus fall below the federal poverty line.
And sometimes the dining hall simply isn't open late at night—say, after a nationally televised, primetime game that brings in millions of viewers and millions of dollars in TV money.