Reporting Will Grubb
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Houston (CBS Houston) - Arian Foster is never one to sensor his thoughts, so when a question about the NCAA came up during the filming of a new documentary, Foster told the truth. According to Sports Illustrated, who previewed the documentary, Foster accepted money on the side while at Tennessee.
The implications for such a statement can be huge. If Foster is found to have played while ineligible, Tennessee could be forced to vacate wins and face potential sanctions. That wasn’t enough to keep Foster from speaking out against the injustice he sees in the current system.
“I feel like I shouldn’t have to run from the NCAA anymore like they’re these big bullies – I’m not scared of them.” Foster told reporters Friday.
His case isn’t the typical NCAA violation seen in headlines. Foster didn’t take money to get a new car or a new tattoo, he did it to survive.
“They have us feeling like that’s wrong, it’s not wrong. That’s how I keep my lights on now and there’s nothing wrong with it. But they have us feeling like it’s ok to sanction 18-year olds because they received money for playing a sport.” said Foster.
Fosters solution is simple. Players should be paid. To him, it’s no different than an employee who works for a profitable business. Those who oppose paying players often argue NCAA athletes are compensated with a free education, something Foster strongly disputes.
“It’s not free. You put in the work, like I go to work every single day as a professional athlete. I practice, I lift weights, I do all of these things and that’s my job. Those athletes (at the NCAA level) are doing the exact same thing except I can go make money off of my name. I can go get a side job if I really wanted too. The NCAA takes away your constitutional rights as an American.”
The three time pro bowler knows that some associated with Tennessee program won’t be happy with his latest revelation. He’s prepared to deal with any backlash because to him, the reward of bringing down a faulty system is worth the risk.
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