KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — 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."
Andrew Muscato, a producer of the documentary, said Foster didn't specify how much money he received or who paid him.
"There were plenty of times where throughout the month I didn't have enough for food," Foster said in the 90-minute documentary. "Our stadium had like 107,000 seats; 107,000 people buying a ticket to come watch us play. It's tough just like knowing that, being aware of that. We had just won and I had a good game, 100 yards or whatever. You go outside and there's hundreds of kids waiting for you. You're signing autographs, taking pictures, whatever.
"Then I walk back, 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."
Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart said, "We can't speak to something that allegedly happened a long time ago."
A phone call to Phillip Fulmer, the coach during Foster's college career, wasn't returned.
In response to an email about Foster, NCAA spokeswoman Emily Potter said, "I can't speak to a specific situation."
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. UT is on probation through Aug. 23, 2015, for previous violations.
Foster said the money didn't come from a coach: "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."