Arian Foster says he's a firm believer that employees should get paid for the work they do. He also feels that student-athletes are employees of their colleges.
Can you put two and two together? No need to -- the Houston Texans star running back does it himself in discussing his days at the University of Tennessee in the upcoming Epix documentary "Schooled: The Price of College Sports."
"I don't know if this will throw us into an NCAA investigation -- my senior year, I was getting money on the side," Foster said, via Sports Illustrated. "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."
Foster rushed for 2,964 yards and 23 touchdowns in four years with the Volunteers and had plenty of adoring fans on game days. But none of that paid the bills or put food on the table.
"You go outside and there's hundreds of kids waiting for you. You're signing autographs, taking pictures, whatever," Foster said. "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?"
Foster has gone on to become one of the NFL's top running backs, leading the league in rushing in 2010 and making the Pro Bowl the last three years. He signed a five-year, $43.5-million contract with Houston last year.
But there was a time when he was so poor and hungry, Foster said, that he persuaded a coach to buy him and some teammates tacos, which is also an NCAA violation. Once again, though, he sees nothing wrong with it -- it's the system that is messed up as far as he's concerned."I'm a firm believer that an employee should get paid for his work," Foster said. "And, 100%, I see student-athletes as employees. Hiding from it is just cowardly."