Friday, September 20, 2013

Arian Foster Admits to Taking Money While At Tennessee

Oh boy. Well, an admission like this should come as no surprise coming from Houston Texans running back Arian Foster. Not because he's a shady person now, but because he has always been the type of guy that is going to speak his mind regardless of what popular opinion is.

While he may have a good  point in why he has admitted to taking money in college I can't help but think this is going to bite him on the behind.

Sports Illustrated is reporting that Foster admitted to taking money while he was playing for the University of Tennessee. Foster has made it no secret that he is in favor of college athletes getting a bigger piece of the multi-million dollar pie that is college athletics.

So comes as no surprise that he agreed to talk to the cameras for a documentary called Schooled: The Price of College Sports. However, I think in doing so he did himself and the plight of college athletes no favors.

Let's look at some of his comments:
"I don't know if this will throw us into an NCAA investigation -- my senior year, I was getting money on the side," said Foster. 
Really? You don't know that this could bring sanctions down on your alma mater? That's a flat out lie. Anyone that watches let alone plays college sports knows that it is a pretty big no-no to take money while you are in college. The crappy part is that he gets away clean and free while it is the school, current players, and future ones that suffer.

"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."

There are plenty of things that may be morally right that are legally/technically wrong, but that doesn't make it okay to break the rules. As for paying rent or buying food--in another comment he refers to living in the dorms. Last I checked that means there was no rent.

His justification is pretty clear. The school makes a bundle so why shouldn't I get more?
 "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?
Because you are in college. It is not a job.

In another comment he shows his disregard for how his admission may affect the school:
"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, I walk up to the facility and I see my coach pull up in a brand new Lexus."
So you admit to thinking about breaking an NCAA regulation, tell your coach, let him break one, and then you break it anyway? That's just flat out selfish.

Foster tries to justify his comments by saying he sees student-athletes as employees--but they are not.
"I'm a firm believer that an employee should get paid for his work," Foster added. "And, 100 percent, I see student athletes as employees. Hiding from it is just cowardly."
What is truly cowardly is throwing your school and your coach under the bus and possibly taking away opportunities for other athletes to play and get an education.

I understand what Foster is trying to do, but there are way too many holes in his argument. Students don't pay rent when they live in the dorms. When I was in school there was a cafeteria and a cafe that students could eat at. I don't know the particulars, but I am sure that athletes like Foster get a meal plan including in their scholarship.

So he didn't have enough food in his dorm fridge--so what? Every college student has that same plight. Yes, other students have the option to get jobs to make more money and he doesn't, but if he is concerned with not having the creature comforts that he wanted in college he is not alone.

Most students don't have them. Should they get paid for getting good grades? I think not.

Foster thinks he is putting a light on an issue, and it is an issue. Student-athletes should get get a bigger piece of the pie; enough so that they can live like normal college kids and not have to be concerned with making the cafeteria before it closes--and that's it.

Maybe there is something that can be worked out when it comes to merchandising, autographs, and other things that are specific to the athlete, but if some sort of consideration is made there I am afraid that it will be the start of a slippery slope that will officially turn college football into the minor league of the NFL

Should that happen guys like Foster will win, but the vast majority of athletes--the ones that don't go pro--and the game itself will lose.

All Foster has succeeded in doing here was tarnish his reputation and show that his concern is not for the team, bur for himself. Shame on you Arian.

[You can read more at SI and see more in the video below; all quotes where from SI]

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