Arian Foster made headlines last week for his appearance on a preview for an EPIX documentary called, Schooled: The Price of College Sports. In the clip, Foster claimed he was paid on the side at the University of Tennessee, recalling a time when coaches brought he and some teammates "like 50 tacos," and insinuated someone gave him a Lexus.
Though the full documentary will undoubtedly provide more context, former Tennessee coaches Phil Fulmer and David Cutcliffe hit back at Foster's statements.
“That may have been as weak of interview as I’ve heard,” Cutcliffe said. “Arian never looked hungry.”
Fulmer pleaded ignorance.
"As the head coach at Tennessee for 17 years, I took great pride in having a program that was NCAA compliant, as did our staff and administration," Fulmer said. "If we knew of a violation, big or small, we reported it."
Cutcliffe, now the head coach at Duke University, expanded on his thoughts as well as the outrage against the NCAA.
“I’m sorry, I’m a skeptic of that stuff. Really, really a skeptic Let people, if that’s their business, we have directors of athletics, we have presidents of universities, we have a lot of skilled people that are looking into every aspect of trying to ensure the safety of athletes, to ensure the well-being of athletes, to ensure the academic well-being of athletes, let them attest to what’s happening on campus. But let’s be careful about what we’re complaining about.
“I’m sorry to disagree with so many intelligent people that seem to think they understand the circumstance. And nobody is really getting rich off of this, we’re operating an athletics department off of all this. Do you understand how much it costs to operate an athletic department? We have 26 varsity sports and recreation. A lot of facilities and a lot of people are in place here to make it better for the student-athlete. That’s a lot of money to operate all of that. Nobody is stealing from them, you understand what I’m saying?"
Nobody is arguing that student-athletes are opening themselves up to theft by playing college sports, just that schools profit from student-athletes while prohibiting student-athletes from doing the same thing. Additionally, coaches continue to get off scot-free for many of the issues they leave schools with while other innocent student-athletes are left in the wake.
But I suppose that all sounds OK to a head coach who's already got a steady paycheck and a nice car.