Could this have been the last time we see Johnny Football on the field in 2013?
(Photo Courtesy: USA Today Sports)
The unrivaled, most talked about college football player in over a decade is back in the headlines again and once again it's not for something awesome he's done on the field. Yes, we are talking about Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, who according to ESPN's Darren Rovell is under NCAA investigation for potentially signing autographs for profit.
In the report, it's alleged that Manziel signed a ton of autographs for a Miami area memorabilia dealer. That alone isn't the news, it's the fact that sources are telling Rovell and the four-letter network's "Outside the LInes" that Johnny Football agreed to do the signing for a five-figure flat fee before the BCS National Championship game.
From the report:
Two sources tell "Outside the Lines" that the Texas A&M quarterback agreed to sign memorabilia in exchange for a five-figure flat fee during his trip to Miami for the Discover BCS National Championship. Both sources said they witnessed the signing, though neither saw the actual exchange of money.
This would be the first time Manziel was under investigation by the NCAA, but not from ESPN, for possibly signing autographs for profit.
Rumors began swirling back in March about a suspicious flood of Manziel related memorabilia following the BCS National Championship game. ESPN has been investigating ever since those rumors came out and this report looks to be the culmination of said investigation.
Back in March when ESPN approached Texas A&M about those allegations here is what ESPN received back from the Aggies athletic communications department:
"Johnny has indicated on numerous occasions and, once again earlier today, that he has never (and to his knowledge, his parents, other relatives and friends have ever) been compensated through cash or other benefits or promises of deferred compensation for providing his autograph," Batson (Texas A&M's compliance director) wrote.
Naturally, the Manziel camp has not spoken about this latest accusation, but it's clear based on previous reaction the Manziel's are likely to circle the wagons and pull out all the stops to protect Johnny Football from any negative press. At least as much as they and A&M can do considering fall camp is now underway in College Station, TX.
If Manziel is found to have taken money he is in some serious NCAA hot water and his season would be over at the least. A&M would also be looking at forfeiting any games Manziel plays in in 2013. The timing of all of this is certainly bad because it puts the Aggies and head coach Kevin Sumlin in a bad spot - play Manziel and risk forfeiting games should he be found guilty during the season or hold Manziel out and risk losing those games anyway. However, you have to assume innocence until guilt is proven and frankly is there any way you aren't playing Johnny Football if he's on your team?
No matter what happens this surely isn't the first or the last time we'll hear about the off the field activities of Manziel during the 2013 season. If you like your drama then all you need to do to get your fix of it is to keep tabs on all the goings on in College Station.