Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel has been tightroping an increasingly blurry line between a newfound celebrity status and what is expected of him as a student-athlete who still — gasp — is supposed to be attending classes in the off-season, given that there aren’t games on Saturdays in February.
Shocking, I know.
Every time you look up Manziel, he is in Vegas, in New Orleans, in Houston getting pictures taken with the biggest names in the world of sports and entertainment. All the while, a secondary narrative is playing out in the background that in essence, we are supposed to believe that Manziel is the model student-athlete who has the super-human ability to manage the pressures of his budding stardom with the basic rigors of being a 19-year old student at a relatively difficult academic institution.
While we’d all like to believe this is the case — after all, why deny someone the opportunity to have their cake and eat it too, if they can manage to do so — when celebrity clashes with what’s required to earn a degree, something usually gives.
As it turns out, Manziel has been able to make these varied appearances here and there — which Texas A&M is reportedly so upset about (we’ll let you decide how sarcastic that comment was) — because he is in fact only taking online courses this Spring that require him to be on campus in person in College Station very rarely.
According to a few reports today, in fact, Manziel is on campus as little as once a month.
Yes, once a month.
While it obviously isn’t illegal for him to do so — Texas A&M offers online courses to any and all of its registered students — it’s a little strange that Manziel has basically completely separated himself from the student body he supposedly represents.
I know, call me old-fashioned, but it’s yet another example of the NCAA’s student-athlete ideal being scoffed at by a program and a player who see celebrity building as an overt priority, and schoolin’ as a secondary evil which only nominally needs attention paid to it.
Such is the life of a big-time college football talent. After all, who needs the stupid degree?
All NFL players have long, illustrious careers.