Is There Anything Johnny Manziel Can't Do, Including Getting Paid?

By Michael Collins
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Johnny Manziel took the college football world by storm in 2012, and the legend that is “Johnny Football” continues to grow and grow. It would appear that the Heisman Trophy winner was only rivaled by Superman and Donald Trump, and now one of those two might even have their superiority surpassed by the Texas A&M quarterback.

No, Manziel hasn’t stopped any locomotives with his bare hands or leapt over the JPMorgan Chase tower (although I believe the speeding bullet feat was whipped by Manziel last year), but what the young star has done is figure out a way to get past the NCAA and their archaic rules about college athletes getting paid while in school.

Last week, Manziel’s corporation (yes, he’s incorporated – don’t look so shocked), JMan2 Enterprises, filed a lawsuit against a man who was selling ”Johnny Football” t-shirts. We’ve all heard the stories about Manziel’s family wanting to trademark the phase and Manziel’s likeness, and the NCAA has ruled that it’s perfectly legal for him to do so, to protect his “property interest” from copyright infringement.

God bless the USA.

Manziel isn’t able to profit from the direct sale of t-shirts that contain his name or likeness, but what he can do is sue the pants off of anyone who does, and the NCAA has ruled that “a student-athlete can keep financial earnings as a result of a legal action.”, and they have now notified Texas A&M of this ruling.

Talk about opening up a Pandora’s Box of loophole-mania, this could get really interesting in a hurry.

So let’s say a group of “supporters” gets together and sells some unlicensed and copyrighted merchandise. Manziel sues. Manziel profits. “Supporters” end up paying Manziel indirectly…and, quite legally. Holy friends-of-the-program, Batman!

The question is, how long before the NCAA realizes their gaff, and decides to rule that any profits from legal action must go into some sort of trust or be donated to the schools general scholarship fund, or other nonsense. Certainly the keepers of “integrity and institutional control” aren’t going to allow something like this to go unchecked, are they?

If you are a lawyer with any sense of urgency and lack of scruples at all (boy, that’s a small group huh?), you’d do well to scan down a cold call list of every star athlete in the country to offer your services in obtaining copyrights and trademarks, because once this gets out, they are all going to want their piece of the pie before the NCAA backtracks from their own lack of institutional control.

Johnny Football is getting paid, and thousands of former NCAA star athletes who came before him are now facepalming themselves to death.

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