Another week, another Johnny Manziel story for the sports world to absorb. The quarterback for the Texas A&M Aggies, and the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner, is in the news once again this week.
Sure, Manziel’s offseason has had many storylines. From bad tweets to oversleeping at the Manning Passing Camp, to partying with the enemy (the Texas Longhorns, at a fraternity party), Johnny Football has remained in the spotlight.
However, if the latest story turns out to be true, it’s the most serious one yet. ESPN’s Outside the Lines reported on Sunday that Manziel was paid a five-figure fee for signing photographs and other memorabilia during a trip to South Florida for the BCS Championship Game. If true, that claim would obviously violate Manziel’s amateurism, as well as NCAA rules, which could put some, or all of the 2013 season in jeopardy for the signal-caller.
But before we jump ahead to that conclusion, let’s keep in mind that these are simply reports at this time. The NCAA is apparently investigating the reports, but will not comment specifically on any ongoing cases — meaning that at this point, Manziel is still eligible to play.
On Monday, A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin addressed the situation to the media, saying “our university is doing its due diligence to find out the facts. As the facts start to come in, we’ll adjust accordingly.”
Sumlin also said that at this point, nothing has changed on the football field. Manziel is still the quarterback and the Aggies are still working on developing their backups.
The approach that Sumlin is taking is the correct one. First and foremost, Sumlin has the nation’s best playmaker on his team, and until told otherwise, there is no reason for Manziel not to practice. And secondly, if the Texas A&M administration thought there was something to worry about, they would immediately notify Sumlin, who would then pull Manziel off the practice field.
But until that point comes, Sumlin and Manziel will handle business as usual.