Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel is having one of the worst offseason’s I can recall in recent memory. No, he’s not suspended yet, but now “Outside The Lines” is reporting that two additional autograph signings have been uncovered, adding to the four known signings earlier reported. One signing occurred after the BCS National Title Game, and the other was in late January in Houston.
How much more can this go on? The number of autographs has climbed to a staggering 1,500 over the last two seasons. While nobody will come forth and say Manziel collected the $7,500 he was reportedly paid, how much was he supposed to rake in from the newest signings? It’s not against the law of the NCAA for any athlete to sign some autographs for the fans. The compiling evidence on eBay suggests that Manziel was not just signing a few items while he was trotting to and from the football field.
If you have ever been to an autograph signing, you know how it works. The athlete will sit at a table and sign the same pictures over and over again with the same pens. They may have more than one color, but not usually more than two. As they continually sign those same portraits, they will more than likely sign their name in the exact same spot. With college players who are just signing for the fans, you will have many different color pens. You will notice many different autograph placements. With Manziel’s autographs, everything is the same. The placements and the pen colors all suggest he sat down at a table and signed a massive amount of memorabilia.
With more evidence than ever to permanently shut down the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, will the NCAA finally act on any of this? How many more autograph signings have to come out before something is publicly known about the status of an investigation? Manziel’s ineligibility would be a blow to the NCAA, the SEC and college football as a whole. Manziel is the cash cow for the NCAA right now with his status as the Heisman winner, a quarterback in the SEC, and on a championship contending team. Without Manziel, how many people who would have tuned in to see him on the field occupy their time? There are fans of Texas A&M, and there are fans of Johnny Manziel. If you take the fans of Johnny “Football” away, how much money does the NCAA lose?
If the NCAA finds that Manziel has violated Bylaw 126.96.36.199 — accepting money for promoting or advertising the commercial sale of a product or service — he could be ruled ineligible. Even without proof of Manziel handling cash, he still could be found in violation of NCAA Bylaw 188.8.131.52. That bylaw requires a student-athlete to make every effort to stop the sale of products featuring his or her likeness. Under any circumstances, the NCAA should have already released some kind of information regarding their investigation. Judging by shear amount of autographs, Manziel does not appear to be making any effort to stop the sale of any product featuring his likeness. Because of the expanding evidence, Manizel may not feature his likeness on the football field any longer in college if the NCAA actually decides to do something about it.
Brian Lewis is an SEC Football Writer for RantSports.com. You can add him to your network on Google for more of his work.