Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel was reported to have allegedly signed thousands of autographs and received payment for them. Understandably, he took a lot of heat from very many angles. The NCAA interrogated him for a reported five-to-six hours, trying to get to the bottom of the whole scandal.
Today, the NCAA took the easy way out and just slapped a small half-game penalty on their prized reigning Heisman Trophy winner. Manziel will sit out the first half of the Aggies game versus Rice. Oh no, will the NCAA forbid him to participate in warm-ups too?
This investigation is quite reminiscent of the NCAA’s investigation into former Duke basketball player, Lance Thomas. Before entering the NBA Draft, Thomas bought an insane amount of jewelry, and the NCAA investigated whether he received funds from an agent for his purchases. The money trail could not be traced back to Thomas, and the NCAA could not find anyone to rat Thomas out.
With Manziel’s case, they went straight to the source and he completely denies receiving any funds for his autograph signings. The NCAA closes the book on the ordeal because, again, they cannot find anyone to sing like a canary and tell them Manziel received money.
Reportedly, Manziel’s suspension is based upon the breaking of an NCAA bylaw. I won’t go into the legal jargon with you, but the bylaw basically states that Manziel was not allowed to sign memorabilia under the impression that it would be sold later. Manziel did not publicly do anything to stop the memorabilia from being sold, therefore, he was punished. For the NCAA to use a bylaw for the reasoning is laughable. They want us to believe Manziel supposedly signed around 4,400 items knowing they would be sold, but refused to accept any money from it.
You have to be kidding me. He might as well re-nickname himself Johnny “Signed” Football.
While the NCAA has allowed guys like Thomas and Johnny “Signed” Football to make a mockery of their bylaws, they have thrown the hammer down on other athletes for far lesser accusations.
Take into account the story of former Kentucky football player Jeremy Jarmon. The NCAA suspended him for his entire senior season at Kentucky because he took a banned supplement. The item was bought over the counter at a nutrition store as a dietary aid while he was recovering from an injury. Despite self reporting the violation and the substance not being a performance enhancer, Jarmon was victimized by the NCAA. Jarmon missed 12 games for drinking a protein shake versus Manziel missing a half of a football game because he signed 4,400 autographs and refused to take any money.
Essentially, the NCAA says drinking a protein shake is 24 times worse than signing autographs knowing they would be sold. Maybe if Jarmon had a cool nickname, won a Heisman, played at Duke or any other relevant football team, he would have been acquitted.
Brian Lewis is an SEC Football Writer for RantSports.com. You can add him to your network on Google for more of his work.