After several weeks of allegations involving Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, the NCAA has decided on a punishment for his allegations: the first half of the Aggies’ season opener against the Rice Owls. The report of Manziel’s suspension comes from ESPN.com’s Brett McMurphy, Travis Haney, and the Associated Press.
Reports began surfacing that Manziel alledgely accepted cash offers in exchange for his autograph; Manziel would later deny these claims. The biggest part of the allegations was the exchange of actual money, which Texas A&M stated that there was “no evidence” of monetary exchange for Manziel’s autographs.
Manziel has essentially become the equivalent of the New York Jets in college football, continually making headlines, whether it was leaving the Manning Passing Academy early for missing meetings, or pictures of him popping bottles in the Winstar Casino following the Aggies’ victory in the Cotton Bowl. A timeline of Manziel drama has been well documented over the past months by Scott Glesson of USA Today Sports.
But this slap on the wrist by the NCAA proves that they aren’t willing to dole out the punishment willing and necessary for a player who allegedly took illegal cash benefits, all despite the NCAA’s consistent claim of wanting to preserve the ‘amateurism’ of collegiate athletics. They’ll slap the wrist of a player like Manziel at a program like this, and yet sink an entire football program at Penn State by wrongfully punishing the current players, who had nothing to do with the unfortunate incidents that transpired there.
The NCAA wouldn’t dare punish the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy that harshly, especially one that plays for an SEC team. The NCAA’s integrity continues to take hits and become less viable as they continue to take stances like this one. From refusing to even start paying its players, but then profiting off of their own names, everything about the NCAA has become a slap in the face.
Different players in Manziel’s position would have easily been suspended in the same circumstances for their actions. The NCAA’s ability to disregard their own rules in these actions further demoralizes their integrity as an organization and as the supposed governing body over sports. One half of a football game does not send a hard enough message to Manziel or the rest of college football, nor does it do any credit to the many college athletes who actually abide by the NCAA’s rules, as strict and hypocritical as they may be.
While valid arguments could be made about him missing the entire season, an even harsher suspension of at least four games would have sent a clearer message about the NCAA not being afraid to enforce their own rules on any college football player. But, unfortunately, under the NCAA and its president Mark Emmert, it’s the collegiate sports world we live in, where players can’t profit off of their own name, but the NCAA, BCS Conferences and television networks can. It’s also where loose cannon players like Manziel can get off, and have virtually free reign over any kinds of rules or regulations that the NCAA will fail to enforce.