Johnny Manziel Suspension Continues to Show NCAA’s Lack of Integrity

Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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  • Texas Aggie

    First off, allegations do not equate to actions. The fact that the NCAA suspended him at all with no proof that he broke any rules is a lack of integrity by the NCAA. If someone is accused of burglary or any other crime, they are innocent until there is proof presented by the accuser. If we just started blanketly punishing players for alleged rule breaking, everyone would just start accusing the best and brightest the sport has to offer to keep their team from being able to play them in big games. The NCAA has gone too far by suspending Manziel at all and only actually suspended him to avoid the PR nightmare they would have faced had they drug the name of a college athlete they supposedly represent through the mud when there was no solid evidence of any wrong doing. While some may call it naive to believe that he did not take money, the fact is that there is no evidence to link him to the money. Anyone who knows the Manziel family knows that Johnny, his father Paul and mother Michelle will not turn away those who bring memorabilia for him to sign; at least not before this event. To even suggest that “nobody would sign that much for free” or anything else that has been reported by various news sources is preposterous. Johnny has signed hundreds and thousands of footballs, photos, and jerseys sent to him and his parents by fans since he began his ascent in the heart of Aggieland.

    To those who have decided to bring the University under fire, please stop. That is nonsense. Texas A&M is one of the classiest institutions in the nation. It has a reputation for integrity that ranks among the top five in the nation, and the other four ahead are all service academies. They have a stricter honor policy than two of the service academies and is exactly the same as the strictest honor code in the nation, The United States Military Academy at West Point. “A cadet (Aggie) will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.” Suggesting that the University would compromise these values for a player on the football team is once again preposterous. An Aggies word is their bond. If Johnathan Paul Manziel has said that he did not take money for autographs, then he did not take money for autographs. If it were found out that he lied, he would be subject to school administrative punishment that would dwarf that of the NCAA. He could face long term academic probation, removal from all extracurricular activities, scholarship revocation and possibly dismissal from the University. As a lifelong Aggie I know the ferocity with which members of the 12th Man will support their student athletes and students, but I also know that every Aggie knows the tradition and reputation of the University is paramount to any individual. No one is greater than the whole, no one.

    In short, no proof means there should be no punishment. It does not mean innocence, but it does mean that punishment for the allegation should not occur. Also, please do not forget that an Aggie’s word is his bond. If this ever ceases to be the case, one would have to wonder if that person is really worthy of calling themself an Aggie and is very unlikely a member of the Century Club.