Johnny Manziel: New autograph allegations raise more questions

August 13, 2013

Johnny Manziel is preparing to play. (Patric Schneider / AP)

With trouble continuing for Johnny Football over allegations that he was compensated for signing autographs, at least two schools are changing signing rules for athletes and a former NCAA investigator suggested that Texas A&M sideline its quarterback until his matter is resolved.

Miami Hurricanes players will be allowed to sign only school-issued posters at the annual CanesFest this weekend and Louisville’s approach is even more restrictive. At the Cardinals’ Fan Day on Sunday, players will not be allowed to sign anything.

There’s a lot at stake — and schools everywhere are considering how to handle autographs with the NCAA investigating whether Johnny Manziel received money for signing. ESPN, which reported the initial allegations, reported two more instances in which he allegedly received money for signing autographs and memorabilia.

If the NCAA determines that Manziel violated rules — no matter how unfair and hypocritical those rules about compensation may be in light of what the NCAA makes off athletes — Manziel’s eligibility would be threatened. It’s enough of a concern that at least one former NCAA official thinks it would be advisable for Manziel sit out until the matter is resolved.

“No one wants to play an athlete who’s later determined to be ineligible, especially such a high-profile player,” Mark Jones, a former NCAA enforcement director, told the San Antonio Express-News. “You don’t want to risk having to vacate those games later on.”

Miami and Louisville chose to try eliminate the possibility of violations and South Carolina and Ohio State, to name two other schools, are looking into whether their star players signed memorabilia that is being sold online and elsewhere.

“We have monitored the situation closely, and we decided to protect the eligibility of our players and operate under the principle that it not permissible to accept any type of compensation for their autograph or the sale of memorabilia,” Cardinals Coach Charlie Strong said in a statement released by the school. “I know this will disappoint a lot of our fans, especially the young children who look up to our players, but I strongly feel this is the best decision for our football program.”

Follow @CindyBoren on Twitter and on Facebook.

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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Cindy Boren · August 13, 2013