Florida State already is investigating quarterback Jameis Winston for his alleged involvement in a sexual assault from December 2012, and now the university is looking into allegations that the Heisman Trophy winner collected money for autographs, ESPN reports. If Winston is found to be in violation of the NCAA rule that bans players from making money off memorabilia, he could be looking at an indefinite suspension, similar to the one doled out to Georgia running back Todd Gurley. The latter Heisman hopeful was suspended last week.
Without prompting from the ACC or the NCAA, ESPN reports that the university’s athletic compliance department decided to look into how a large batch of signed memorabilia ended up being verified by a single company, James Spence Authentication, which has authenticated at least 340 certified Winston autographs. The same company is connected to the Gurley memorabilia case.
James Spence, the memorabilia company’s owner, has yet to comment on the Winston wares, but he did say about the Gurley goods that most were submitted for authentication by a single individual, who he believes to be a dealer, ESPN reports.
Despite the investigation, Florida State Coach Jimbo Fisher is standing squarely with his star Seminole on this one.
“Kids sign things all the time,” Fisher said (via ESPN) after Saturday’s 38-20 win against Syracuse. “So what do you want them to do, stop signing stuff? We could make them not have any fans from that standpoint and not sign for anybody. That’s what it’s going to come to, and that’s a shame for college football, that somebody exploits a kid.
“Now if they’re getting paid for it, then I don’t have any knowledge of that. I don’t believe Jameis did.”