Johnny Football and the NCAA

Some random thoughts on Autographgate:

  • Proof is in the pudding.  The NCAA has reason to suspect – probably even good reason to suspect – that something fishy went on.  But as Stewart Mandel points out, suspicion is a long way from proof, especially for the NCAA these days:

    However, the NCAA cannot suspend a player on mere suspicion. It needs hard proof. Even before the Miami misconduct scandal that led to a mass exodus of its top investigators, the NCAA’s enforcement department has done little to inspire confidence it can get to the bottom of such matters. This particular situation, however, may be fairly cut-and-dried.

    As a current NCAA athlete, Manziel is required to cooperate with investigators or risk forfeiting his eligibility (see: Maurice Clarett and Dez Bryant). That includes supplying bank records if asked. If there’s a mysterious deposit somewhere, he’ll have to explain it.

    First, keep in mind that no one claims to have seen any compensation pass between the two.  But even if it did, what if Manziel was smart enough to get paid in cash?  If the autograph broker refuses to cooperate and there’s no such mysterious deposit, what’s the NCAA got left?

  • Fine for me, not for thee.  It seems to me that there’s a real risk for the NCAA that this matter turns a bright spotlight on the unfairness of letting schools profit off a student-athlete’s likeness while denying the same opportunity to the student-athlete.  From the ESPN article that broke the news:  “The value of Manziel is clear in the memorabilia and appearance market: Independent merchandiser Aggieland Outfitters recently auctioned off six helmets signed by Manziel and Texas A&M’s other Heisman Trophy winner, John David Crow, for $81,000. Texas A&M’s booster organization, the 12th Man Foundation, sold a table for six, where Manziel and Crow will sit at the team’s Kickoff Dinner later this month, for $20,000.”
  • Mr. Conventional Wisdom’s selective memory.  I could not believe that Tony Barnhart actually compared Manziel’s situation to Herschel Walker without noting the circumstances surrounding Herschel’s early departure from Georgia in 1983.  Walker’s agent at the time, you may recall, initiated contact with the New Jersey Generals of the USFL, an action which cost Walker his last year of college eligibility.  What may not be so easily remembered, though, was that the USFL prohibited contact with college undergraduates.  Presented with the fait accompli, the league folded on enforcing that rule because, according to its president, “… faced with lawsuits on the league’s denying a person the right to make a living, he considered it fruitless to challenge the arrangements made by Walker with the Generals.”

Meanwhile, somewhere in this great land of ours, Cecil Newton is chuckling.

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53 Comments

Filed under The NCAA, WOAH! It's Johnny Football!

53 responses to “Johnny Football and the NCAA

  1. DawgPhan

    Not expecting Johnny Football to miss any games over this, but it has already become very tiring. Hope that Bama knocks them off early and we can get back to not caring about what happens in texas.

    • I keep telling my Aggie friends: I’ve been where you are at. Winning that tight game in Tuscaloosa and feeling like a contender with Bama coming in to your place. My best advice to them is to hope your team doesn’t wear black jerseys.

  2. uglydawg

    Divide the money AJ got for selling his jersey by 4 and you have the basis for a one game penalty. Now divide the amount JM made off of his signatures (if you can find it), by that basis and you will have the number of games he will be suspended….riiiiight. My point is not to demand that stiff of a penalty for this unruly player but to demonstrate how FUBAR the NCAA is.

    • James

      So actually never thought about this: where did AJ’s money go? I’m assuming paying it “back” to someone was part of the deal?

  3. Hey Ug-Li, I was doing the same math and coming to the same conclusion when I read the article. There is no consistency with the NCAA, none.

    • Ubiquitous Ga Alum

      Kolton Houston would disagree that the NCAA is anything less than consistent … and he has 2+ years of evidence or specimens if you prefer

    • Dog in Fla

      Are you trying to kill the Summer of Mark spontaneity?

  4. RocketDawg

    I will always believe that one of the reason’s AJ was suspended was because 1) he was cooperative with the NCAA and 2) the UGA athletic department did absolutely nothing to help him out. aTm on the other hand will stonewall, delay, and do everything they can to keep Johnny Douchbag on the field as long as they can.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      “2) the UGA athletic department did absolutely nothing to help him out.”
      +1. Give them credit for handling the Jarvis Jones questions of eligibility by dropping the local talent and going pro. I don’t remember what it cost but it was worth it.

    • AusDawg85

      Yep. The proper path has been made clear when dealing with the NCAA. Aggies will simply conduct private investigation (hey Johnny, did you get paid? Wait, don’t answer that!) then not declare any findings. If NCAA finally comes-up with proof, they simply claim little Johnny lied to them…can’t hold them responsible.

      Question: How many reps do you give Johnny’s backup in practice this month?

      • The Lone Stranger

        A: I give the 2nd stronger a little taste in the event that Bammer hammers Manssier into a paste. But then, aTm will probably be shuttling in the No. 2 kid liberally in three tuneup a vs. Rice & Sam Houston.

  5. Moosefish

    Did anyone else catch in the myriad of articles on this subject that Mr. Manziel has a personal assistant?

    Thank you Aaron Murray for not being a giant douche-nozzle.

    • uglydawg

      .Thank you. Aaron Murray for not being a giant douche-nozzle.”
      Thank YOU Moosefish for giving me a big laugh this morning…That’s funny!

    • Bryant Denny

      According to the Thompson article, he’s a buddy that quit school for a year to tag along.

      Perhaps he’s got the same pay structure that Matthew did before he become a disciple. I keed, I keed…

    • StatGal

      Yeah, that caught my eye in a big way too. Pedestals that high are made to be fallen from! Who’s advising him? Where are this kid’s parents?

      And yes, we’ll take Aaron, thank-you-very-much!

      • gastr1

        They’re busy whining to ESPN reporters that they’ve lost control of Johnny Football, that’s where.

        Honestly, I think it would be best for everyone around (other than T AM’s football team) that he just lose his eligibility and turn pro. Then the Inverted Tebow act will just be that of another goofy NFL player and not really cross anyone’s sense of propriety or legality.

    • Dog in Fla

      Not only does he have a personal assistant, he’s got a theme song and “back-up” band

  6. Mudcat's Impala...

    With all the stuff that went down with Albetar & Tuscaloosa Menswear (signing photos, autographs, dinners, suits, cash etc.) and the NCAA did nothing, I see this as a non-issue…

  7. Bob

    I was going to say, you can bet lots of these reporters ought to be looking into the T-town Menswear store and you beat me to it Mudcat.

  8. heyberto

    Yeah, this is a whole lotta nothin’ and won’t warrant attention unless it moves into a fruitful discovery phase, but I don’t think that’s likely.

  9. Cojones

    Let’s hope that’s not likely. The entire media-driven gossipy crap has already been slanted toward “Johnny Be Bad”. Investigative reporting my ass. The media has ratcheted Manziel’s activities into negative analysis such that some crows are licking their chops to invent the next career-defining “expose”. Watching sharks feed is not very interesting.

  10. Dog in Fla

    Today Paaawwwl ®TR considers himself to be the luckiest man on the face of the earth

  11. Bryant Denny

    Related to point #2 – I suppose you are right that this could shine a light on the subject, but it doesn’t dismiss the behavior, if true (not saying you are).

    Bottom line, this is a no-brainer in terms of NCAA violations (if it happened).

    I would also add that Manziel is also supposedly getting a fine education from A&M, even if he takes all of his courses online. Speaking of that, seems like online courses would reduce the value of that education folks want him to be compensated for.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      “…a no-brainer in terms of NCAA violations (if it happened).” Really? Remember Cecil Newton shopping Cam. Caught red-handed. A clear NCAA violation. Remind me what happened.

  12. HottCheese

    It seems to me that the reason an athlete cannot benefit from his/her likeness is because, (for example) UGA says, “Hey recruit. If you come here, your autograph will be worth $10,000 a year.” Recruit then goes to Auburn who says, “If you come here, your autograph will be worth between $100,000 and $120,000.”

    If this is the case, everyone on the team is now on the payroll. Is that what Im supposed to want? If that’s the direction we want to go, then the NCAA needs to go ahead and institute a salary cap (and the inevitable luxury tax for Alabama). Maybe I’m too “slippery slope” here, but this is certainly where college athletics would go. And fast.

    • James

      The idea that we’re not already here is kind of narrow-sighted. There’s a reason why the power schools continue to be the power schools — they have the fanbase to maximize exposure to recruits who have NFL aspirations.

      These things aren’t fully reconcilable. You can’t have the nostalgia that college football is built, some kind of team as embodiment of institution (“student-athlete”) and then college football as a forced activity (i.e. NFL min-age rules) for eventual NFL players, who will treat school the way current one-and-done basketball players do now.

      • HottCheese

        Call me old school, but I prefer payments to athletes to come in the form of a Trans Am. And under the table.

    • Biggus Rickus

      It’s more like a booster from UGA approaches the kid and says, “Here’s $20,000 if you sign this.” and a booster from AU offers him $40,000 for is “autograph”.

  13. Macallanlover

    I am so weary of the Johnny Moron story and hope every team he plays knocks him on his arse this year. From flashing the money photos to pitching tantrums like a 6 year old to etc., etc., etc. Always tired of the lame “he is only 20, didn’t you make mistakes when you were that age” responses from the Dr. Spock disciples. The guy is a punk thug who obsesses over the “m” and “e” part of team. I cannot even imagine how his teammates feel about his antics, which now jeopardizes the season they have spent all year preparing for.

    I have never seen a star in CFB act so recklessly. Success may have come fast to him, but it also did to Herschel, Peyton and several others. The social media atmosphere may not have existed in the 80s or 90s, but even if it had do you really think they would have needed over a dozen embarrassing incidents to get their act together? Some of his actions may be overblown by the times we live in, and many are trivial, but there is a serious character issue with Johnny. He had been pretty disgusting before but when he pranced into SEC Media Days and lied to everyone by blaming a cell phone alarm for the Manning Camp fiasco he lost me….and any other thinking individual. That was the best he could come up with after several days to come up with a response? Be a man Little Johnny!

    IF, and I know the facts on this incident aren’t all in, he is found to have accepted the money so brazenly for autographs, his college career is over, what NFL team is willing to spend high draft choice money on a 5′ 11″ loose cannon based on one year of starting experience in CFB? Not saying someone won’t, but given the physical questions that will surround him, the character questions surely will give pause. The guy has become either the most hated player in CFB, or the #1 laughingstock; take your pick. (I know, I know, look at that ND linebacker.)

    • Ryan Perrilloux? Maurice Clarett? There are a few who’ve outdone him sans Heisman Trophy, of course.

      • Macallanlover

        They certainly left a stain, but Johnny Moron is in a class by himself, if not in quality, certainly in quantity. The shear number of stories in a short period of time has been overwhelming. I cannot even blame the WWL for this onslaught.

    • mdcgtp

      At this point, I think even the media is annoyed that Manziel keeps popping up in the headlines at this point (even as they drool over the free content he provides).

      I think this is far simpler than you guys make it out to be. Guys don’t show up in a Miami hotel and sign for hours for no reason. this was not “charity” work. I have read the same rumblings regarding Alabama players for years, but this is a bit different because its not in town and can’t be swept under the rug locally. Never mind that Ohio state was NOT able to sweep its problems under the rug under tressel.

      I don’t think ESPN would run the story without believing it to be true. that does not mean it meets the NCAA’s burden of proof, but quite frankly, if the NCAA can simply place Johnny at the hotel and the flood of merchandise that came after, he will have a very hard time hiding the fact that he got paid. While it is possible that the guy who paid him refuses to cooperate, its hard to make the case that Johnny would go to the super bowl, sign a bunch of memorabilia for the sake of charity and not make a public display of his charity.

      My prediction…he is DONE for at least half of 2013 if not all of it.

      • I don’t know about “guys”, but ESPN is now reporting that Manziel signed plenty of stuff for free:

        The broker, who spoke to Schad under the condition of anonymity, said that Manziel signed about 50 items for him at the Texas A&M team hotel the night before the Nov. 10 Texas A&M at Alabama game. The person said that Manziel then signed about 200 more items a few days later, with the broker saying he did not compensate Manziel for either of those sessions.

        I don’t know what the truth is here, but I’d be a little less quick on the trigger about what’s going to happen to Manziel this season.

        • mdcgtp

          why would Manziel who apparently finds signing autographs burdensome and can’t sign all the items from “friends and family” choose to sign 50 items for a broker for no consideration whatsoever?

          It strains credibility. Obviously, I am guessing wildly on what the burden of proof is here, but I just don’t think the NCAA will rely on the claim that he was not paid.

          • If straining credibility is the standard, Cam Newton would never have won a Heisman Trophy.

            Burden of proof is real simple – either the NCAA finds the money Manziel received, or nothing’s happening.

            • Bryant Denny

              There’s two sides to the money, though: the one who paid and the one who received. Maybe JF fesses up and maybe he doesn’t. Not sure why the other side would fess up either, unless they aren’t Aggie fans. :)

              • Mayor of Dawgtown

                JF ain’t fessin’ up. aTm hired the same law firm that represented the Newtons. Methinks aTm and the Manziels will follow the time-honored and successful path of Auburn and the Newtons.

    • AusDawg85

      Who would draft him?! Jerry Jones. Needs someone in the wings for Romo and to fill all those seats with a “local” boy.

      #killingAmericasTeam

      • AusDawg85

        Opps…that was for Mac.

      • Macallanlover

        Agree, that is why I said “high draft money”; I am convinced someone will draft him regardless of the legit questions about both his skills and character. Jones would be a candidate since he is much more interested in marketing a product than putting a winner on the field. Little Johnny has still cost himself millions when compared to what he could have gotten, imo.

  14. Always Someone Else's Fault

    I figure JM’s going to show up on a sideline with a Brian Bosworth t-shirt (National Communists Against Athletes, wasn’t it?) and a mohawk. Gotta live your life to the fullest, right?

    I’ve never seen a family more media-naive than this group. The things the father said to the SI reporter, Uncle Nate, the personal battles with AM… they have no idea what they are dealing with. No clue. Manziel really could have used his time with the Mannings to see how you use the media instead of letting the media use you. Instead he got wasted and overslept. Gotta live your life to the fullest, right? Manziel is trading the life he could have at 28 for a few beers and some most excellent Twitter shots at 20.

    Check the Dennis Dodd hit piece sanctioned by AM. When your university starts placing “not our fault” pieces with national columnists, it’s time to surrender or move on.

  15. db

    The timing of this story stinks. Don’t get me wrong the kid has gone off the deep end. I still question this story coming out the day before A&M starts camp.

    • Macallanlover

      Given the voluminous screw-ups he has been associated with in the past 9 months, it would be hard to even find a safe time to schedule the start of practice. While this may be the more serious incident relative to eligibility, he has done several that make me certain I don’t want this Hypesman Trophy winner hanging around the UGA team. I feel sorry for Sumlin and the rest of the players…most if all for the back-up that transferred after almost beating JM for the starting QB job last August.

      I know everyone enjoys a good conspiracy story but I don’t think for a minute that the WWL sat on this 48 hours. The incident occurred several months ago, breaking in the summer is about right. Takes a little while for information to escape the inner-circle. Hell, it took decades for someone to nail tosu, and State Penn.

  16. ScoutDawg

    Kevln Sumlin is a mensch, if you will.

  17. ScoutDawg

    If the dollar don’t flit, you MUST acquit.