Found August 13, 2013 on StraitPinkie.com:
Ninety-nine times out of one hundred, I agree with everything the University of Louisville athletic department does. Between the success of the teams, both academically and athletically, and profitability of the department as a whole, I have to really try hard to find fault in the decisions they make. However, when it comes to disallowing autographs on the football team’s fan day, I have found that one time out of one hundred. For those who may not be aware, following the ongoing investigation regarding Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel and his alleged autograph for hire arrangements, as well as the subsequent news that several items with Teddy Bridgewater’s signature have made their way into dealer’s hands, Charlie Strong has decided to not allow his players to sign autographs at the upcoming Louisville football fan day. Here’s Charlie’s official statement on the matter: “I would like to personally apologize to our outstanding fans. However, because of the national problem of autographed items appearing for sale on E-bay and other websites, we have made a proactive decision to hold an open practice for the fans and forgo an autograph session. 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. 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.” For the record, I have no problem with Charlie Strong, or any coach taking action(s) if he believes it’s in the best interest of his program. In fact, that’s what a coach is supposed to do. Unfortunately, in this instance, despite my belief Charlie is simply doing what he thinks is right, I feel it is an overreaction to Manziel story. Yes, Teddy Bridgewater autographed items have been listed on websites and online auctions, but the number of items are miniscule when compared to Manziel’s, which at current time stand at over 4,000 according to the latest reports. Furthermore, UofL has already released a statement saying they have found no wrongdoing on Bridgewater’s behalf and no reason to believe anything inappropriate has occurred. If that is the case, which I believe to be true, then what is the concern for the player’s signing for fans at a day for the fans? Again, I understand not wanting to even open up the possibility of some shady characters attending fan day and having players sign multiple items that can then get sold on a website. As a matter of fact, in theory, I totally agree with it. But if that is a concern, then limit the number of items a fan can have signed or if UofL wants to put an age limit on autograph seekers, I am fine with that as well. Whatever the case, I feel there were several other avenues that could have been explored before going directly to a no autographs policy. Yes, you are protecting the players, but at the same time, at the expense of their own fans. Stupid Johnny Football.
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