The NCAA is now on full investigation of Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel. According to sources from Outside The Lines, Manziel may have been paid twice for autographs on photos and sports memorabilia. One of the autograph signings was on a trip to Miami for the BCS National Championship Game. Manziel reportedly agreed to a five-figure amount to sign the memorabilia. Both sources claim to have seen the autograph signings, but both say they did not actually see money being transferred to Manziel.
The saddest part about any of Johnny Manziel’s antics is that nobody is really going to care. This is a normal thing, and he is supposedly being a normal college kid. Remind me again when it was normal for the NCAA to allow a player to escape unscathed despite his numerous media relations nightmares during this off-season. Manziel continually makes a mockery of the term “student-athlete”. He’s publicly made it known that he wants to get out of College Station as soon as possible. He may get his wish if the NCAA decides to make an example out of him. As long as the NCAA allows him on the field, Manziel’s antics will not go away. If Manziel steps on the field and beats Alabama again? All is forgotten. If Manziel steps on the field and wins another Heisman Trophy? Nobody will bring up these antics. If Manziel steps on the field and wins a national championship? Erect a statue for him at Texas A&M with his name in bronze lettering. Not enough people will care if he continues to play football, win, and make money for the NCAA.
The NCAA has a history of protecting athletes and institutions from penalties that would alter their season or the revenue those games would generate. Anyone remember the Julius Peppers situation at North Carolina? Peppers played both basketball and football for North Carolina while supposedly taking and passing fake African-American studies classes to boost his grade point average. It’s also worthy to note that even with the phony classes, Peppers would have still been academically ineligible. The NCAA may have forgotten about that, but there are plenty of people who haven’t. Banners at North Carolina are still hanging that should have been taken down a long time ago.
Since Manziel and his family have made it publicly known they are a wealthy family, he could receive special treatment. That is horrible to think about, but that kind of thing happens all the time. Manziel can be protected by the NCAA because of his wealth and his status as the reigning Heisman Trophy winner. Would the NCAA penalize a star player from competing when he creates so much revenue? There has to be a line crossed, and the NCAA has a history of walking on it instead of taking a stand.
The simple answer for Manziel would be to pay the money back that he earned. In most cases, if the money in question is paid back, the NCAA is usually just fine with that. Just ask former Kansas basketball player Josh Selby. Manziel’s antics will continue as long as the NCAA will enable him to do so. For now, that looks like it will be at least another season.