Texas A&M fans can breath easy now. Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel was found not guilty of signing autographs for money, but he’s still going to be suspended for the first half of the season opener this weekend.
Manziel had been accused of taking money by several autograph brokers; one guy went as far as to say that he has paid Manziel $7,500 while another claimed to have paid a five figure sum. However, in the end the NCAA said that it found no evidence that Manziel had taken any money.
Why half of a game? Essentially because Manziel violated NCAA bylaw 126.96.36.199.
Student-athletes cannot permit their names or likenesses to be used for commercial purposes, including to advertise, recommend or promote sales of commercial products, or accept payment for the use of their names or likenesses.
”Student-athletes are often asked for autographs from fans, but unfortunately, some individuals’ sole motivation in seeking an autograph is for resale,” said Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice president of academic and membership affairs. ”It is important that schools are cognizant and educate student-athletes about situations in which there is a strong likelihood that the autograph seeker plans to resell the items.”
Officially, Texas A&M has declared Manziel ineligible. To be reinstated he is going to have to sit out the first half of Texas A&M’s game against Rice on Saturday, talk to his team about the lessons he’s learned over the course of this incident, and the school is going to revise its policy in regards to players signing multiple items for one person.
John Sharp, Texas A&M’s Chancellor, has been publicly speaking out in support of Manziel and was more than happy to express how he felt about him and head coach Kevin Sumlin following the announcement.
“I am proud of the way both Coach Sumlin and Johnny handled this situation, with integrity and honesty. We all take the Aggie Code of Honor very seriously and there is no evidence that either the university or Johnny violated that code.”
The only question left now is who will start the first half; junior pocket passer Matt Joeckel or dual threat freshman Kenny Hill.