The NCAA is investigating Heisman Trophy winner and Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, who according to ESPN, accepted money to sign photographs, footballs, mini helmets and other sports memorabilia.
Multiple sources told “Outside the Lines” that during Manziel’s trip to Miami for the BCS Championship game, he traveled to the residence of autograph broker Drew Tieman, where Manziel signed hundreds of pieces of memorabilia before the pieces were sold.
Manziel reportedly received a five-figure fee for the signing, a violation of NCAA rules.
If the NCAA does find that he violated the rules — specifically NCAA Bylaw 126.96.36.199, which prevents players from accepting money for promoting or advertising the commercial sale of a product or service — he could lose his eligibility.
One source told “Outside the Lines” that NCAA assistant director of enforcement, James Gardland, contacted Tieman and at least one other person associated with the signings.
Memorabilia deals told ESPN they noticed an explosion of Manziel autographed items flooding the market after the BCS title game.
ESPN contacted the Aggies’ athletic department on March 10 to ask about the items. David Batson, the school’s compliance director, provided the following statement:
“Johnny has indicated on numerous occasions and, once again earlier today, that he has never (and to his knowledge, his parents, other relatives and friends have ever) been compensated through cash or other benefits or promises of deferred compensation for providing his autograph.”
Manziel has come under increasing media scrutiny as of late. The 20-year-old was sent home from the Manning Passing Academy last month after he reportedly overslept, although it has been reported that Manziel was actually hung-over.
Numerous photos of him drinking underage have also appeared on social media outlets.
If the NCAA does find that Manziel received compensation, it would be a huge blow to college football, tarnishing one of the great recent success stories for a college program.
With Manziel at the helm, Texas A&M went from being unranked in the preseason last year to defeating Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl.