I knew the Johnny Manziel story was too good to be true.
A refresher course for those who aren’t up-to-speed on “the story” — Manziel was a mega-hot-shot high school quarterback out of Tyler, Texas who was highly recruited by over a dozen Division I schools. He originally committed to Oregon, then magically changed his mind and signed on with the Aggies in 2011. He played the 2012 season as a red-shirt freshman and would go on to win the Heisman Trophy on the heels of an 11-2 season and a victory in the Cotton Bowl.
Short version — He was a 19 year old shooting star in the 2012 season and was on the fast track to “owning” the college football landscape in ’13 and beyond. The kid is one helluva football player.
Unfortunately, Manziel’s college football career is likely over, or at least it will be at some point in the next two months once the heavy hand of the NCAA comes busting down on him for his part in an autograph signing deal that reportedly paid him $7,500 in cash last January.
In case you’re not aware, a college athlete taking money in exchange for his autograph is AGAINST THE RULES.
(This is where the defenders of free enterprise will bloviate about how the rules suck and the NCAA and Texas A&M “profit” off of Manziel and if he can make a buck peddling his signature, by God he should be allowed to do that.)
This is also where sane people who understand that rules are in place to protect college sports from destroying itself will say, “What a complete dumb-ass that kid Manziel is…had the world by the short hairs but couldn’t stay clean.”
I’m one of the sane folks who laugh out loud at clowns like Manziel who have everything – EVERY. THING. – at their disposal in their college career and ultimately just need to remain compliant for four stinkin’ years and yet, they just can’t do it.
Dummies like Manziel don’t deserve a free college education.
I’m not even going to bring up the juvenile stuff that’s been haunting him all summer — like parking tickets, crashing parties at rival schools and getting drunk (and not yet legally 21, mind you) enough that it necessitated he “sleep in” one morning at a football camp hosted by The Manning Family. That’s just stupid behavior that most 20-somethings involve themselves in…it might show he’s immature, but it doesn’t have much to do with his eligibility at Texas A&M.
Taking money for autographs…that will put a severe cramp in his eligibility status in 2013. It’s one of the only ways he could ruin his career at A&M.
I can hear the A&M football coach now last June: ”Johnny, have yourself a great summer. Relax. Get a tan. Chase some girls. Listen to the new Camera Obscura CD. Work on your putting and your short game. Learn how to play chess.” And then, as Manziel leaves the room, the coach shouts out one last item: ”Oh, and please, whatever you do, try not to do anything that gets you kicked out off the team or puts you in hot water with the NCAA.”
Too late for that, of course. Johnny Football took care of that last January when he scooped up a bunch of dollar bills in exchange for signing his autograph about 600 times on various photos that would later be sold on eBay and other high volume websites with celebrity and athlete connections.
Oh, and he can also expect the I.R.S. to have a keen interest in that cash he took last January. That, of course, isn’t something he thought of eight months ago when he was busy playing big-time-athlete-businessman.
The issue, now, will focus on what the NCAA intends to do with Manziel once they conclude their investigation.
I can’t imagine they’ll let him continue his college career once they find him guilty which – without question – they’re going to do at some point soon.
This is the point where I’ll point out – CLEARLY – that Manziel hasn’t yet made any kind of statement on the situation. I assume he’s rivaling George Zimmerman for “Hider of the Week”. But, it will be important when he does comment, because that’ll tell us a lot about him, as a person.
Will he “man up” and say, “Yes, I took money for signing autographs.”? Or, will he do what some of sports other great men have done — like Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez, most recently — and lie to us?
Maybe that shouldn’t matter but it does to me.
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