In the wake of an autograph scandal, last year’s Heisman Trophy winner Johnny “Johnny Football” Manziel has been penalized by the NCAA, college football’s governing body, for exactly one half. Manziel will miss the opening half of this Saturday’s Aggie game with Rice.
The NCAA and Texas A&M came to an agreement this Wednesday stating that Johnny Manziel did not receive any compensation for autograph signings in which he participated. What Manziel did, however, was violate the NCAA bylaw which states that a student-athlete cannot use his or her name or likeness for commercial means. That would include any advertising, recommending or promoting sales of business products, or accepting payment to use a name or likeness.
While Manziel did not accept payment, the NCAA felt that he should have known better than to sign anything. That was the reasoning for the suspension. As part of his penalty, Manziel will have to meet with his teammates and discuss what he has gained from this ordeal. Texas A&M will also be responsible for educating its student-athletes about signing autographs.
With Johnny Manziel out for at least the first half on Saturday, Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin plans to start either junior Matt Joeckel or freshman Kenny Hill. Joeckel, who has thrown just 11 passes in his college career thus far, is more of a pocket passer. A year ago, Hill was a dual-threat QB at Texas high school power Southlake Carroll HS.
Sumlin isn’t worried, though, and is confident either Joeckel or Hill will be just fine behind a solid offensive line. With Manziel out, his odds to win the Heisman Trophy dropped from 12-1 to 6-1. He is actually third behind No. 2 Jadaveon Clowney (5-1) and Braxton Miller (3-1).
The NCAA has said that if it finds any additional information, they will review it and consider further action against Manziel, if it is appropriate.
Texas A&M chancellor John Sharp was proud of both Sumlin and Manziel for the way they handled the whole situation. A&M, like the military academies has a Code of Honor that is taken very seriously. There is nothing that shows that Manziel or the university violated the code.
Manziel’s attorney, Jim Darnell, stated that he believed Manziel did not commit any violation of NCAA rules. However, he, Manziel, and the university accepted the terms of the suspension so that the QB could get back to playing as soon as possible.