COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — After an investigation, Ohio State has determined star quarterback Braxton Miller did not profit from the sale of items he signed at a Big Ten preseason kickoff luncheon.
Athletic director Gene Smith said Wednesday the university talked to Miller after someone offered autographs and signed memorabilia for sale online without the junior’s knowledge.
He said Miller had been cleared of breaking any NCAA bylaws.
“We’ve already looked at it,” Smith said. “There’s no issue there.”
ESPN has reported the NCAA is looking into whether Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner, was paid for signing hundreds of autographs in January. Those also appeared for sale online.
Asked if Miller had profited in any way from signing the items, Smith replied, “”No. No. There’s nothing. But we’re not the only school — there’s a bunch of athletes up there and I’m sure (those schools) are all checking.”
Miller was not available to speak with reporters after Ohio State’s practice on Wednesday. A message seeking comment from coach Urban Meyer was left by The Associated Press with team spokesman Jerry Emig.
Miller will be a third-year starter for the Buckeyes. He led them to a 12-0 record a year ago when Ohio State was banned from a bowl game because of NCAA violations stemming from a signed memorabilia scandal two years ago that rocked the program. Ohio State is still on NCAA probation for those problems, which took place when Jim Tressel was coach.
Miller rushed for 1,271 yards and 13 touchdowns a year ago and also passed for 2,039 yards with 15 touchdowns and only six interceptions.
Smith said he was surprised the source of the items signed by Miller.
“We looked at it and most of the stuff was from the Big Ten Kickoff luncheon,” he said, referring to an autograph session held in Chicago during the conference’s annual football preseason media days.
Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany was at Ohio State’s practice on Wednesday and was asked about the Manziel situation and he declined to talk about it in detail because he said he didn’t have all the facts.
“People and individuals, young people and older people, have to conform their conduct because more and more is public,” Delany said. “Really, we’re all human beings who make mistakes. I try not to judge because for the most part, as you know, we don’t have the facts. What we have is a little bit of information on a lot of situations that’s a half-inch deep and 4 miles wide.”
Smith said he spoke with Delany about the autograph-signing session, which lasted an hour or so, at the preseason luncheon.
“I was telling the commissioner, that’s one of the things we have to think about,” Smith said. “Most of that stuff (online) was from there. So if you get something signed by Braxton, you throw it up and sell it. (But) there’s no connection.”
Ohio State first heard Miller’s name mentioned with online sales of signed items on Sunday. Smith said the university spoke with Miller after that.
“We talked to Braxton, the whole thing, and there’s nothing there,” Smith said.