Johnny Manziel’s crazy offseason since winning the Heisman Trophy has created plenty of headlines but has had little impact on what was expected from Texas A&M on the field.
That may have changed Sunday.
According to ESPN’s “Outside the Lines,” Manziel is being investigated by the NCAA for being paid for signing autographs on photos and sports memorabilia while he was attending the BCS National Championship in Miami in January. According to the report, Manziel was paid a five-figure fee for the signing.
If the NCAA finds that Manziel violated NCAA rules by accepting money for promoting or advertising the commercial sale of a product or service (NCAA Bylaw 220.127.116.11), Manziel could be ruled ineligible.
Just last week in an article in Sports Illustrated, Manziel said signing autographs was the No. 1 stressor in his life. Manziel said he’s been approached by family members, school officials, teammates, friends as well as those who have tried to profit from his signature.
If the Aggies lost Manziel, it would be a huge blow. Manziel’s backup last season, Jameill Showers, transferred to UTEP. Junior Matt Joeckel, the twin brother of first-round pick Luke Joeckel, is listed as No. 2 on the A&M depth chart. Joeckel played in five games in 2012, throwing a total of 12 passes.
The Aggies have media day Monday and their first practice. Manziel was originally listed as one of the seven players who could possibly be attending the media day pending summer class schedules. The school released an updated list Sunday and Manziel was no longer on it.
The school is not commenting on the investigation.
“It is Texas A&M’s longstanding practice not to respond to such questions concerning specific student-athletes,” a release from the school read.
The Aggies, who open the season Aug. 31 vs. Rice, are the preseason No. 6 team according to the USA Today coaches’ poll. That’s the highest the Aggies have been ranked in the preseason since 1995.