While Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel continues to practice with the Texas A&M football team, the school continues the process of trying to figure out whether or not its star quarterback will be playing this season.
A&M, which is doing its own investigation into allegations that Manziel was paid for his signatures, realizes the football team opens the season Aug. 31 against Rice.
That doesn’t mean the school will speed up its process of due diligence in figuring out exactly what transpired with Manziel.
“Texas A&M continues to be in a fact-finding stage in response to the allegations,” senior associate athletics director Jason Cook wrote in an e-mail. “We are not working under any specific timeline, although we understand the significant interest with the start of the football season Aug. 31.”
The school is in a tough spot because if no decision is made by the opener and Manziel plays, it could forfeit any wins that Manziel participates in should the NCAA come back and rule that Manziel violated NCAA rules.
Of course, that would also mean the NCAA is investigating. No one at A&M is saying that’s the case either.
“It’s our long-standing practice to not respond to such questions concerning specific student-athletes,” Cook said in the e-mail.
According to ESPN, Manziel is alleged to have been paid a flat five-figure fee for selling signatures during a trip to Miami in January for the national championship game. ESPN also reported that Manziel was paid for signatures during an East Coast trip associated with the Walter Camp Award.
Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin said Monday that Manziel would continue to practice as if he would be the starter for A&M. Sumlin was non-committal about whether or not Manziel would play in the opener if the school was still investigating the allegations when the season opens.
Following the Rice game, the Aggies play Sam Houston State. Top-ranked Alabama comes to College Station Sept. 14.