ESPN: NCAA investigating Manziel over autographs

ESPN says the NCAA is investigating whether Texas A&M

quarterback Johnny Manziel was paid for signing hundreds of

autographs in January.

Citing unidentified sources, ESPN’s ”Outside the Lines” said

the Heisman Trophy winner signed items in exchange for a

five-figure fee during his trip to Miami for the BCS championship

game.

ESPN said sources told ”Outside the Lines” that Manziel signed

photographs, footballs, mini football helmets and other items at

the request of autograph broker Drew Tieman.

Reached at his home Sunday night in Pembroke Pines, Fla., Tieman

declined to make any comment or take any questions from The

Associated Press.

ESPN reported that a source said James Garland, the NCAA’s

assistant director of enforcement, contacted Tieman and at least

one person associated with the signings in June.

”We cannot comment on current, pending or potential

investigations,” NCAA spokeswoman Emily Potter told the AP in an

email statement Sunday night.

Texas A&M also declined to comment.

”It is Texas A&M’s long-standing practice not to respond to

such questions concerning specific student-athletes,” the school

said in an email statement to the AP.

It’s unclear what level of involvement the NCAA has at this

point. When a player is believed to have broken rules, it’s not

uncommon for a school to declare that player ineligible, then ask

the NCAA to investigate and reinstate the athlete’s

eligibility.

Nate Fitch, a friend of Manziel’s, posted several tweets at that

time saying he was with the Heisman winner in South Florida for the

BCS title game. None of Fitch’s tweets around the dates of that

trip suggested anything about meeting with Tieman, or any

memorabilia signings.

Tieman’s Facebook page was taken down Sunday night, but cached

images collected from the page included a photo of him and Notre

Dame’s Manti Te’o, which was purportedly taken Jan. 3, less than a

week before the BCS game.