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Report: Johnny Manziel asked for money from second autograph broker

Johnny Manziel OVO DrakeJohnny Manziel reportedly is being investigated by the NCAA for allegedly accepting a five-figure payment from an autograph broker to sign memorabilia while in Florida for the BCS National Championship Game in January. Now, ESPN reports that a second autograph broker says Manziel wanted to be compensated to sign autographs.

ESPN’s Joe Schad reports that Manziel signed autographs for a broker for no charge on two occasions in November. The sessions reportedly occurred the night before the Texas A&M vs. Alabama game in November, and a few days after the game. Manziel reportedly signed about 50 items in the first session and about 200 in the second. The broker tells ESPN that at a later date, Manziel would no longer sign for free, and that the quarterback’s personal assistant, Nathan Finch, said they would need money to sign items.

Schad says he received this photo from the second broker as proof that Manziel signed autographs for him:

Even if Manziel was paid to sign autographs — which would be a violation of NCAA rules — the Texas A&M quarterback might not have to worry about his eligibility being stripped. The NCAA would likely have a difficult time proving that Manziel accepted payment for the autographs, especially considering that the broker reportedly is not assisting NCAA investigators.

NCAA reportedly investigating Johnny Manziel for paid autograph signing

johnny manziel cashJohnny Manziel is being investigated by the NCAA for allegedly accepting a flat five-figure fee to sign autographs in January, ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” reports.

According to the report, Manziel was approached by autograph broker Drew Tieman after landing at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport the day before attending the BCS National Championship Game between Alabama and Notre Dame.

The two sides supposedly reached an agreement, because the report says Manziel and his friend/assistant Nathan Finch went to Tieman’s apartment, where the Heisman Trophy winner signed hundreds of autographs. Manziel also supposedly signed hundreds of more items before leaving Florida.

[Photo: Is this the man who paid Johnny Manziel for autographs?]

The NCAA’s assistant director of enforcement, James Garland, supposedly contacted Tieman in June about the allegations.

A slew of Manziel-signed memorabilia supposedly flooded the market in March, leading the NCAA to investigate. Texas A&M responded to an ESPN inquiry about the influx of Manziel-autographed memorabilia on the market with this statement in March:

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Ex-Tiger Mike McNeil accuses Auburn of changing grades, paying players

Mike McNeil AuburnMike McNeil, a safety on Auburn’s 2010 national championship football team, has accused the program of academic fraud, paying players, violating recruiting rules, and targeting players based on looks for random drug testing, according to a report by Roopstigo.

McNeil is one of four former Auburn football players who were kicked off the team after being charged with armed robbery in 2011. One of the players, Antonio Goodwin, was found guilty last year and sentenced to 15 years in prison. McNeil refuses to take a plea deal because he insists his innocence. He is scheduled to go to trial on April 8.

In an excellent investigative report by Selena Roberts, formerly of Sports Illustrated and The New York Times, McNeil levies numerous accusations against Auburn’s football program. He says the program and school disassociated themselves from the players after the charges. His mother also accuses Auburn and the local police of trying to keep the armed robbery story from the media.

According to Roberts, academic fraud in the form of grade changing was common at Auburn. Three Auburn players say they were told as many as nine of their teammates would be ineligible to play in the BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 10, 2011, but somehow all of them were cleared. McNeil says he had a grade changed from an F to a C after going through the athletic department (he had no luck having the grade changed when he approached the teacher and the teacher’s boss).

Roberts documents instances of Auburn paying players. Former wide receiver Darvin Adams, who led the team with 52 catches and 963 yards during the 2010 season, says coaches offered to pay him thousands to keep him from entering the NFL Draft. He left school and went undrafted. A scout reportedly says Auburn coaches gave negative reports to NFL teams about him.

McNeil says former Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, now the head coach at Florida, gave him $400 in cash after a practice. McNeil indicates there was no real motivation for the payment. He also says coaches gave players much more than the $50 maximum allowable daily amount for students hosting recruits for visits. He says the amount would be as much as $500 when they were hosting a top recruit, such as Dre Kilpatrick, who eventually signed with Alabama and became a first-round pick in the NFL Draft.

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NCAA bans Instagram photo filters

The NCAA is often criticized for its strict rules and practices, and restrictions like this are not going to help the organization’s image.

In an “educational column” posted on the NCAA’s website Wednesday, rules pertaining to photos sent to prospective student-athletes (aka recruits) were discussed.

There was one particular rule that stands out because it reflects everything that makes the NCAA so petty and unlikable. Apparently Instagram photo filters are a violation of NCAA rules.

Here’s what the column explains about the rule (the column was written in a question-and-answer format):

Question: May a coach take a photo and use software (e.g., Instagram, Photoshop, Camera Awesome, Camera+,) to enhance the content of the photo (e.g., changed color of photo to sepia tones or add content to the photograph), and send it to a prospective student-athlete as an attachment it to an email or direct social media message?

Answer: No, a photograph that has been altered or staged for a recruiting purpose cannot be sent to a prospective student-athlete.

Instagram is a social media service based around users uploading photos. It offers different tools to add a filter to the photo, such as turning an image black and white. And that’s considered an NCAA violation for coaches.

It’s rules like this that led former Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden to say that the NCAA makes it impossible to run a clean program. While some violations are more serious than others, something like this seems so petty that it makes you wonder why the NCAA bothers with it.

As lame as this rule is, it may not be the most seemingly pointless rule the NCAA has created. This one for sure is.

Also see
Vitamin Water drinks banned by NCAA
Mississippi State billboards ruled an NCAA violation

H/T Athlete Scholarships

Joe McKnight reportedly got a car, plane ticket from corrupt guy while at USC

USC did on Saturday what its become most known for in the sports world recently: win big in football, and have some players accused of violating NCAA rules.

The LA Times published a report on Saturday alleging that Scott Schenter, a corrupt figure in the LA city assessor’s office, provided ex-Trojan athletes Joe McKnight and Davon Jefferson with improper benefits. McKnight, a former running back now in the NFL with the Jets, is accused of being provided with a car and plane ticket by Schenter. Jefferson, a former basketball player, reportedly accepted $3,700 in cash.

The school plans to investigate the claims and could be subject to NCAA penalties.

Schenter has been charged for his role in a scandal where he allegedly offered tax breaks to folks in exchange for campaign contributions to Assessor John Noguez.

The Times uncovered emails from Schenter to Mercury Insurance that suggest he was insuring a Monte Carlo for McKnight to drive. They also found a receipt for an airline ticket purchased by Schenter for a passenger named “Joe McKnight,” who was flying to Louisiana — which is where McKnight is from.

Schenter told the times he provided the car to McKnight and cash to Jefferson.

McKnight was at the center of a car scandal in 2009 while in school when he was seen with a Land Rover. The car was registered to Schenter, but McKnight claimed it was his girlfriend’s car (which LBS has been told is actually true).

Schenter was doing what so many others do: trying to pay the athletes so that they would help him out. Schenter wanted them to help market some businesses he was developing. Sound familiar? That’s similar to what happened with Reggie Bush.

As for the entire situation, if you dig deep enough at probably any D-I school, you’ll find the exact same thing. I actually would have been surprised if McKnight weren’t getting some “improper benefits.” The problem is if you’re going to accept things, it’s with the understanding that you’re getting involved with people who have some loose morals and could therefore get you into trouble.

Jamar Samuels reportedly accepted $200 wire transfer from his AAU coach

Kansas State held out Jamar Samuels from its NCAA Tournament game against Syracuse Saturday because of an eligibility issue. Samuels reportedly accepted a $200 wire transfer from his AAU coach.

Jeff Goodman of CBS Sports spoke with Curtis Malone, Samuels’ former AAU coach with DC Assault, who confirmed he transferred the money to his former player. Malone says the money was necessary.

“It’s the same way when he played with DC Assault on road trips,” Malone told Austin Meek of The Topeka Capital-Journal. “When he didn’t have money to eat, he ate.”

“There hasn’t been anything extravagant or large lumps,” Malone said. “I don’t just give a kid money …”

Malone indicated to reporters he didn’t think what he did was breaking rules because of his relationship with Samuels’ family. Maybe he figured it was like an uncle giving his nephew some money to get by while in college.

Regardless, the NCAA doesn’t mess around when it comes to players receiving money, so Kansas State took precautions and sat him. They lost to Syracuse 75-59, meaning Samuels’ last collegiate game was a 1-point effort against Southern Miss. on Thursday. That’s a pretty crappy way to have his college career end, but he should have known better. I’m also not buying the “he needed to eat” excuse. Athletes have meals provided for them by the school when they’re on campus and on the road for games.

I’m Beginning to Lose all Faith in the Sanctity of College Sports

It’s becoming harder and harder to find a saving grace in college sports. Personally, I’d like to believe that the arena of college athletics is still the bastion of fine, upstanding amateur student-athletes and coaches who not only lead their teams on to the field of play but help to become mentors to sports’ next generation of leaders. (Then, again, I’d also like to believe that Erik Estrada is actually trying to sell me a valuable parcel of land in Utah that is in high demand.) However, that reality is slowly becoming tougher to believe in than the tooth fairy (even though someone in England just paid more than $31,000 for John Lennon’s molar, so apparently the tooth racket is alive and well). (Leave it to the English.)

Records show that “Eagles” is the most common nickname in Division I sports, though “Jurisprudence” might not be too far behind. There is an old joke in college football about having a school the football team can be proud of, a yarn that satirizes the fact that major college football is such a boon to many college campuses in terms of branding and revenue that academics often takes a backseat in the gridiron’s proverbial stretch limosine. This case could very well have been made at Penn State prior to the Jerry Sandusky abuse scandal which has turned the institution in State College into Sordid Valley.

Penn State was a school that had largely remained untarnished by the other scandals and incidents plaguing other schools. However, the revelations of the past week or so have caused the grandeur to be eradicated by a grand jury: a 46-year Hall of Fame coaching career blemished by a firing that abruptly took place amidst the issuing of a 40-count indictment against Paterno’s former assistant.

This latest episode certainly is the most egregious disgrace to hit college sports since 2003, when Baylor’s head basketball coach, Dave Bliss, urged players and coaches to paint Patrick Dennehy, a murder victim, as a drug dealer to soften the blow for killer/teammate Carlton Dotson. Bliss and his career still have yet to recover from the episode, even as he has attempted to coach again at the high school level.

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