Johnny Manziel is reportedly under investigation by the NCAA to determine if he accepted a five-figure payment from an autograph broker to sign memorabilia while he was in Florida for the BCS National Championship Game in January. If the NCAA finds proof, Manziel could be ruled ineligible. Texas A&M has reportedly hired an experienced law firm to prevent that from happening.
USA Today Sports confirmed on Monday that Texas A&M has retained the services of Lightfoot, Franklin and White of Birmingham, Ala. to counsel them on the latest Manziel drama. The firm is the same one that represented Auburn and helped keep Cam Newton eligible during his pay-for-play investigation in 2010.
As we mentioned earlier, investigators would have to find the money Manziel was allegedly paid in order to rule him illegible. That would be no easy task, but a new report about a second autograph broker reportedly being asked for money by Manziel could complicate things.
Auburn’s legal fees from the Newton case totaled more than $170,000, according to USA Today. The Aggies are clearly willing to go to great lengths to protect Manziel and keep him eligible, which they should be able to do if the NCAA continues to struggle to get the autograph brokers to cooperate with their investigation.
At this point, it appears the only thing the NCAA has to work with is an “Outside the Lines” report which cited two unnamed people who claim to be aware of the arrangement between Manziel and the first broker. There is also a picture of Manziel signing a stack of photos, though that does not mean he received any compensation for doing so. The NCAA will need a lot more info that it currently has for Manziel to miss games.Google+