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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Report: Johnny Manziel among many stars tied to autograph brokers

Johnny ManzielJohnny Manziel was suspended for the first half of Texas A&M’s season-opening game against Rice on Saturday for his role in an autograph signing scandal.

Multiple reports indicated that the Heisman Trophy winner was paid to sign autographs for brokers who later sold the merchandise. The NCAA investigated the matter and spoke with Manziel, who told them he was not paid. As a result, the NCAA and A&M agreed on the half-game suspension.

Though the NCAA arrived at the light suspension because they could not find evidence that the quarterback was paid, the real reason they may have let Manziel off easily is because they did not want the autograph controversy to lead to a much larger scandal.

John P. Lopez of Sports Radio 610 in Houston reports that while investigating the Manziel matter, the NCAA learned that the quarterback was one of many star collegiate athletes with ties to the autograph brokers. Lopez says this “client list” included top players from many of the top conferences since 2004, though the nature of the players’ relationship with the brokers is unclear.

The rationale behind Lopez’s report is that had the NCAA suspended Manziel based on his ties to the brokers, they would have to do the same for all other players on the “client list.” The NCAA has the ability to retroactively rule players ineligible, which could have led to a historical mess of the organization vacating games and accomplishments.

If Lopez’s report is accurate, then that means the NCAA didn’t want the equivalent of a Biogenesis scandal on their hands, where they would have been forced to investigate a list and dole out punishments as they saw fit.

No matter how you look at it, Manziel got off easily, and the reason given for the half-game suspension — that others used him to make money — doesn’t even make sense.

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