Today ESPN reported that the NCAA is investigating Johnny Manziel for allegedly signing autographs for a Florida autograph dealer. Now the big question is this, can the NCAA prove that Manziel profited off the sale of those autographs?
ESPN reported as follows:
"The NCAA is investigating whether Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel was paid for signing hundreds of autographs on photos and sports memorabilia in January, "Outside the Lines" has learned. Two sources tell "Outside the Lines" that the Texas A&M quarterback agreed to sign memorabilia in exchange for a five-figure flat fee during his trip to Miami for the Discover BCS National Championship. Both sources said they witnessed the signing, though neither saw the actual exchange of money. Three sources said Manziel signed photographs, footballs, mini football helmets and other items at the request of an autograph broker named Drew Tieman. Two sources, who are aware of the signing arrangement, told "Outside the Lines" that Tieman approached Manziel on Jan. 6, when he landed at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to attend the game between Alabama and Notre Dame the next day.
After that meeting, three sources said, Manziel, accompanied by his friend and personal assistant Nathan Fitch, visited Tieman's residence and signed hundreds of items in the main room of the apartment despite the fact that there were many people in the room. Before Manziel left South Florida, after taking in the title game, he signed hundreds of autographs more, one source said."
The important detail here is that none of ESPN's sources can prove that Manziel actually received payment for these autographs. Under NCAA rules it isn't enough for Manziel to have merely signed the autographs. The NCAA must prove that Manziel profited off the sale of his autographs.
The relevant NCAA bylaw that governs this situation is found here:
"18.104.22.168 Advertisements and Promotions After Becoming a Student-Athlete. After becoming a student-athlete, an individual shall not be eligible for participation in intercollegiate athletics if the individual: (a) Accepts any remuneration for or permits the use of his or her name or picture to advertise, recommend or promote directly the sale or use of a commercial product or service of any kind."
Ah, the Friday mailbag is here. And while you're reading this I'll be sitting in a CLE making sure that I get my 15 hours of continuing legal education. The requirement that lawyers get 15 hours of continuing legal education every year is as close to water torture as the legal practice allows.
So it won't be that enjoyable.
But no matter how bad your week has been, it has probably been better than former Florida Gator and current Philadelphia Eagle Riley Cooper's past several days. We'll dive into his situation in the mailbag below.
In the meantime, our beaver pelt trader of the week is Memphis quarterback Jacob Karam who played the piano with cancer patients at St. Jude. It's an uplifting video. Watch it, you'll be glad that you did. But just a warning, it might get a bit dusty in your office.
Now on to the mailbag.
Four weeks from today college football officially begins.
And with the beginning of August comes the preseason coaches poll.
And it looks a lot like the end of the 2012 poll.
There are five SEC schools in the top ten.
Dee Liner, who has perhaps the greatest name in the history of the defensive lineman position, is a four star recruit in the Alabama Crimson Tide's top ranked 2013 class. After initially committing to Auburn, Liner, from Muscle Shoals, Alabama, flipped to the Crimson Tide.
This, as you might imagine, embittered quite a few Auburn fans.
So as soon as Liner took to instagram to post pictures of himself holding a stack of cash and saying that he never needed to worry about money anymore, well, it set off alarm bells. And immediately blew up my Twitter account and our email inbox.
Liner is on the far left, in the black shirt.
The other two guys either have their own wads of cash or they're all posing with the same wad of cash. You money detectives can scrutinize the cash.
Who knows how Liner ended up with this cash.
Maybe he's been working all summer for this amount of cash -- it's not like he's got ten thousand dollars there.
Maybe he's got a rich relative. After all, the one thing the NCAA can't discipline is rich parents. If your parents are rich there's no such thing as an improper benefit. Ask Johnny Manziel.
It's official, Johnny Manziel is Vincent Chase from "Entourage."
Over the weekend Manziel got kicked out of a Texas frat party and wore a Tim Tebow Jets jersey.
This almost broke the Internet.
Over two million people have watched Manziel leaving the Texas frat party.
For a twenty second video.
It's clear now that Manziel's closest comparisons no longer play college football, it's Hollywood. He's Vinnie Chase with the Heisman. Hell, according to my buddy Bruce Feldman, he even has a friend he calls Turtle. (Thanks to David Campbell for the image).