The ongoing saga that is Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel’s offseason continued on Sunday, as ESPN’s Outside the Lines reported the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner is under NCAA investigation.
The report alleges Manziel agreed to sign memorabilia for an autograph broker in Miami in January. Manziel was reportedly paid five figures for the signatures, but witnesses never saw an exchange of money.
An interesting tidbit in the report was the authentication companies and the Manziel items on the internet. According to ESPN.com’s report, PSA/DNA and JSA have authenticated the autographs, and the items are numbered sequentially. And Outside the Lines also mentions large quantities and numbered autographs are generally done for sale.
What Does This Mean for Texas A&M?
Right now, nothing. As the past few months have showed, the NCAA’s investigative arm doesn’t have the best reputation (see the Miami case).
Being under investigation doesn’t mean a suspension is coming, but this is something that will play out over the next few weeks. And considering all of the factors in play, it may take some time for the NCAA to sort this out.
Needless to say, Texas A&M and Johnny Manziel have to hope for a quick investigation, especially with the season just a few weeks away.
What if Johnny Manziel is Suspended?
Again, it’s too early to know if Manziel will be suspended. But if the sophomore quarterback is ruled ineligible, the consequences on Texas A&M’s 2013 season are huge. The Aggies are picked in the top 10 of most preseason polls and were projected to be one of the teams in the mix for a BCS bowl.
There have been similar cases in recent years, as Georgia’s A.J. Green was suspended for four games in 2010 for selling a jersey, and six Ohio State players were suspended under Jim Tressel for trading memorabilia for tattoos.
What if Manziel is suspended four games? He would be forced to sit out contests against Rice, Sam Houston State, Alabama and SMU.
Obviously, the Sept. 14 matchup against Alabama is expected to shape the national title picture and is one of the most-anticipated SEC contests for 2013. But games against Rice, Sam Houston State and SMU are winnable without Manziel. A six-game suspension would be a bigger problem for Texas A&M, as road games at Arkansas and Ole Miss won’t be easy.
If Manziel misses a bigger portion of the schedule, Texas A&M’s SEC West title hopes are finished.
The waiting game. It’s important to note that Manziel is simply under investigation, and none of the allegations have been proven as fact. And it's entirely possible this investigation could turn up nothing, and Manziel won't have to miss any games.
Obviously, Texas A&M has to prepare for the worst. With fall practice starting, Matt Joeckel and Matt Davis will be under extra scrutiny by the coaching staff.
Although Manziel has spent plenty of time in the headlines this offseason, none of the previous stories, photos or tweets had any impact on Texas A&M’s season. But with a NCAA investigation hanging over Manziel, a season that looked so promising in Aggieland in April has begun to erode.
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