NCAA 1/2 Hour Suspension of Manziel in Context

After weeks of stories about the heinous conduct of Heisman-Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, the strong arm of the NCAA has given him a one-half hour suspension. That’s right, one-half hour, or in football terms, the first half of Texas A&M’s season opener against Rice.

Why?

If you believe the media, Manziel engaged in a pattern of outrageous conduct, signing autographs from here to eternity, for a tidy profit. Rumors say he put his paw print on photos, jerseys, and anything that didn’t move too fast, up to several thousand times. Those same rumors say he received thousands of dollars for doing so.

However, in an age when we see two, three year NCAA investigations, the college sports ruling body concluded its Manziel investigation in a few short weeks, and concluding that



rumors were not evidence, determined that while he signed a whole lot of stuff, that he, himself, never received any payments. Thus, as they ruled, he committed only an ”inadvertent” violation of NCAA rules. Thus, 1/2 hour. This is based on the actual NCAA investigation, during which brokers who were happy to tell the press all about the

signings and they payments refused to talk to investigators. Hence, it would appear, a lack of evidence of wrongdoing led to a quick resolution and extremely modest penalty.

Interestingly enough, it was A&M, according to all reports, that proposed the length of the suspension, and placed additional burdens on itself, including doing a revision of its “educational process regarding signing autographs”

Turning in to LA Sports Talk radio on KSPN (ESPN’s Los Angeles outlet) yesterday to hear long-time LA top dogs Steve Mason and John Ireland, I was totally disgusted with their again dredging up the penalties given to the usc brain surgeons a couple of years back, and their absurd allegations that the pervasive criminal conduct of the usc athletic department was less deserving of serious penalties than Manziel and Texas A&M.

They summarized the violations committed by sc as reggie bush’s parents living in a house rent-free, 100 miles from the sc campus. They totally ignored any violations committed by bush himself, the nature and extent of the conduct of his family members, and the additional violations committed by the men’s basketball and woman’s tennis programs. They also made it sound as if less money was involved in the bush matter than the few thousand dollars that may or may not have been received, either by brokers or possibly

by Manziel. For the record, the bush family received somewhere in the area of $300,000 in improper benefits, in free rent, travel, hotels, and payoffs of pre-existing debts. Their receiving these benefits was in consideration of bush agreeing, in clear violation of NCAA rules, to hire the agency paying these benefits to represent him. When bush broke the agreement and hired a different agent after

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this outfit had paid out all these benefits, they blew the whistle on bush and sc, which, according to the NCAA report, had “fostered an atmosphere in which student-athletes could feel entitled to special treatment and which almost certainly contributed to the difficulties of compliance staff in achieving a rules-compliant program.”

It’s all laid out in the official 67 page report, which I summarized here on June 10, 2010. The bottom line, as per NCAA findings:

“From December 2004 through March 2009, the institution exhibited a lack of control over its department of athletics by its failure to have in place procedures to effectively monitor the violations of NCAA amateurism, recruiting and extra benefit legislation in the sports of football, men’s basketball and women’s tennis.”

Also remember that TIm Floyd’s basketball program (and woman’s tennis) were big parts of the sanctioning. Floyd had been caught red-handed transferring cash to a least one player, among other violations in his department, over which he lost his job.

sc was NOT unfairly treated by the NCAA. With their record of five prior major infractions in the football program alone, if these matters had been treated as separate events, sc could have received the NCAA Death Penalty, which it so rightly deserved.

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