Manziel Suspension A Crock, But Nothing Can Be Done
After much speculation, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel had his fate announced — he's suspended for the first half of Saturday's game against Rice.
When I first heard that, I had to do a double-take. I asked myself, "Is that all?" right after I resisted the urge to throw up. OK, it wasn't that extreme, but I was disgusted nonetheless.
Here's the ruling and how it was handed down, according to ESPN:
The statement said there was no evidence that Manziel received payment for signing autographs.
The NCAA and A&M agreed on the one-half suspension because Manziel violated NCAA bylaw 188.8.131.52, an NCAA representative confirmed. The rule says student-athletes cannot permit their names or likenesses to be used for commercial purposes, including to advertise, recommend or promote sales of commercial products, or accept payment for the use of their names or likenesses.
"If additional information comes to light, the NCAA will review and consider if further action is appropriate," the NCAA said in the joint statement. "NCAA rules are clear that student-athletes may not accept money for items they sign, and based on the information provided by Manziel, that did not happen in this case."
Then why was he suspended? If he did nothing wrong, then there should be no suspension.
Basically what this statement amounts to is the NCAA took everything Manziel said as truth and made their ruling based on that. But as we've seen throughout the offseason, Manziel's character has been brought into question on more than one occasion.
A.J. Green And Ohio State
A.J. Green and the 2012 Buckeyes have to be yelling at their TVs right now. Green was suspended for four games in 2010 for selling his bowl game jersey and the Buckeyes were ineligible last season for the tattoo scandal. But nothing happened to Manziel.
It seems that the NCAA did more investigating on those two than they did in this case.
Also, how did they complete their investigation into the autograph signings so fast, but the Miami scandal involving Nevin Shapiro has lasted forever in comparison? Why has the NCAA been dragging their feet on that, but wrapped up the Manziel investigation so quickly?
There are many more examples of the NCAA's wild inconsistency — Dez Bryant, for one.
I think there was a bigger reason why Manziel received such a small punishment and the investigation wrapped so fast.
Money, Money, Money
According to a Texas A&M press release, Manziel produced more than 1.8 million media impressions, which translates into $37 million.
Media impressions, the company officials explain, include news mentions from print, television and internet sources. The figures do not reflect increases from merchandise sales, ticket requests or donations to the school, all of which historically have risen dramatically at schools that have produced a Heisman Trophy winner. The Collegiate Licensing Company has calculated a five-year average sales/royalty revenue growth for institutions with Heisman Trophy winners — 27.5% (for time period July 1-December 30 of year of Heisman compared to previous year).
And that's just Texas A&M.
What about the NCAA, ESPN and CBS? How much money would they lose if Manziel was ineligible? What if Manziel was declared ineligible and wouldn't be available for the Alabama game? How much money would CBS lose in advertising revenue?
I don't believe for one minute that media outlets played no role in this (along with the NCAA). All parties realize Manziel likely is gone after this year and they need to make as much money off of him that they can.
What Can Be Done?
After this ruling, nothing can be done unless, like the NCAA statement says, something new comes out of this. And I don't see anything new coming out on this ... at least this season.
We just have to sit back and focus on the games at hand.
For those who are disgusted, hope that he throws four interceptions against Alabama and/or LSU. And wouldn't it be great if he had a mediocre season in 2013, plummeting his draft stock even further?
While nothing can be done, we can still choose to root against Manziel and call out the NCAA. That is our right as fans.