Why Texas A&M Should Bench Johnny Manziel

Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M from Twitter. Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M from Twitter.

J ohnny Manziel is already a hero to many. He’s the first freshman Heisman Trophy winner in college football history. He beat the championship-winning football team in Alabama to become the king of the Texas A&M Aggie nation. Parents across the country want their kids to have that kind of success. But do they want their kids to actually be Johnny Manziel?

Texas A&M is bigger than Johnn Manziel.

Texas A&M is bigger than Johnn Manziel.

Texas A&M is bigger than Johnn Manziel.[/caption]After all, who is Johnny Manziel? Is he a just 20-year-old kid with too much pressure on his shoulders trying to have a good time in college? Is he a sensational athlete given a second chance by an eager coach at the perfect moment in Texas A&M’s history? Is he a well-off, fame-seeking, rule-breaking rebel with a chip on his shoulder the size of Texas? Is he Texas A&M’s hero? Their savior? Their martyr?

Or is he the greatest threat to the future of football at Texas A&M?

For every brilliant play, there’s another picture of Johnny drinking underage. For every touchdown, there’s another stack of Johnny’s numbered autographs. For every trophy, there’s a tweet from Johnny demeaning his school’s name. And now he’s in the middle of an investigation for an autograph scandal that could end his eligibility at Texas A&M or worse.

What, the drinks in the bars and clubs are juice? Or every kid in college drinks underage? Which is worse, sleeping in and missing the Manning QB camp or being in another bed with another co-ed so nobody is there to wake you up? Gambling isn’t illegal at 20 in certain Indian casinos, right? Taking pictures with wads of cash is just something the rich and privileged youth do today; it could be from autograph sales, it could be from Daddy, it could be from grandpa at Christmas, or it could be from the tooth fairy fund from when Johnny was 12 and kept in the pillowcase he took with him to College Station.

I’m not trying to simply berate Johnny Football. I might not like the kid, I don’t even care about the “mutual combat” arrest a year ago. But the last thing I want is for him to miss any football games; we’ve only seen a taste of what he’s capable of on the field, and I want to see how that kind of offense holds up against fundamental football over time.

More importantly, the last thing I want for a program like Texas A&M is to lose their future for betting on a single young man with questionable ethics. That’s exactly what’s at stake here. Make absolutely no mistake, Johnny Manziel is helping to put the entire program at Texas A&M at risk for a long time, and the university itself might be helping.

If you don’t already know the story, Johnny Manziel is alleged with being paid for signing thousands of items including numbered editions of photographs over multiple dates with several professionals across hundreds of miles. For now, we can all argue the NCAA might not be able to do anything and they likely won’t find a money trail, if there is one, that is.

I’m writing this as an Alabama fan, so let me first say I don’t hate Johnny Manziel because he beat Alabama last year on their run to another national championship. I don’t want Manziel to miss the Alabama game this September. I don’t think anybody on Earth really wants that except to say the game would be a much easier win for Alabama without Manziel, but that’s also precisely why we don’t want that to happen. I didn’t want Colt McCoy to get hurt in the Rose Bowl. I didn’t want Cam Newton to lose his eligibility for the Iron Bowl. So when I say Texas A&M shouldn’t play Manziel it’s not because I don’t want him to play. Frankly, I’m upset he was arrogant and selfish enough to put his eligibility at risk more than anything else he’s done.

Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M from Twitter

Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M from Twitter

Texas A&M should bench Johnny Football. Say what you want about taking the high ground here, but the risk is simply too great. A once-elite program with a nuclear-bright future spearheaded by a stellar first year under the SEC umbrella could instead lose bowl eligibility, eliminate recruiting advantages, and relegate itself back to mediocrity. I like to see programs become successful rather than lose it all for a decade or more on a lone player or unattended booster.

First and foremost, any risk of playing Johnny Manziel as an eligibility concern is in Texas A&M’s hands. Simply put, there are no allegations of his eligibility in the games he’s already played. We know the allegations fit a timeline after the last time Manziel played in a game for the university because they begin with the National Championship game in Miami, the last game of the season, long after Manziel’s bowl game victory. If TAMU doesn’t play Manziel in their season opener against Rice, their risk for any infractions is essentially zero no matter what the NCAA does or doesn’t uncover. If even the worst is true and there is proof Manziel was paid to sign thousands of autographs, the university can still preserve its 2012 record and everything thereafter. The Aggies can have a successful long-term future in the SEC, or they can risk the next decade on a single player in the upcoming month.

What’s all this got to do with Alabama? Everything. Alabama has seen less severe allegations be punished as if they were exponentially worse. Like it or not, Alabama has one of the most stringent and effective compliance departments in college sports. It’s not a coincidence, but a necessary side-effect of severe punishment from the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. Antonio Langham signed a napkin in 1993. Assuming the worst, that napkin netted him $400 and qualified as a contract with an agent. Had he gone pro as he intended at the time of the napkin signing, it would have been completely incidental. It would have meant nothing.

Instead, Langham decided to stay on at Alabama another season, the agent later came forward to get the athlete he said was now his (nearly a year later, right before the SEC title game, no less), and Langham, who had been lying to the University of Alabama, was immediately suspended. Say what you want about $400, but for everyone saying it’s Johnny Manziel’s right to make money off his own name, I doubt any of them are talking about $400.

You know who hates drug tests? Drug users. Nobody else cares. Regarding Cam Newton, Auburn said to the NCAA, “we’ll take your drug test.” They passed, while TAMU and Manziel have separately lawyered-up, autograph agents have publicly said they won’t cooperate with the NCAA’s investigation, and all I can think about is the toilet scene with Lorraine Bracco in “Goodfellas” (ironically one of the autograph agents in the Manziel case has been previously found guilty for dealing illegal drugs). One of the autograph agents even claims to have up to 9 minutes of video evidence including Manziel saying he had taken cash for autographs, but the agent didn’t want to let the video go for free. True or not, these are the kinds of people we’re talking about. Either they’re drinking juicy juice from bottles in bars and clubs while fanning Daddy’s birthday cash, or they’re lying.

I’m certainly not saying Langham’s was a case of innocence. He made a mistake, and it helped cost the program several years of probation, bowl bans, an unprecedented loss of scholarships, and forfeiting all games Langham played in that year. Alabama’s role in this event was much like Texas A&M’s role is now with Manziel, only TAMU has the incredibly fortunate benefit of foresight. Nobody argues for Langham, but a massive chunk of the football world seems to be arguing for Manziel. It took Langham all of two seconds to sign his name that New Year’s Day. It took Manziel dozens of hours in multiple cities to sign just the autographs in the allegations alone. In my work, I’ve done limited edition runs of items I had to number and sign. The most I have ever done is 300. The most I have ever done in one sitting is 100. It’s not easy; it’s a lot of work. It’s not fun; it’s outrageously boring, and I certainly can’t imagine doing it in Miami on vacation when I was a 20-year-old…for free.

So instead, let’s assume the best. Let’s assume Manziel signed thousands of autographs for agents and vendors while on vacation but that he did it all for free. First, I haven’t heard him say that. The fact that he hasn’t said anything about his innocence is annoying at best, damning at worst, but likely incidental since the bottom line is evidence and proof, not guilt or innocence.

However, assuming all the hard work was strictly and completely pro-bono, what about everything else? Drinks, hotels, flights, cars, food, gas, that’s the real trick here, isn’t it? The autographs are incidental if, as I expect, the NCAA can’t find hard proof of payment. Even if he got paid $9,999.99 each time, banks aren’t required to report any deposit or even mark it as suspicious unless it’s over $10,000. But regardless of the payment, now everything else has to be documented and chronicled as being ok by the NCAA. Every stick of gum, every plane trip, every bolt on every rim of Manziel’s Mercedes has to be either proven to be legit or unproven to be from anyone else allegedly profiting from Manziel’s autograph sessions.

Alabama got hammered by the NCAA, fair or not. It cost us a decade of football. The Ohio State University was punished for their proven part in players getting impermissible benefits including cars, tattoos and drugs, and while their punishment by comparison had all the severity of a kitten fart, it literally cost them a national championship last season.

I don’t know what’s going to happen. I want Johnny Manziel to play football in 2013 for Texas A&M. But the NCAA has shown that any money in college football is theirs and theirs alone, and when someone else tries to make money from it they don’t just get mad; they get even. For all the hate on the creep that is Cam Newton, Auburn did it right as best as they could. They declared him ineligible; the NCAA had no choice but to reinstate his eligibility because they had no proof of him getting money.

But in Cam Newton’s case the NCAA was so upset by the threat of someone possibly getting away with trying to make money that they immediately created a new rule to prevent exactly what Cam Newton did. They closed the loophole with a new rule on players saying they didn’t know they were being shopped. Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M have no loophole to close. The NCAA isn’t going to stop players from signing autographs, including thousands of numbered editions while on vacation. Auburn at least did something.

For now, Texas A&M has done nothing. While their compliance department looks like an absolute fool for having no idea any of this was going on (so they claim), they still have the ability to prevent a potential disaster solely in their own hands. They could take the risk and lose a season like tOSU, lose an argument like Miami, lose nothing like Kansas State, or lose everything like Alabama.

At best, it’s a roll of the dice trying to figure out what the NCAA will do. And for now, Texas A&M is taking the NCAA up on that gamble.

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34 Responses to “Why Texas A&M Should Bench Johnny Manziel” Subscribe

  1. Jake August 23, 2013 at 8:31 am #

    Sources tell me that you are a poor writer so I did not read this. I am not sure who the sources are and what they have to gain. Nonetheless, it must be true.

    • CRIMSON HAMMAH August 23, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

      the writer is actually the goat…greatest of all time, u dk writing

    • A Ganger August 24, 2013 at 6:40 am #

      Johnny Freaking Feetsball is a JERK of the first order…He is a SPOILED Rotten little rich kid, with a big attitude…Yeah he can play football..”Big Phucking Deal”…I would not want him on my team…He is a cancer…It will eat TAMU before it is over…They want to win at ALL cost and I’m afraid it is going to cost them ALL..
      Roll Tide Y’all
      Protect America, Build Submarines

  2. The Conduit August 23, 2013 at 9:09 am #

    I can’t pretend not to notice how dozens of other university have now been forced to tell little kids coming to scrimmages and meet-and-greets that the players and coaches can’t sign their mini helmets, arm casts, or jerseys anymore; they can only sign pre-approved photos and flyers, many of which look absolutely terrible.
    At best, Johnny Manziel single-handedly ruined a small but important college football tradition. What a mess.

  3. Hunter Ford August 23, 2013 at 11:32 am #

    Johnny Manziel is acting like an immature horse rump, but he is a prime example of why the NCAA stinks and its rules should be overhauled.
    Most of his behavior cannot be defended, but Johnny Football, and many other star college athletes should be given the right to profit from their own name and achievements while they are still in school.
    Competitive advantage should be the only thing the NCAA polices for. Schools shouldn’t be allowed to “buy” recruits by paying them to come to their school. But once they athletes are at their respective schools, it is unfair for the universities to rake in millions off the backs of these kids’ labor.
    Room and board and a college education is valuable, yes. But it is not enough to compensate player’s of Manziel’s caliber. A recent report in SI said that Texas A&M has realized over $30 million worth of publicity from Manziel. Granted, not all of that is good pub.
    Still, TAMU is not pulling the number 2 replica jerseys from their bookstores anytime soon.
    Johnny M is only one compound fracture away from never playing football again. Ask Tyrone Prothro how that feels. Tyrone could have been making bank in the NFL instead of working for one in Alabama. College players should have the right to make endorsement money and to otherwise profit from their labor while they are in school. If they are good enough. Bring some good old fashioned capitalism to college football. Oh yeah. It’s already there. Just not for the players.

    • The Conduit August 23, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

      @Hunter – Tyrone Prothro doesn’t have oil-rich parents, so I really don’t worry about Manziel’s millions.

      Maybe players should be able to make money. Lots and lots of money. That’s not the issue here though. For now, it’s a rule, and players have been busted for less than a bag of chips. Other players have been busted and punished by the NCAA for completely legal and legitimate benefits under the existing rules.

      Besides, Johnny Manziel isn’t saying he should be allowed to make money from selling autographs anyway. He isn’t saying anything, and the university’s chancelor is saying he did it all for free until someone proves he didn’t. Again, players have been severely punished for much less.

      Johnny Manziel isn’t joining the volunteers fighting the NCAA and spearheading the “pay the players” campaign. I doubt he ever will, for that matter. At the end of it all, he might still be considered their martyr. For now though, he’s a risk TAMU is taking to the bank.

  4. Hunter Ford August 23, 2013 at 1:22 pm #

    Agreed. I don’t see where Manziel needs the money. And he’s not crusading for anything.

    But I think you got my point. There are kids out there who could use the money, and would probably (likely) also help their families with it. The NCAA shouldn’t keep them from having that chance. They are all one hit away from never playing again.

    And yeah, TAMU should be careful they don’t ruin their program for a decade or more over short term success.

    Rules are rules even if they are wrong.

  5. LMAO August 23, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

    Headline (from a bama blog) – ” Why Texas A&M Should Bench Johnny Manzies”

    So he can’t play against and beat Alabama again, this time at Kyle Field (because bama fans and this writer are skeeeerrd). Anything else you read after that first sentence is just bs and cover for the truth (see previous sentence for truth).

    LMAO

    • The Conduit August 23, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

      @LMAO Um, actually the story says we want Manziel.

      Good grief.

      Did you read the story?

      I didn’t think so.

      Reading is for champions. Roll Tide.

  6. Hunter Ford August 23, 2013 at 1:50 pm #

    Oh I want the little #%&* to play, in a big way. We lost to Tebow & Florida in the SEC championship in ’08 and it was soooo.. satisfying to see him boo-hooing at the Georgia Dome in ’09. Tebow cried…Cam lied…LSU tried…trees died…ROLL TIDE. (T-shirt I saw recently…sorry bout the trees, I didn’t make it up myself.)

    (A friend posted this on FB, and he is an Aubie!)
    Alabama beats Tennessee- Tennessee coach gets fired.
    Alabama beats Auburn- Auburn coach fired.
    Alabama beats Notre Dame- the Pope resigns. RTR.

  7. Crimsonite August 23, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

    First place your time line is wrong. Manziel had 2 similar signing session before the end of the season and or the Cotton Bowl. So the repercussions of forfeited games goes a lot deeper than any he plays in this year.

    • The Conduit August 23, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

      The first signing allegations I had heard of was in Miami during the weekend of the national title game when Alabama beat Notre Dame.

      If what you say is true, then it’s all the more reason to bench Manziel. It really makes me wonder what TAMU must be thinking. Publically all they say is find the proof he was paid. We’ll just have to wait and see, but unfortunately by then it will probably be too late for Texas A&M if they don’t decide to do something first.

      • Crimsonite August 23, 2013 at 3:44 pm #

        There’s been so much written. I don’t know if I can find the ESPN article in their archives or not now. Actually now that I think about it I believe there have been 4 known sessions. One, i think was when he was in New York for the Heisman. When I get time I’ll look for it.

  8. Hunter Ford August 23, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

    Crimsonite:

    Holy $**T! Batman!!!

    I see that this article was well-sourced, and I’ll just have to believe it for now. I don’t have time to look up all those newspaper articles from the 40s 50s and 60s.

    It seems that Johnny Fooseball won’t suffer much if he never makes it in the NFL. Odds are against him anyway.

    Tim Tebow is the only Heisman winning QB in the last 16 QBS to win the Heisman who has gone on to win a playoff game in the NFL as a starter.

    This strengthens my feeling that “poor” college athletes should have the chance to pull a few apples of the money tree while they are in school. If it is proven that JM made money against the NCAA rules, he will laugh all the way to the next family cockfight. His school will probably be put on probation, and his former teammates and future TAMU players will suffer from something they had nothing to do with.

  9. Crimsonite August 23, 2013 at 4:21 pm #

    Here is one accusation from after the BCSNCG. Published originally by SI. http://college-football.si.com/2013/08/06/johnny-manziel-autograph-broker-ncaa/

  10. Crimsonite August 23, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

    If the above link doesn’t work then try this one. The first one went into detail. Whatever, Johnny Hancock has some problems. This one refers to two more sessions after the one in Miami. http://tracking.si.com/2013/08/12/johnny-manziel-autograph-signings-violations-report/

  11. Crimsonite August 23, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

    In the second link above you can click on the two links in the article. One of them takes you to the same article from my first link that for some reason quit working.

  12. # 1 al. fan August 24, 2013 at 7:39 am #

    C’mon guys, ol Johnny Football is gonna play, simply because the ncaa is so weak! Listen to yourselves chat about this and that and all it amounts too is that lil Jonny is gonna play. The ncaa is so skeered that if they try to level any punishment on TAMU that there will be all kinds of lawsuits. I say lets let this matter play itself out and play ball…… RTR

    • pete4tide August 24, 2013 at 9:56 am #

      Nope – no lawsuits from aTm or from JFF or his family. Once this thing gets to the actual court system and out of the NCAA, then all the rules of law come crashing down on the whole thing. All those powers that the NCAA doesn’t have to force information from sources exist in the court system, and there’s lots of information that can be gained with that kind of power. So, no one will take this to lawsuit level unless they are 200% assured that JFF didn’t do anything against the rules, or – more importantly – against IRS regulations. You really think someone with that kind of family history and with the limited intelligence and foresight of a 20-year old really thought about the tax law implications of a little $10K “bonus” from an autograph dealer? No – this won’t ever make it to a court of law.

    • The Conduit August 24, 2013 at 6:34 pm #

      Absolutely, he’s going to play.

      And then in late November one of the autograph agents is going to release something that ruins it all for Texas A&M.

      For TAMU’s sake, I wish they’d bench him.

      Personally and selfishly, I hope they don’t bench Manziel and he gets to play the entire season while everyone guesses what’s going to happen and eventually forgets about all this until it’s too late.

      Look, there are too many autograph companies and brokers involved. On one hand, they can’t risk their repuation by ruining Manziel. On the other hand, they can’t all play with Manziel’s money after he leaves. Someone’s going to get either mad enough to do something or paid enough for their evidence to be irresistable. These are salesmen. They care about money. Good salesmen can sell anything. Selling Manziel evidence for more money than they could make with Manziel’s autographs is at the very least hard to argue against.

  13. moose August 25, 2013 at 5:43 am #

    Saban wouldn’t put up with this young man’s bullshit for 15 minutes.

    • LMAO August 25, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

      Yea because you think Saban is God. He will put up with Geno Smith’s drinking and driving but he wouldn’t put up with Manziel if he played for Alabama! Go drink some more Crimson Cool Aid. I bet you would drink Saban’s urine if it came out Crimson colored.

      • The Conduit August 25, 2013 at 10:15 pm #

        Glad you have an opinion on the story and don’t just say things because you can’t think of anything to say other than how much you hate Alabama.

        Oh, wait…

  14. Crimsonite August 25, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

    Yeah dipshit just like you were drinking Lester’s until the first week of January 2012, and would be eating his shit too if LSWho had won the last 2 games. And at least our coach is considered the best coach in the nation and one of the top businessmen and professionals in the nation – while yours eats grass and is a good coach but is considered a clown with tendencies inconsistent and unconventional. And furthermore, Geno is a trickle under the bridge. Old news. Past history. Irrelevant. While Johnny Hancock is a habitual asshole not just now but all through his schooling. His family moved away from Tyler to get away from their family image and he still made people hate him. The well documented family image is probably why Texas wouldn’t sign him; which by the way is where he still wishes he was. JFF would have been gone from Alabama long before he had a chance to sign autographs for pay, because he is an alcohol abuser, violent and has an attitude detrimental to the team. So go cry somewhere that you can get sympathy. Here we don’t give a shit. Got 15! RTR!

    • LMAO August 25, 2013 at 4:49 pm #

      Lets see Crimsonite according to you Saban is considered “the best coach in the nation and one of the top businessmen and professionals in the nation” and Miles is considered “a clown with tendencies inconsistent and unconventional”. Now what is Saban’s record against Miles again? LMAO

      • Crimsonite August 25, 2013 at 8:14 pm #

        4-3 Asshole, fixing to be 5-3. Including the curb stomping of your best team ever. Let’s see, what has Lester accomplished while Saban has been at Alabama? An SEC and National Championship while Bama was still on probation and an SEC Championship that didn’t mean shit in the end. How old are you anyway – 9? Has Lester ever been on the cover of Forbes? ————Crickets! RTR!

        • LMAO August 27, 2013 at 11:44 am #

          Hey Crimsonite, calling you an “asshole” would just be an insult to all the other assholes.

          I know you love to use the excuse “while Bama was still on probation” every chance you get, but let me inform you of the fact that LES MILES is 2-2 in the last four games against nick saban and seeing how bama won the 2011 National Championship while they were still on probation, using that as an excuse for Saban, who you say is considered the best coach in the nation (and who as you stupidly point out was on the cover of Forbes – LMAO), being only 2-2 against a coach YOU ignorantly say is considered a clown, is just a slap in the face of saban and bama you dumb gump.

      • The Conduit August 26, 2013 at 7:14 am #

        I still can’t understand how you get so off-topic so quickly. Good grief, you hate Alabama, we get it.

        • LMAO August 27, 2013 at 11:29 am #

          Hey Conduit maybe you’re not the brightest and the gump tag really fits you, but I was replying to Crimsonite’s comments. So if my comments seem “off-topic” you can thank him or maybe you should first read his post so you will know what’s going on.

          And I don’t hate Alabama, just the attitude of some of it’s gump fans.

          • lmao August 27, 2013 at 3:17 pm #

            And also I’m a giant peckerhead.

          • The Conduit August 28, 2013 at 3:03 pm #

            No, no, you’re definitely off-topic——–this entire article is about Manziel and you didn’t ever once say anything about him. That’s what the topic is about. That’s what other people come here to do for any story—–to read about the topic, not to find a place to leave a comment reminding people you hate the defending national champions.

  15. Crimsonite August 27, 2013 at 8:03 pm #

    Hey Corndog retard, Bama has not been on the type of probation which limits the football teams competitiveness since the end of the 2007 season since which we set a new national record of 61-7. Anyway the 2 year extension for bookgate was the gift that Shula and his misfit players left us with. YOU DUMBASS! As for being selective DUMBASS, in the past 2 years Saban is 2-1 against Miles and shortly will be 3-1. And he ass raped the best team in LSU history. Bet you still use Preparation H after that one. Bwaa Haww Haww! RTR!

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