On Sunday ‘Outside the Lines’ reported that Texas A&M quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel was being investigated by the NCAA for allegedly being paid for signing his name on sports memorabilia back in January when he was in Florida to attend the BCS National Championship game between Alabama and Notre Dame. This, just the latest in what has been a busy summer for Johnny Football.
The issue with this is that by being paid for signing his name, Manziel would be in breach of NCAA amateurism bylaw 22.214.171.124 (accepting money for promoting or advertising the commercial sale of a product) which, could result in Manziel being ruled ineligible.
The NCAA does not allow the student athletes to profit from self promotion as such an act would insinuate professional status as opposed to amateur.
Now, here is where I get on my high horse and call bullshit on the NCAA. I sincerely hope that if Johnny Manziel did what was claimed, he gets away with it. Because this shit is ridiculous.
I get that this is a rule. If the rule was broken, of course the player breaking the rule should face the consequences. That would be fine if the rule in question was not blatantly stupid. This rule may have been appropriate at a time when schools weren’t raking in millions as a result of the players. They pimp these players out and the players can’t benefit from said pimping? How you gonna do that? Fair, the NCAA is not.
It could be argued that the players do get paid by the school in terms of their scholarship (board, tutorial etc.). However, when you compare what a player like Johnny Manziel is costing the school per annum (lets say $80 000) to the schools revenue from ticket sales, merchandise, media, etc. (the school made $119,702,222) something feels a little off, no?
Hear me out, none of these kids – and let’s remember, they are kids – know if they will make the No Fun League and be earning millions when their college days are done. They are just one bad tackle away from a career ending injury, so why shouldn’t they be allowed to benefit from their careers at college level if everyone else is? Being paid for your signature or likeness does not make you a professional athlete. They are still at school, amateur status is implied. The rule is redundant.
What upsets me the most about this is that the school and the NCAA made Johnny Manziel ‘Johnny Football’. They allowed the constant media attention – hell, why wouldn’t they when they can see the $$$$, and now they are going to try to bring him down. If they want to keep the amateurism in college sport, how can they justify allowing Manziel the constant media scrutiny he has to face daily? He is a student athlete, the school should be protecting him. Yah, the dude has done some questionable things, but he is a kid! Didn’t we all? We just didn’t have our mistakes or whatever as “Breaking News” on Sportscenter.
Fortunately, at this time none of those involved in the alleged money exchange will cooperate with the NCAA, and are not obligated to do so. The NCAA will check Manziels accounts for large payments, but without the cooperation of those involved or direct evidence of money changing hands there is little they can do. So for now, Manziel is safe from ineligibility.
I have an idea for these NCAA assholes. Pay the kids, then they won’t have to break the rules. Problem solved.