Texas A&M v Alabama

Manziel autograph story takes a new turn, focuses on friend


True or not, “Outside the Lines'” story last night alleging Texas A&M quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel signed memorabilia in exchange for a five-figure payment this past January is apparently just the beginning.

Following up on that report, ESPN’s Joe Schad added today that another autograph broker says Manziel’s friend and personal assistant (who we can only hope carries the title of “Assistant to the Heisman winner“) said Manziel would “no longer be signing autographs for him without compensation*.”

 (*Schrute bucks) 

More from Schad’s report:

The broker, who spoke to Schad under the condition of anonymity, said that Manziel signed about 50 items for him at the Texas A&M team hotel the night before the Nov. 10 Texas A&M at Alabama game. The person said that Manziel then signed about 200 more items a few days later, with the broker saying he did not compensate Manziel for either of those sessions.

Besides saying that Manziel would no longer sign autographs for free, Fitch, according to the broker, also said he could provide other current standout college football players for autograph sessions in which the players would need to be paid.

For what it’s worth, here’s the picture the broker says he took of Manziel signing memorabilia. It should be noted again that, according to the broker, Manziel was not compensated for the autographs he signed.

OTL’s report claims Manziel may have taken money in exchange for his signature. That would rest the responsibility solely on Manziel’s shoulders, if true. Schad’s report, however, creates a possibly different angle involving Manziel’s assistant. As was noted yesterday, the Cam Newton rule could possibly extend the definition of an agent acting on Manziel’s behalf to, say, his family or friends. That would in all likelihood include Manziel’s friend/assistant.

(It also probably means, no matter the outcome, Manziel ditches his friend/assistant as soon as possible.) 

But Manziel’s friend doesn’t have to cooperate with the NCAA like Manziel does. Neither does the broker, who Schad reports has not returned numerous calls from the NCAA. In fact, no one other than Manziel has to open their records for the NCAA, which could make the Association’s job far more difficult if it wants to pin down some hard evidence that isn’t directly in Manziel’s bank statements.

Starting LB C.J. Johnson reveals surgery on social media, Ole Miss confirms

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Ole Miss will be without a starting piece of its defensive puzzle for an extended period of time, both the player and the school revealed Tuesday.

With rumors swirling about his condition, C.J. Johnson confirmed on his personal Twitter account late this morning that he will be undergoing surgery at some point in the not-too-distant future.  The linebacker sustained an injury to his left knee in last Saturday’s loss to Florida and did not return to the contest.

Subsequent to that posting, Ole Miss confirmed that Johnson underwent surgery earlier in the day to repair a torn meniscus in his knee.  The procedure and rehab will sideline Johnson for a period of 4-6 weeks.

At the low-end of the prognosis, Johnson would miss the next four games — New Mexico State, Memphis, Texas A&M, Auburn — and return for the Nov. 7 game against Arkansas.  The high-end would have him sidelined until the regular-season finale against Mississippi State.

Johnson had started all five games at middle linebacker for the Rebels.  He started 26 games at defensive end the past three years before moving to linebacker.

Butch Jones labels rumor of ‘physical altercation’ with Vols player ‘absolutely ridiculous’

ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Head coach Butch Jones of the Tennessee Volunteers yells at Marquez North #8 during the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on September 27, 2014 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Already in the crosshairs for his 2-3 team’s late-game failures, Butch Jones now finds himself under increasing scrutiny for something that allegedly happened a couple of months ago.

The website Gridiron.com, which features such respected journalists Tony Barnhart and Mike Huguenin among others, reported earlier today that the Tennessee head coach was involved in what was described as a “physical altercation” with senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder during summer camp this past August.  The source close to the program added that practice film that day captured the alleged incident, although it’s unclear if that tapes still exists.

From the site’s report:

The incident occurred during fall camp, about the time that news started to come out about a few offensive linemen who were considering stepping away from the program. Crowder walked off the practice field one day and missed a day or two of practice, and Brett Kendrick and Dylan Wiesman were said to be contemplating their futures. Sources say the players’ actions stemmed from an incident between Jones and Crowder.

The website also made a Freedom of Information request seeking any correspondence between the university and the Crowder family be turned over, but writes that UT “administrators said any sort of letter or correspondence that may or may not have happened was covered under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.”

Monday, Jones labeled what began as message-board speculation that he had struck one of his Vols players as “absolutely ridiculous.” The Knoxville News Sentinel contacted Crowder’s father, with the paper writing that “he had no comment and did not want to give validation to message boards.”

At least publicly, the university has yet to address the allegations.  Jones will get yet another chance to address the speculation with the media in the very near future.