What does a photo of Manziel signing autographs mean?

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Two weeks after Texas A&M issued  a half-game suspension to Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Johnny Manziel for signing items that would knowingly be sold for a profit, a photo of the incident in question has surfaced. The photo, obtained and released by ESPN, shows Manziel signing photos in the apartment of broker Drew Tieman, with Tieman standing by his side overseeing the signatures.

According to previous reports, Tieman was said to have paid Manziel $10,000 for signatures provided over a two-day period. The NCAA investigated and cleared Manziel of any wrongdoing, although Texas A&M issued a half-game suspension for violating NCAA bylaw 12.5.2.1, prohibiting student athletes from signing anything that will be sold regardless of compensation.

So what does this all mean? Manziel was already investigated by the NCAA and served a brief suspension for the incident this photo stems from. There is nothing extra incriminating in the photo, so there would be little reason to explore the incident any more. Had there been a pile of cash or a check with Manziel’s name on it visible on the table, then perhaps we are talking about a different story. That is not the case here though, so there should be little the NCAA can do in light of the new photo being shared.

One thing that has come in to discussion is whether or not Manziel could face any other punishment from Texas A&M. That does not appear to be something that would likely stem from this photo alone. Manziel was suspended for violation of NCAA Bylaw 12.5.2.1, which would seem to indicate Manziel confirmed with Texas A&M he had signed items. Whether he lied or was honest about being paid is something only Manziel (and the broker) know for sure, but if he had been paid for his signatures he would have been ruled ineligible rather than simply suspended. If it comes out that he did in fact lie and it can be proven by the NCAA and Texas A&M,then Manziel would also be in direct violation of Texas A&M’s honor code, which could lead to being expelled from the university entirely.

Granted, this would be an extreme worst-case scenario, but even with this photo there is not enough evidence to suggest beyond a reasonable doubt Manziel was misleading about the situation. We can all have our beliefs on what actually happened, but we also live in a country where we are innocent until proven guilty. For the time being, Manziel remains a free man.

Report: North Texas adds FCS running back transfer

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North Texas is adding running back Loren Easly to the roster, according to a message posted to his Twitter account Saturday.

Easly spent the past two seasons at Stephen F. Austin, a member of the FCS Southland Conference. A Houston native, he appeared in 20 games over two seasons as a Lumberjack, carrying 213 times for 1,256 yards with 11 touchdowns while adding 17 catches for 139 yards.

Denton Record-Chronicle reporter Brett Vito confirmed the transfer on his Twitter account.

As an interdivisional transfer, Easly will be able to play immediately with two seasons of eligibility remaining.

He would join a backfield led by rising senior Jeffrey Wilson, who paced the Mean Green with 936 yards and 14 touchdowns on 169 carries in 2016.

Kansas AD Sheahon Zenger signs extension, vows to fix football

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Kansas athletics director Sheahon Zenger has signed an extension to remain on the job through the 2020-21 academic year, the school announced Sunday.

Zenger has been on the job since 2011, meaning the new deal will take him past the decade mark in Lawrence.

“Since Sheahon’s arrival in Jan. 2011, Kansas Athletics has enjoyed success on and off the field,” Kansas chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said in a statement. “I am confident that under Sheahon’s leadership Athletics will experience even more success in the coming years.”

Zenger did not hire Bill Self, but he did hire Charlie Weis, which cost KU more than $5.6 million in buyout money after he was fired for going 6-22 leading the Jayhawks from 2012-14.

David Beaty was since hired to run the program, who has infused an outlook brighter than his 2-22 record would suggest.

Zenger said the new contract will allow him to fix football. Via the Kansas City Star:

Under Zenger’s watch, KU has most notably added numerous construction projects, including Rock Chalk Park and the DeBruce Center, which houses the original rules of basketball. He has spoken previously about completing those ventures to “clear the deck” financially so focus could be placed on football and Memorial Stadium renovations — two things he now says are “really the top priorities for me in the next four years.”

“We want it to be a place that people just love to come to,” Zenger said of Memorial Stadium. “We have such history there. I think it’s the greatest setting in the nation for college football. We just need to get it to the point where it’s a place that’s just revered.”

The extension includes a raise from a base salary of $619,000 to $700,000.

Alleged victim of Tennessee WR Josh Smith threatens $3 million civil suit

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Earlier this month, Tennessee wide receiver Josh Smith was charged with domestic assault following an incident at an off-campus house with his roommate. Now, the roommate is seeking damages of $875,000. If that sum is not paid, then the alleged victim may bring a $3 million civil suit to the court.

According to Jimmy Hyams of WNML, Kennedy Foster suffered a broken nose, broken teeth and damage to his eyes and right ear in the incident earlier this month that led to the charges filed against Smith. Foster sent a settlement demand letter to the attorney representing Smith.

“I’m not accusing him (Foster) of extortion, but that’s what it looks like,’’ Smith’s attorney, Keith Stewart said according to Hyams. “Given my understanding that Mr. Foster’s attempts to press charges against Malcolm Stokes were unsuccessful, it seems his motives are clear.’’

“I think when the truth comes out, Josh will be exonerated,” Stewart said of his client.

The deadline for paying the settlement demand is set for May 30 (tomorrow) by 5:00 p.m. and is to be delivered in the form of a cashier’s check along with a letter of apology for the incident. If the Smith family does not pay the requested sum, the legal team for Foster will move forward with a $1.5 million lawsuit seeking compensatory damages and a $1.5 million lawsuit for punitive damages. How either will hold up in court remains to be seen.

How some college football teams are recognizing Memorial Day on Twitter

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It’s not Memorial Day until the social media teams at college football programs start pumping out branded Memorial Day messages on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram. As expected, teams and conferences are busy at pumping out the social media content for their followers today. Here is a sampling of what has been seen so far.

If you have not already done so, please take a few minutes to read John’s annual Memorial Day post.