Another day, another Manziel allegation connecting him to autograph signings

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It had been a whole four days since anything related to the NCAA investigation of Johnny Manziel came up, so we were probably due.

ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” reported Monday night that the Heisman Trophy winner is connected to another pair of autograph sessions: one in South Florida after the BCS championship in January, and another one later that month in Houston. In all, OTL claims Manziel did six signings for three brokers in three states in less than a month, signing his name to various pieces of memorabilia a whopping 4,400 times.

Like all previous reports, there is no evidence of money being exchanged between Manziel and a broker. In fact, OTL’s latest piece never mentions Manziel receiving payments for the two newly reported sessions, in which he allegedly signed around 1,500 pieces of memorabilia per session.

But while trying to pin down a money trail remains an important part of investigating Manziel, it’s possible the redshirt sophomore could face consequences for violating another NCAA bylaw: 12.5.2.2, which requires a student-athlete to make every effort to stop the sale of products featuring his or her likeness. It may be a laughable rule, but it’s a rule nonetheless. Signing over 4,000 autographs in a month (or a even a modest 1,500 autographs) for multiple brokers (allegedly) would imply Manziel had absolutely no intention of preventing the sale of those items.

Manziel’s lawyers, as well as Texas A&M’s legal counsel, however, have a strong interest in doing so. OTL reports that multiple autographed Manziel items on eBay have been taken down via prompts from Manziel’s representation.

Even other programs not affected by the Manziel story are following suit. Last week, USC sent out a release stating it had sent a cease and desist letter for an autograph of wide receiver Marqise Lee that was for sale. Similarly, Ohio State and South Carolina announced that they had found no wrongdoing in the sale of autographs from Braxton Miller and Jadeveon Clowney, respectively.

Whether or not the NCAA finds any wrongdoing in Manziel’s case remains to be seen. There are other potential avenues by which the NCAA could find Manziel guilty of violating bylaws. For example, if Manziel’s friend and personal assistant did in fact negotiate, or attempted to negotiate, a signing deal for Manziel on his behalf, he could be considered an agent under the Cam Newton rule.

With multiple angles to the story, it’s quite possible an investigation of Manziel extends past preseason camp.

Michigan offers 8th grader who led varsity team in tackles

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MarMichigan has offered a scholarship to eighth-grade linebacker Tyler Martin, according to a post on Martin’s Twitter account on Thursday.

That would be the class of 2022, for those scoring at home.

Martin is not any ordinary eighth grader, though. A native of Cambridge, Mass., Martin led Buckingham Browne & Nichols with over 100 tackles and also started every game at tight end. Not Browne & Nichols’s eighth grade team, mind you. The varsity.

“He’s a tremendous kid that happens to be a tremendous athlete,” Browne & Nichols head coach Mike Willey told USA Today. “He’s worked exceptionally hard and put himself in a good position, that’s why I think Michigan says, yeah, this is the kind of guy they want.

The 6-foot-3, 227-pound linebacker is not the first junior high player to draw a maize and blue offer this year. Michigan offered Martin, Tenn., quarterback Ty Simpson in March.

Two Illinois players charged with theft for relocating deer sculpture

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A pair of Illinois players have been charged with theft between $500 and $10,000 after taking a sculpture from a Champaign park and relocating it to the top of their apartment building.

Jimmy Marchese, a junior linebacker, and Drew Murtaugh, a sophomore linebacker, told police they were walking home on the night of April 29 and saw a sculpture of a running deer, titled “Startled,” lying on the ground and took it home, placing the sculpture on the roof of their apartment. The Champaign Park District pleaded for the sculpture’s return on Facebook, and an anonymous tip led the authorities to Marchese and Murtaugh.

“Startled” has since been reinstalled at Champaign’s Scott Park, where the $5,000 sculpture will require touch-up work by the artist who created it.

“We had to have the artist come and do some work on it. We think we got it worked out to where it would be a lot harder for anyone to take it out again,” Champaign Park District director Joe DeLuce told the Champaign News Gazette.

The Illini pair has already appeared in court for a probable-cause hearing, and are due back on June 12. They face penalties ranging from probation to five years in prison.

Illinois spokesman Kent Brown told the News Gazette that head coach Lovie Smith is aware of the incident but has taken no action.

Marchese, a native of Vernon Hills, Ill., played in all 12 games in 2017 with two starts, and was named to the Academic All-Big Ten team. Murtaugh, hailing from Crystal Lake, Ill., did not letter as a redshirt freshman in 2017, but joined his partner in petty crime as an Academic All-Big Ten honoree.

 

Georgia DB Tray Bishop arrested on felony charge for alleged recording of sexual act

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Georgia freshman defensive back DetravionTray” Bishop was arrested on Wednesday on charges of felony eavesdropping/surveillance. The charges stem from an incident from this past fall, according to a report from Chip Towers of DawgNation.com. Bishop, who promptly turned himself over to the authorities after a warrant for his arrest was issued, has already been released from a county jail on a $5,700 bond.

The arrest follows an investigation by University of Georgia police responded to a complaint filed by a woman in April. The woman claimed Bishop recorded a sexual act between the two without her consent back in November.

“The complainant wished to report that there was a student going around showing people a sex tape of her … without her consent,” the police report said, according to the DawgNation report. “… A subsequent investigation into this incident led us into determining that the crime of unlawful eavesdropping occurred on [Nov. 5]. The investigation showed that Detravion Bishop had recorded [victim’s name] inside his dorm room without her permission and without her knowledge.”

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart has responded to the situation, expressing concern over the circumstances Bishop is caught up in.

“We are investigating the matter and it’s important that we gather all information relevant to the situation before we determine what policies may come into play,” Smart said in his statement. “Then we can take appropriate action if necessary.”

Bishop was a three-star recruit in Georgia’s Class of 2017, according to his Rivals profile. Bishop red-shirted last season.

Broker offers free Nebraska tickets if Huskers win Big Ten

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Nebraska fans now have an extra incentive for hoping their beloved Cornhuskers win the Big Ten this season, if they buy their tickets from the right ticket broker.

Ticket Express is offering a promotion to Nebraska fans that will refund all ticket purchases made before June 1 if Nebraska wins the Big Ten this upcoming season. The refund promo is good for single-game tickets as well as season packages.

Nebraska has played for the Big Ten championship once since joining the Big Ten in 2011, and it did not go well. Nebraska was blown out by Wisconsin in the 2012 Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis, 70-31. Nebraska’s last conference championship was won in 1999 under current Ohio head coach Frank Solich, when the Huskers were still at the top of the Big 12. Solich, by the way, will be welcomed back to Nebraska for an event next January for a service award from the Football Writers Association of America.

Nebraska is coming off a 4-8 season and faces a difficult schedule in the first season with new head coach Scott Frost. Nebraska’s schedule is arguably the toughest in the Big Ten this season with road games at Ohio State, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Michigan, and Iowa and a home crossover game with Michigan State. Just getting to the Big Ten championship game out of the West Division would be a pleasant surprise this fall, let alone topping the East Division champion in Indy.

Ticket Express liekly has an insurance policy to recoup the losses should things go Nebraska’s way, but this feels like a solid promotion with little risk for the broker.