And there you have it. The Johnny Manziel situation has finally come to an end. Probably.
Following up on earlier reports, Texas A&M and the NCAA released a joint statement in which it was “confirmed… that there is no evidence that quarterback Johnny Manziel received money in exchange for autographs, based on currently available information and statements by Manziel.” The reigning Heisman winner was interviewed for six-plus hours Sunday by NCAA investigators regarding allegations that he had received impermissible benefits.
However, because of what was described in the release as “an inadvertent violation” of NCAA bylaw 18.104.22.168 — i.e Manziel not taking the proper steps to ensure someone doesn’t profit off of hisn name and/or likeness — A&M declared Manziel ineligible and set the conditions for his reinstatement, which are as follows and which have been accepted by the NCAA:
- A one-half game suspension for Manziel
- Manziel will address the team regarding the situation and lessons learned
- Texas A&M will revise its future education concerning student-athlete autographs for individuals with multiple items
In the release, the NCAA did note that “[i]f additional information comes to light, the NCAA will review and consider if further action is appropriate.”
“I am proud of the way both Coach [Kevin] Sumlin and Johnny handled this situation, with integrity and honesty,” A&M chancellor John Sharp said in a statement. “We all take the Aggie Code of Honor very seriously and there is no evidence that either the university or Johnny violated that code.”
With the punitive measure, Manziel will be forced to sit out the first two quarters of the season opener Saturday vs. Rice in College Station. Sumlin has stated neither who will start in place of Manziel or whether the All-American would play in the second half.
Regardless, the news seemingly brings to a conclusion a drama that began less than four weeks ago. Normally not known for its expediency — Miami says hello, NCAA — The Association, for whatever reason, closed the book on this situation in a remarkably efficient manner. And, for a football program with high hopes for the 2013 season, the swiftness was appreciated.
“Texas A&M University would like to thank the NCAA staff, not only for its fairness and professionalism throughout this process, but also for the expediency of its actions,” A&M athletic director Eric Hyman wrote. “Texas A&M is a proud member of the NCAA and the Southeastern Conference and, as such, we will continue to abide by the rules governing the association and the conference. Texas A&M is committed to competing with integrity and sportsmanship, and we will continue to ensure strict compliance guidelines for our student-athletes, coaches and supporters.”