Sorry, Johnny. Youre not getting much sympathy here.
If the ESPN reports are true, and you chose to disregard NCAA rules and get paid big bucks to sign more than 4,400 items for memorabilia brokers, then you should lose your college eligibility for at least one season.
The rule hypocritical as it might seem is plain as day, and all college athletes must abide, even if your names Johnny Manziel, you won the Heisman Trophy and your nickname is a registered trademark:
22.214.171.124: After becoming a student-athlete, an individual shall not be eligible for participation in intercollegiate athletics if the individual: (a) Accepts any remuneration for or permits the use of his or her name or picture to advertise, recommend or promote directly the sale or use of a commercial product or service of any kind.
By the way, your alleged infraction caused nervous athletic directors all over the country to examine their autograph policies, and innocent fans will be punished. The University of Miami announced Monday that in light of recent national news, student-athletes will only sign the official Miami Hurricanes athletics team posters that will be provided for free at this weekends CanesFest. Each fan is limited to one autograph. At Louisville, they went a step further, forbidding all autographs at Sundays fan festival.
Did they overreact? Yes. Only a handful of athletes are in position to profit from their signatures, and most autograph-seekers are not heading to eBay.
Is the NCAA rule hypocritical? Absolutely. The NCAA and higher institutions of learning use talented high-profile athletes to sustain a billion-dollar industry, fill stadiums, hike TV ratings, boost enrollment and sell merchandise. Heck, were it not for ESPNs Jay Bilas Twitter tirade last week, fans might still be able to find your No. 2 Texas A&M jerseys for sale on ShopNCAAsports.com.
Turns out, replica numbered jerseys of top football and basketball players were being sold for $59.95 to $179.95 on the NCAA website. Fans could find them by typing the players names in the search field. The NCAA, embarrassed, found itself in yet another public relations nightmare.
Moving forward, the NCAA online shop will no longer offer college and university merchandise the stores website will be shut down temporarily and reopen in a few weeks as a marketplace for NCAA championship merchandise only. After becoming aware of issues with the site, we determined the core function of the NCAA.com fan should not be to offer merchandise licensed by our member schools.
It took Bilas to make the NCAA aware it was selling jerseys? If it cant oversee its website, how does it expect to oversee hundreds of college athletic programs?
Three years ago, Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green was suspended four games for selling his autographed jersey for $1,000. Meanwhile, more than 20 versions of his No. 8 jersey were for sale on the Bulldogs athletic department website.
That same season, the University of Nebraska auctioned off game-worn jerseys with starting bids of $250. Not surprisingly, the top seller and the jersey that was used to advertise the auction was No. 3, that of quarterback Taylor Martinez. So, the school could make money off Martinezs number, but he couldnt.