Johnny “Football” Manziel has been suspended. But fear not Texas A&M fans: The youngest Heisman Trophy winner of all time will only sit out the first half of the season opener.
Texas A&M and the NCAA announced in a joint statement on Thursday that Manziel and his coaches have agreed to a half game suspension. Manziel will sit out the first half of play when Texas takes on the Rice Owls this Saturday.
Johnny Football came under fire after he was caught accepting cash for his autograph. Manziel allegedly signed thousands of pieces of merchandise for several memorabilia collectors.
The suspension was handed down because Johnny violated NCAA bylaw 126.96.36.199. That rule states that student-athletes cannot use their name or likeness for commercial purposes. Those purposes include advertising, recommending or promoting sales of commercial products, or accepting payment for use of their image.
In the statement, the NCAA writes:
“If additional information comes to light, the NCAA will review and consider if further action is appropriate. NCAA rules are clear that student-athletes may not accept money for items they sign, and based on information provided by Manziel, that did not happen in this case.”
As part of his “rehabilitation,” Manziel must also speak to his fellow teammates about proper conduct based on NCAA rules and regulations.
As I reported earlier, Manziel and the NCAA sat down on Sunday for a six hour question and answer session. Following that meeting, officials at Texas A&M placed a media blackout on Manziel questioning.
Responding in the statement was A&M chancellor John Sharp, who said:
“I am proud of the way both Coach [Kevin] Sumlin and Johnny handled this situation with integrity and honesty. We all take the Aggie Code of Honor very seriously, and there is no evidence that either the university or Johnny violated that code.”
Manziel’s lawyer, Jim Darnell, told ESPN’s Brett McMurphy he did not believe Manziel violated any NCAA rules, but he accepted the suspension in order to “get Johnny back on the field.”
“We don’t really believe [the suspension] was warranted, but we believe NCAA and Texas A&M worked with us to get this matter resolved,” Darnell said. “Johnny was willing to accept it to get back on the football field and compete.”
Darnell said he was thankful the NCAA resolved the situation before the season began.
“It’s a win-win for everybody,” he said.
Texas A&M staff and players had been instructed earlier this week by school officials not to talk about Manziel.
Coach Sumlin says Johnny Football has “handled himself very well” throughout the entire ordeal.
Texas A&M coaches have not revealed if they will play junior Matt Joeckel or freshman Kenny Hill. Sumlin says both men have been taking snaps and performing well and that the starting position is still an “ongoing process” that will be determined soon.
Under Johnny Manziel’s leadership, the Aggies last year finished 11-2 in their first season in the SEC.
Do you think Johnny Manziel’s half game suspension was fair? Should players be able to make money off their own name and likeness?