MIAMI (CBSMiami) – College football season hasn’t even started, but a national championship contender may be about to lose its most crucial member.
According to ESPN.com, the NCAA has opened an investigation into whether Texas A&M quarterback, and defending Heisman Trophy winner, Johnny Manziel was paid for signing hundreds of autographs during a trip to South Florida for the national championship game in January.
ESPN’s Outside the Lines reported late Sunday that Manziel signed the items in exchange for a five-figure payday during his time in Miami. Manziel reportedly signed photographs, footballs, mini football helmets, and other items at the request of autograph broker Drew Tieman of Pembroke Pines.
The NCAA has declined to comment on any potential investigation and Texas A&M refused to comment on the situation as well.
For Texas A&M, it’s an unneeded distraction as the team begins fall practice. But, it’s not totally unexpected as Manziel has been in the headlines for most of the offseason for one misstep or another.
Manziel left the Manning Passing Camp early this year with rumors swirling that he was hungover as the reason. Manziel also was caught on video getting thrown out of a party in Austin, Texas and drew fan scorn when he tweeted he was looking forward to getting out of Texas A&M and College Station, Texas.
ESPN and Sports Illustrated both did major write-ups of Manziel last week and both painted the picture of an immature student having a lot of trouble dealing with being in the crosshairs of fame.
If the NCAA finds evidence to back up the investigation, Manziel could be ruled ineligible for all or part of the upcoming season, which would open the SEC championship race up.