Reporting Tim Kephart
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The University of Miami is the latest major college football program to try to prevent an NCAA infraction from even starting in the wake of the Johnny Manziel reports of recent days.
UM will hold its annual CanesFest this Saturday from 4-7 p.m., but the school is only allowing one item per person to be autographed. The only item allowed to be autographed will be a poster distributed by the school. The posters will be provided for free at the event.
The move by UM to restrict what can be autographed comes as Texas A&M quarterback, and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel is under increasing scrutiny for autographing thousands of items for autograph brokers.
ESPN’s Outside the Lines has reported that Manziel has been tied to at least three brokers and six separate mass signings of items that totaled more than 4,000 autographs. Manziel, according to previous reports, was paid for his autographs, but Monday’s ESPN reports didn’t say if the player was paid.
According to collegefootballtalk.com, a money trail may not be required for the NCAA to come down on Manziel. The website reported that NCAA bylaw 184.108.40.206 requires “a student-athlete to make every effort to stop the sale of products featuring his or her likeness.”
Signing thousands of autographs may violate that bylaw, but the NCAA will be on shaky ground no matter how it rules on Manziel thanks to the reporting of ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas.
Last week, as the NCAA opened an investigation into Manziel, Bilas pointed out on Twitter that the NCAA itself was profiting off of individual players. Bilas searched through an official NCAA merchandise website using player names and was taken directly to player jerseys for the specific player.
In other words, the NCAA was profiting off an individual players image while the NCAA’s rulebook specifically forbids players from profiting off of their image.
The NCAA has since said it was getting out of the business of selling jerseys, which was a multi-million dollar industry for the collegiate governing body.