Rand: Wha' Happened? (The NCAA and Johnny Manziel edition)
- Blog Post by: Michael Rand
- August 5, 2013 - 10:09 AM
On the heels of a startling, electric piece on Johnny Manziel by ESPN's Wright Thompson, the NCAA has correctly found some troubling facets surrounding last year's Heisman Trophy winner.
Predictably, however, they have nothing to do with the root of his problems and everything to do with the NCAA's facade of amateurism. Also per ESPN:
The NCAA is investigating whether Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel was paid for signing hundreds of autographs on photos and sports memorabilia in January, "Outside the Lines" has learned. Two sources tell "Outside the Lines" that the Texas A&M quarterback agreed to sign memorabilia in exchange for a five-figure flat fee during his trip to Miami for the Discover BCS National Championship. Both sources said they witnessed the signing, though neither saw the actual exchange of money.
That kind of thing would be a serious NCAA offense. But in the grand scheme of Manziel's life, it would be about the 150th biggest real-world problem. Would the NCAA not be interested, for instance, in the fact that Manziel -- a 20-year-old -- is described in various situations with alcohol in Thompson's piece (enough and in the types of circumstances that Deadspin made an entire thoughtful post about it).
Would the NCAA not be interested that the very hyper-intense culture of college football that it helps curate is perhaps tearing apart its best player, a man-child ill-prepared to handle it all?
Of course not. They'll stick to black and white, not grey.
© 2013 Star Tribune